(Overeem vs. Werdum 1; Fabricio starts the fight with a flying kick at the 1:11 mark, and ends it with a kimura at 17:08.)
As first reported by MMA Fanhouse and confirmed shortly after via press release, Alistair Overeem will indeed be making his first Strikeforce heavyweight title defense on the main card of "Carano vs. Cyborg" (August 15th, San Jose). But get this — he’ll be taking on PRIDE/UFC vet Fabricio Werdum, not undefeated KO artist Brett Rogers as was originally speculated.
Overeem and Werdum already have a history together. In May 2006, they had a memorable battle in the opening round of PRIDE’s open-weight GP, with Werdum pulling out a kimura submission near the end of the second round. Said Overeem about the upcoming rematch: “I’m very happy that I’m being given the opportunity to fight him again and I’m looking forward to beating him. This is the one rematch I’ve wanted. I’m going to punish this guy.”
Another thing that unites Overeem and Werdum is long layoffs. The Demolition Man — who picked up Strikeforce’s vacant heavyweight belt after a beatdown of Paul Buentello in November 2007 — hasn’t competed in an MMA match since a submission win over Gary Goodridge last November, partly because of a bar-brawl-related hand injury that sidelined him a couple months ago. Werdum has been idle since his upset knockout loss to Junior Dos Santos at UFC 90 last October.
Of course, the odd man out (as usual) is the Grim. Brett Rogers’s record is a perfect 10-0, and he just scored the biggest win of his career with a 22-second knockout of Andrei Arlovski last month. Werdum is coming off of an embarrassing loss, but he has the convenient storyline with Overeem, so Rogers will have to wait some more for his title shot. Though he could be placed on the card anyway. Last time we checked, jiu-jitsu phenom Roger Gracie was still without an opponent…