Saturday, June 18, the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix concluded and only four fighters remain. Now that Strikeforce is owned by the UFC’s parent company, it seems more and more likely, that winner of this tournament will fight the reigning UFC heavyweight champion to see who is the world’s undisputed, number one heavyweight mixed martial artist.
On Saturday, Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, Alistair Overeem beat a man who he previously lost too. Fabricio Werdum submitted Overeem by kimura back in 2006 and in his last fight, he tapped out Fedor Emelianenko via triangle in 69 seconds. It was a fight no one thought he had a chance in winning. Against Overeem, his game plan of dropping to guard and hoping the champ would follow him down was poor at best. It lead to a lack luster decision win for Alistair Overeem.
The other Grand Prix fight saw the always controversial former UFC Champion Josh Barnett outclass and dominate former Strikeforce challenger, Brett Rogers, winning via side choke in the second round.
In the semifinals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Josh Barnett will face Sergi Kharitonov and Alistair Overeem will face the second man to beat Emelianenko, Antonio Silva. No date nor venue has been booked as of yet, though there are rumors of a fight card this fall in San Francisco.
My predictions are that Silva, who was vocal about being unimpressed by Overeem, will underestimate his opponent leading to a KO win for the Strikeforce Champion. Josh Barnett will outwrestle Kharitonov and the final fight of the Grand Prix will be Alistair Overeem versus Josh Barnett. Then I’ll pick Overeem to win it all. However, after Overeem’s less-than-stellar performance, I can’t see him getting past the two men at the top of UFC’s Heavyweight Division.
Champion, Cain Velasquez will outwork and out wrestle him. If Junior Dos Santos is the champion, then I have no doubt he’ll out strike Overeem. Werdum got the better of some exchanges, only his punches didn’t have any power. Dos Santos’ punching power and speed will be too much.
Now it’s not a lock that the winner of the tournament will face the current UFC champion when it’s all said and done, but it really should happen since the current Strikeforce Welterweight Champion, Nick Diaz will face UFC’s champ, GSP. It’s the only way to determine who is the undisputed champion in each division.