Trevor Prangley (16-4) will enter Strikeforce's first ever middleweight tournament on a five fight win streak. In his quest to become the best middleweight in the world, the South African fighter will be competing for the crown against Yuki Sasaki, Falaniko Vitale, and Jorge Santiago. Pangley is considered by many to be the heavy favorite, but he does not agree with such a statement.
"This is a good tournament, definitely not going to be a walk over...it's up for grabs," says the current Bodog Fight middleweight champ. Sasaki, Vitale, and Santiago are all coming off of submission wins and will be looking to keep their respective win streaks alive. Jorge Santiago was especially impressive in his last bout, earning himself a major win over Jeremy Horn.
"My training has been going excellent, I've been training hard to take my cardio to a new level," says Prangley. "I feel that my cardio has been an issue in the past, and that is why I'm working so hard, training twice a day." The American Kickboxing Academy trained fighter has been putting in double the training in preparation for a challenging night of work. The goal of the twice a day workouts is to raise his performance level to a place it has never been before, in preparation for the November 16th event, in San Jose.
"The goal is to get the guy out of the first fight quickly and have as much energy as possible for the last fight," says Prangley, who is adamantly in favor of the one night tournament format. Prangley sees the format as great for the fans and an even better way to judge not only the skills of fighters, but more importantly their heart.
"The (one night) tournament is a true test of skill and heart. It's as much as a mental challenge, as it is physical. Anyone can fight hurt, but the test is to push yourself mentally through it," Prangley commented. The native South African has competed in two prior tournaments. Prangley won the CFM Tournament in 2002 and was eliminated by eventual tournament champion Renato "Babalu" Sobral in the first bout of the impressive IFC light heavyweight tournament in 2003.
Strikeforce has mentioned that the winner of the middleweight tournament will get a shot at Strikeforce middleweight champion and MMA legend Frank Shamrock. When asked about the chance to fight Frank Shamrock for the Strikeforce middleweight belt, Prangley stated he felt the bout actually happening was doubtful, but liked the match-up very much. "I'm not sure it's really an option, but if it were to happen I think I match up with [Shamrock] very favorably," said Prangley.
"I want to be known as the best middleweight in the world and I want to fight the best fighters," he explained. The South African has become a much more active fighter over the last year and is establishing himself as a top middleweight in the world. In his quest to become the best in the world, Prangley might have found a home for both competitive bouts, big name opponents, and true tests in the Strikeforce promotion. The Strikeforce middleweight division is deep with the likes of Cung Le, Joe Riggs, Phil Baroni, and the possible return of Vitor Belfort at 185 pounds.
Two fights in one night is no easy task, but Prangley is confident that his winning streak will keep rolling well past Strikeforce's inaugural middleweight tournament. His goal of having his name along side or above the likes of Anderson Silva, Matt Lindland, and Dan Henderson could possibly take another step forward on November 16th.