Cormier and Barnett move on to Strikeforce Grand Prix finals with wins in Cincy

Strikeforce finally has a pair of Grand Prix finalists in place after Daniel Cormier dominated Antonio Silva and Josh Barnett beat Sergei Kharitonov, allowing both men to move on in the promotion’s heavyweight tournament. The two will meet at some point in early 2012 in hopes of winning the inaugural, and possibly only, Strikeforce World Grand Prix belt.

Former Olympian Cormier continued to display the same skill earning him honors as one of MMA’s hottest talents as well as an undefeated record at 9-0. The 32-year old grappler let his ever-improving striking shine through against “Bigfoot”, landing a number of shots stunning the largest man in the remaining field en route to a TKO stoppage in the fight’s opening frame.

Cormier Wins in Convincing Fashion Over Monson in Grand Prix Qualifier

Meanwhile, Barnett used superior grappling to put himself in a number of advantageous positions including a final sequence where he locked in a Side Choke to earn the submission victory. He has now won eight straight including wins over Jeff Monson, Pedro Rizzo, Gilbert Yvel, and Brett Rogers.

Also exciting, a new middleweight champion was crowned in Cincinnati when American Kickboxing Academy product Luke Rockhold outpointed title-holder Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza before the Grand Prix participants took to the ring. Rockhold entered the fight after a nineteen month layoff from fighting due to a slew of injuries. He improved his record to 8-1 with the victory and handed the Brazilian his first loss in almost three years in the process.

Here is a list of complete Strikeforce Grand Prix Semifinals results:

Dominique Steele def. Chris Mierzwiak via Unanimous Decision

Alexis Davis def. Amanda Nunes via TKO Round 2 (Punches)

Jordan Mein def. Evangelista Santos via TKO Round 3 (Elbows)

Rafael Cavalancte def. Yoel Romero via KO Round 2 (Strikes)

Mike Kyle def. Marcos Rogerio de Lima via Unanimous Decision

Pat Healy def. Maximo Blanco via Submission Round 2 (Rear Naked Choke)

Muhammed Lawal def. Roger Gracie via KO Round 1 (Punches)

Luke Rockhold def. Ronaldo Souza via Unanimous Decision

Daniel Cormier def. Antonio Silva via KO Round 1 (Punches)

Josh Barnett def. Sergei Kharitonov via Submission Round 1 (Arm-Triangle Choke)

PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE