The Ultimate Fighting Championship comes live and direct with UFC 146 out of the MGM Grand Garden Arena this Saturday night. The first ever all-heavyweight main card is stacked with some of the biggest names and hardest hitters that the division has to offer. “Big” Lavar Johnson (17-5) and “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve start up the heavyweight-ridden main card. Then, undefeated prospects Stipe Miocic (8-0) and Shane Del Rosario (11-0) are set to collide. “Pee Wee” Dave Herman (21-3) takes on crowd favorite “Big Country” Roy Nelson (16-7). Before “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (9-1) sets out to defend his title against Frank Mir (16-5) in the card’s main event, the co-main will see former champion Cain Velasquez (9-1) take on a modern day Goliath in “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (16-3). With all the division being represented and paying attention to how the night ends, Velasquez and Silva have the perfect medium to re-establish their ground in the division as one of the most dangerous men among the heavyweights.
—MAIN CARD (on Showtime)—
Heavyweight Grand Prix Final Fight
Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier: Cormier via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45), Round 5, 5:00
Lightweight Championship Fight
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson: Melendez via Split Decision (48-49, 49-48, 49-48), Round 5, 5:00
Light Heavyweight Fight
Rafael Cavalcante vs. Mike Kyle: Cavalcante via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 1, 0:33
Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Chris Spang: Spang via KO (Punch), Round 1, 1:35
It started in April of 2011 at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley. “Mak” Mike Kyle (15-8) was set to face former DREAM middleweight king and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi (32-3). However, a broken hand that Kyle suffered in his near upset loss to heavyweight “Big Foot” Antonio Silva (15-3) sidelined him from the fight. Again the two were set to face each other in September 2011 at the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Semi-Finals, but this time it was Mousasi who withdrew from the fight. Now, after a year of trying to come to the same crossroads, the two veterans will finally face each other in the Strikeforce cage.
The Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix delivered its semi-final offerings last night before a stoked Cincinnati crowd. The card was full of upsets and unexpected results as well as a few tried and true performances from the fighters MMA fans have come to know over lengthy careers. The night opened with Sengoku vet Maximo Blanco (5-2) showing he still has never been awake during a rules meeting in his loss to former IFL stand-out “Bam Bam” Pat Healy (23-15) and continued with several bouts that raised more than a few eyebrows. “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal (8-1) handed submission grappling messiah figure Roger Gracie (4-1) his first loss in a match that saw neither ground specialist attempt a takedown. Luke Rockhold (8-1) took possession of the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship after winning a very debatable decision against “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-3) and Daniel Cormier (8-0) played bracket buster in the Grand Prix by destroying heavily favored “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (15-3) in their semi-final bout. About the only match that went according to the status quo was “The Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett’s (23-5) widely predicted submission win over K-1 kickboxer Sergei Kharitonov (17-5).
—MAIN CARD (Showtime)—
Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov: Barnett via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke), Round 1, 4:28
Daniel Cormier vs. Antonio Silva: Cormier via KO (Punches), Round 1, 3:56
Ronaldo Souza vs. Luke Rockhold: Rockhold via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47), Round 5, 5:00
Roger Gracie vs. Muhammed Lawal: Lawal via KO (Punch), Round 1, 4:33
Maximo Blanco vs. Pat Healy: Healy via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2, 4:27
Despite the defeat of nearly every marquis fighter in the tournament, the fireworks are still promised to go off in Cincinnati, Ohio as Strikeforce presents the semi-finals of its World Heavyweight Grand Prix. The tournament started as a thinly veiled attempt to establish “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-4) as the number one heavyweight in the world by bracketing him opposite “The Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett (22-5) alongside the man who first defeated him, “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1), and the man everyone wanted him to fight, “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12). Fedor was paired against underdog “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (15-2) to get a win so he could face the winner of Overeem and Werdum in the semi-finals then square off against the heavily favored Barnett in the finals. The only part of that plan close to fruition is Barnett making the finals. Silva trashed Emelianenko and now faces wrestling stand-out Daniel Cormier (7-0) in the semis. Cormier enters the Grand Prix as an alternate following Overeem’s withdrawal from the tournament. On the other side of the brackets, things are going much more smoothly as heavy favorites Josh Barnett and “The Russian Mercenary” Sergei Kharitonov (17-4) both easily advanced to the finals where they will meet on Saturday. The loss of Emelianenko and Overeem has robbed the tournament of much of its appeal to fans, especially casual fans unfamiliar with the other entrants, so the California-based promotion has slated a middleweight title fight between the incumbent “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-2) and Luke Rockhold (7-1), who is undefeated in Strikeforce, as well as a contendership bout in the light heavyweight division between “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal (7-1) and Roger Gracie (4-0). The card will open with the main card return of grizzled vet “Bam Bam” Pat Healy (22-15) and Sengoku stand-out Maximo Blanco (5-1).
Strikeforce Heavyweight and K-1 Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) has reportedly been cut from Strikeforce.
