With a series of shocking developments and interesting finishes, the first round of strikeforce’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix is now in the history books. Four men survived the first round: Sergei Kharitonov, Antonio Silva, Josh Barnett, and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem. We even know what second-round fights will take place: Overeem faces Silva while Kharitonov will go up against Barnett. But, until today, we didn’t know exactly when these fights take place. But in a new report it’s been revealed that September could see these two massive fights go down. Here are all the details.
We head to MMA Junkie for a report that states that Strikeforce officials are looking to hold the semi-final round of their Grand Prix on September 10. As of this writing, a city, state, and venue are all unknown. In addition to those two fights, September 10 is also being targeted for other potential big fights, like Ronaldo Souza vs. Luke Rockhold, Muhammed Lawal vs. Roger Gracie, and Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle.
The four men advancing to the second round gave very interesting, very varied performances to make their way there. Sergei Kharitonov entered the tournament an unknown and proceeded to set himself up as a “dark horse” with a fantastic KO victory over former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski. Catch-wrestling specialist Josh Barnett dominated and submitted Brett Rogers. Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum both gave baffling performances in what is so far the weakest fight of the tournament, but Overeem did enough to win a decision. And in the biggest, best fight of his life, Antonio Silva managed to defeat MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko.
I’m really excited for this tournament, and I think these two fights would both be huge, absolutely huge, additions to what is looking to be a great September 10 card.
Something tells me that the winner of Kharitonov/Barnett will have a real shot at winning the entire tournament, no matter if it’s Overeem or Silva that they face. Josh Barnett looked excellent against Brett Rogers, and if for only a few minutes, he reminded us why so many people used to rank him very high on the Heavyweight charts. Meanwhile, Kharitonov showed off some very impressive, very technical striking against Andrei Arlovski. Although it seems to fit the typical “striker vs. wrestler” mold, I think this fight will be entertaining no matter where it goes or how long it lasts.
In regards to Overeem vs. Silva, I think this is the fight where Overeem will re-assert himself as a destroyer. A lot of people criticized Overeem’s performance against Werdum, but in my opinion, it takes two to tango. Overeem wanted nothing of Werdum’s ground game, and Werdum didn’t want to do anything except pull guard and hope Overeem followed him to the ground. The fact that an MMA fight always starts standing means that the ground fighter has to work to take it to the ground, not just pull guard over and over and over. So I honestly blame Fabricio Werdum more than Alistair Overeem.
Against Antonio Silva, Overeem will face someone who loves to strike and just happens to also be pretty good at the ground game. Silva will come out with something to prove and will probably try to knock Overeem out, and that’s going to give Overeem ample opportunity to show off why he won a championship in the most prestigious kickboxing organization in the world.
Overall, I’m very excited for these two fights, and if they occur as planned, September 10 could be the date for one of Strikeforce’s best cards of the year.