Strikeforce is forging ahead with this crazy “Grand Prix” gimmick — no telling how they came up with a concept like that, but props to them — and the semifinals could go down in September. If everything goes according to plan, the event should be packed with good matchups. Let’s take a look.
The heavyweight GP will continue with Alistair Overeem squaring off with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, and “War Master” Josh Barnett against “The Russian Concussion” Sergei Kharitonov. Those two fights alone would be enough to carry a card, but Coker and company want to make it worth your while to watch, so they’ve continued to put together bouts with an eye on producing a blockbuster.
Every other bout currently rumored for the show features a current or former champion for the Strikeforce banner, including a title match for current middleweight champ “Jacare” Souza.
Souza will defend his title for the second time against Strikeforce Challengers alum Luke Rockhold, who’s riding a six-fight win streak. It’s a giant leap in competition for AKA product Rockhold, but it should be fun: Rockhold holds a deep distrust of MMA judging (just like the rest of us) and has accordingly never gone out of the first round. Good scrap? We say yes.
Former light heavyweight champ Gegard “So Sexy” Mousasi and resurgent moneyweight Mike “We’re Looking For” Kyle are possible for the card, after their original matchup in April was scratched when Kyle suffered a broken hand. Kyle is coming off of a loss to Bigfoot Silva, but he gets a pass since Silva is the 300 pounds of Brazilian beef and bone that gave Fedor all he could handle and more. Good scrap? Yep.
Then there’s the guy that took the title from Mousasi; King Mo Lawal is returning for action after a knee surgery layoff and losing his title to Feijao a year ago. Lawal was set to fight Roger “Ten-Four, Over and Out” Gracie on the Fedor-Henderson card this month, but Gracie tweaked something in training and the bout was pushed back. We don’t think King Mo would have an issue with us saying that both of these guys are world-class grapplers. Good scrap? Oh yeah, baby.
Former lightweight kingpin Josh “Hold the P” Thomson will welcome 155 pound Venezuelan destroyer Maximo “Wanderlei Jr” Blanco to the US and Strikeforce, and if you like violence, we suspect there will be some. Maxi has never fought outside of Japan, but his Sengoku highlights are insanely entertaining. Someone told us that police departments use Blanco film to prepare cops for the kind of rage that comes from domestic disputes involving couples flying on PCP. Actually, we made that up, but you believed it. Thomson is coming off a loss to Tastuya Kawajiri at the Dynamite!! NYE show via jet lag. Good scrap? C’mon, son, three words: Maximo. Fucking. Blanco.
Tell us what you think, Nation. What are you looking forward to, and what’s missing? We’ll let you know as things become official.