September 9, 2011 12:42 pm by Pedro Carrasco

This Saturday at the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Team Palooka will be sponsoring both a Strikeforce fighter and a female combatant for the very first time. Amanda Nunes (6-1), known as the “Lioness of the Ring,” will face the biggest test of her young career when she battles Alexis Davis (10-4) on the HDNet-broadcasted undercard. Nunes is quickly becoming a force in women’s MMA, and her name is beginning to be mentioned as a challenger to Strikeforce champions Miesha Tate and Cris “Cyborg” Santos.

“I am extremely proud to have a warrior like Amanda representing Team Palooka,” states “Joe Palooka” creator Joe Antonacci. “She exemplifies what ‘Joe Palooka’ is all about: strength, courage, and tenacity.”

The Strikeforce Grand Prix tournament continues this Saturday, September 10th, live from the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. The tourney began with eight heavyweight combatants, including Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Sergei Kharitonov, Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett, and Brett Rogers. The field is down to four, with the final two earning their spot at this weekend’s event. The preliminary card, which will feature Amanda, will be broadcasted on HDNet, and will begin at 8 PM ET. The main card will be shown on Showtime, starting at 10:30 PM ET.

The 23 year-old Nunes is Brazil-born and bred, and is already well-known for her brutal knockouts. She began her career with a submission loss, but has since won six straight fights by KO or TKO. Included in this is her Strikeforce debut back in January of this year, where Nunes knocked out Julia Budd in only fourteen seconds.

The “Lioness of the Ring” now trains at AMA Fight Club in New Jersey, and this weekend, she will get to put her new training to the text against Alexis Davis. In facing a virtual “who’s who” of female fighters, Davis has carved out a rep as a tough customer with an entertaining style. It should be an electrifying matchup.

The “Joe Palooka” comic series tells the story of Joe Palooka, an MMA fighter who competes in “Legion of Combat,” which is a sister comic publication. “Legion of Combat” will feature Joe Palooka in team matches between fighters representing countries such as the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, Russia, Japan, China, and other nations. And don’t be surprised if you end up seeing some of your favorite MMA fighters, including Amanda Nunes, featured in the “Legion of Combat” comic book series along the way.

“There are so many things happening right now. Adding a fighter with the level of talent of Amanda is just another step in building up Team Palooka,” explains Antonacci. “We are very confident that she will represent the team well.”

– By Phil Landies

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