After much back-and-forth talk from Overeem, his camp, and the Strikeforce and Zuffa brass about his Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-finals match-up with “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (15-2), Overeem ultimately withdrew from the fight July 18, stating that the September 10 fight date would not allow ample time to heal from the broken toe he allegedly sustained even prior to his quarter-finals bout against “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1), in which he won the decision after three relatively uneventful rounds. Additional injuries to “The Demolition Man” have been reported but not yet confirmed.
Friday’s edition of “Inside MMA” first broke the news of Overeem’s release and was immediately followed by an official statement from HDNet regarding the matter. Overeem’s trainer Martijn de Jong also confirmed the cut, though Strikeforce officials have yet to release a statement to confirm or deny Overeem’s departure from the organization.
Sources confirmed yesterday that Strikeforce Heavyweight and K-1 Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) will not be participating in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-finals in September.
The Dutch kickboxer defeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu aficionado “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1) in what many considered a less than impressive three-round affair last month. With his victory, Overeem advanced to the tournament semi-finals where he was slated to take on “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (15-2).
The reasons behind Overeem’s withdrawal thus far have been relatively vague, though the Strikeforce heavyweight king told MMA Fighting yesterday that he felt the September 10 match-up against “Bigfoot” was too close on the heels of his June 18 bout against Werdum, and that he needed more time to heal and rest, further stating that he went into his tournament quarter-finals match-up with a broken toe.
Dallas, Texas. It was only fitting that in a state where everything is bigger the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix would continue here. The Dallas Mavericks finally won their first title. The entire city and all its surrounding areas are still reliving that moment to the point every other song on the radio has some kind of Mavericks, “Thank you, Dirk” promo to precede the next track. The days leading into the Grand Prix though had the combat loyalists already staking claims and picking sides that even the minute leading to the fight was adrenaline-filled. As a fan of the sport, I have always found enough joy just sitting back at home or at the local sports bar watching my guys get the job done. It was not until I attended the Grand Prix, my first MMA event no less, that watching two men go at it in a high stakes brawl became an even greater experience.
Last night, Strikeforce graced the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, TX with the second installment of its World Heavyweight Grand Prix quarter-finals. The event was perhaps one of the ugliest events in recent MMA history with a fight-ending accidental eye poke and what appeared to be a dislocated elbow or possibly a seriously broken arm in the prelims and a main card that featured one extremely bloody fight and several one-sided beatdowns. To make matters worse, the main event saw “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) channel his inner “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4) against Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1) who felt a need to emulate Thales Leites (16-4). The main card itself was lopsided to the point that the match-making would be called into question had the fighters not have stacked so well on paper with “The Snowman” Jeff Monson (37-12), “The Python” Valentijn Overeem (27-22), “The Grim” Brett Rogers (11-3), and KJ Noons (9-4) suffering complete domination at the hands of Daniel Cormier (7-0), “The Grave Digger” Chad Griggs (10-1), “The Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett (22-5), and “Gamebred” Jorge Masvidal (19-6) respectively. MMA Gospel is here with the post-fight shakedown.
—MAIN CARD (on Showtime)—
Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum: Overeem via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers: Barnett via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke), Round 2, 1:17
Jorge Masvidal vs. KJ Noons: Masvidal via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Daniel Cormier vs. Jeff Monson: Cormier via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Chad Griggs vs. Valentijn Overeem: Griggs via Submission (Strikes), Round 1, 2:08
Dallas, Texas has the basketball greats the Mavericks, the hockey stand-outs in the Stars, and multiple NFL Superbowl Champions the Cowboys, but on June 18 Strikeforce invades the American Airlines Center with the second half of their Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament with Strikeforce, DREAM, and K-1 champion and seemingly unstoppable muscle-bound behemoth “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (31-12) taking on rival “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-4) at the helm. Supporting the edge-of-the-seat main event is a star studded card of heavyweights with international star “The Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett (21-5) taking on heavy handed “The Grim” Brett Rogers (11-2) and two Grand Prix alternate bouts. Former UFC heavyweight title contender and world renowned submission king “The Snowman” Jeff Monson (37-11) returns to the American spotlight as he is welcomed to the Strikeforce ranks by the undefeated OSU and Olympic team wrestler Daniel Cormier (6-0) and IFL veteran and heavyweight dark horse “The Grave Digger” Chad Griggs (9-1) meets former PRIDE veteran and kickboxing powerhouse “The Python” Valentijn Overeem (27-21). Outside of the tournament brackets, the return of the much loved “Conviction” Gina Carano (7-1) against undefeated Sarah D’Alelio (3-0) has been pulled due to Carano not receiving medical clearance from her doctor and as a result, former Elite XC Lightweight Champion KJ Noons (9-3) and “Gamebred” Jorge Masvidal (19-6) will fill the spot with a shot for the lightweight title on the line. The tournament may dominate the card itself, but it is the match between Overeem and Werdum that has the attention of the MMA world as the first man to record a recognized legitimate win over “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) faces the man that MMA fans worldwide have wanted to see him face in a rematch of their 2006 PRIDE bout. Both fighters have come a long way since then; the dynamics have changed and it will be interesting to see which of these two warriors has progressed the most.