James Irvin Returns at Gladiator Challenge on January 29
James “The Sandman” Irvin (15-8, 1 NC), one of the more explosive light heavyweights in MMA steps into the cage against Mike Crisman (8-19) in Elko, Nevada at Gladiator Challenge: Young Guns 4. After 23 professional fights,Irvin is back where he started his pro career. He fought his first 5 professional bouts under the Gladiator Challenge banner, winning all 5 and capturing their Light Heavyweight title. Irvin won the first WEC Heavyweight title in his 6th fight in August of 2004.
Irvin has won and lost in spectacular fashion, rarely participating in boring fight. His most notable win came against then rising star Houston Alexander with an 8 second knockout by a short but vicious superman punch, deservedly earning him knockout of the night honors. Other victims of The Sandman’s power include former WEC Light Heavyweight champion Doug Marshall, and UFC Middleweight Terry Martin (9 seconds after the opening bell) both by knee.
Headlining UFC Fight Night 14: Silva vs. Irvin, current UFC Middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva moved up in weight to the Light Heavyweight class. Silva proceeded to deliver a highlight reel straight counter right hand and a few punches on the ground for good measure to end force a referee stoppage after just 61 seconds. That started a 3 fight losing streak that got Irvin released from the UFC. He’s gone 1-1 since.
Irvin’s opponent on January 29th is a fighter that is relatively unknown outside of his home town of Salt Lake City, Utah. Crisman has fought virtually all of his fights under the local promotion Ultimate Combat Experience, and is 1-8 in his last 9 outings. Standing a mere 5 foot 7 inches and fighting at Middleweight and Welterweight, Crisman is the obvious underdog in this fight. Irvin stands 6 feet 4 inches and has been known to weigh in at 240 lbs a few weeks before a fight, not to mention the caliber of fighters he’s faced. A win over The Sandman would be a huge feather in Crisman’s cap.
Gladiator Challenge has promoted shows with the likes of many MMA talents such as former WEC Featherweight champion Urijah Faber, former Light Heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson, former UFC Heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia, Former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Jake Shields, UFC hall of famer Dan Severn, Chris Leben, Chael Sonnen, Tyson Griffin, Joe Stevenson and Scott Smith.
Photo courtesy of MMAmania.com
About the author: A former professional MMA fighter living near Seattle, WA, Jonathan now writes about combat sports, training, conditioning and nutrition related articles, and stays fit with Parkour training. He also runs his online training, conditioning & nutrition business and blog at Dragon-Conditioning.com. Connect with him on Facebook, Myspace & Twitter.