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Title Could Change Hands Three Times in Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Tourney

(Image courtesy of Strikeforce via MMA Convert)

Strikeforce has just released the bracket for their clusterfuctacular heavyweight tournament, which should clear up some of the conflicting reports about who’s fighting who. What it doesn’t specify is when these fights are taking place. We know that Emelianenko vs. Silva and Arlovski vs. Kharitonov are both happening February 12th in New Jersey. Overeem/Werdum and Barnett/Rogers are tentatively slated to go down in April, exact date and location TBA. And the semi-finals and finals? Your guess is as good as ours, bro. With a little bit of luck, this entire dirty business will be settled by the time President Trump takes office.

(Personally, I think that getting all these guys together for a single-night tournament is the only way you can insure that the semi-finals and finals will actually take place, but we’re trying to stay positive here. For what it’s worth, Scott Coker is adamant that Josh Barnett‘s licensing issues will not bar him from competing in the GP.)

Adding a new wrinkle to the tournament setup is a new ESPN report which informs us that the belt will be on the line through the entire tournament. Meaning that the quarterfinal bout between reigning champ Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum will be a five-round title fight; in the semi-finals, the Overeem/Werdum winner will face the Emelianenko/Bigfoot winner in a five-round title fight; and the final match of the tournament will also be (you guessed it) a five-round title fight. So theoretically, the belt could change hands from Overeem to Werdum to Fedor to, you know, Brett Rogers or whoever, though in all likelihood the fighter who makes it through the right side of that bracket is going to get his ass dug out in the finals.

That’s probably the smartest way to do it, considering that an official title fight between Overeem vs. Werdum is the only fight in this tournament that actually needs to happen. Of course, if Strikeforce’s HWGP can give us at least one more long-awaited matchup — Overeem vs. Fedor? Fedor vs. Barnett? — it would be an unqualified success. Good luck, guys.

Related: Strikeforce’s Feb. 12 show at the IZOD Center will also host a heavyweight tournament reserve bout between Shane Del Rosario (10-0, nine wins by first-round stoppage, 2-0 in Strikeforce) and Lavar Johnson (15-3, 13 wins by first-round stoppage, 3-0 in Strikeforce).

Cagepotato Comments

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Dagnut- January 6, 2011 at 1:49 am
I like strikeforce, believe it or not, I think it's healthy for the sport if we have 2 big organizations, I was hoping for a good year for them...but this will be a disaster...

Tournaments only work if you can run them over a certain time period but getting any of those prima donnas to fight in quick succession will be a I expect MAYBE the quarters to go down and then daily updates and excuses for the next 6 months from different fighters....we all get a pain in our collective balls...stirkeforce waste millions marketing fights that won't happen and go to the wall...happy new year everyone!
RwilsonR- January 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm
@ ghostboner - wouldn't it be pretty hilarious if Werdum subbed both Overeem and Fedor again, and then Arlovski jabbed him to decision in the finals. Scott Coker would not be too pleased.
mahlbawlz- January 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm
Seriously, having the top 4 guys all on the same side of the brackets is a JOKE.


Antonio Silva makes it to the finals and then gets KTFO by Kharitonov
Clyde- January 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm
This will not happen.
Joe-Say Aldo- January 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm
Why did they put Overeem and Fedor on the same side of the bracket? You'd think they would want to set up a possible Overeem vs. Fedor final.
ghostboner- January 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm
I'll go ahead and say it now... Arlovski Wins!!!

Although I must say I liked his chances better when Werdum and Overeem were on his side of the bracket. then Werdum could take care of Reem, Arlovski could stank breff him and then rematch FYodor for the final. Or Silva or Barnett or Rogers I guess.
ccman- January 5, 2011 at 11:59 am
@perp. Reasons it is not well seeded and no way this is random:

Barnett is still a name, tainted but known. He has a path to the final that's his to lose since he is seeded away from any real threats.
Werdum is returning from the biggest win of his life and surgery. Minus tourn. Should have a tune up-title shot. Skip tuneup. Straight to the wolves and let's face it, minus bigfoot is possibly least marketable fighter here and noone outside brasil wants him owning a belt not bought at the gap.
Bigfoot. See above and spoon feeding his slow plodding ass to someone who became a legend feeding on lurcheslike him.
Rogers exposed.
Arvlovski is one more ko away from brain damaged.

Entire left side has longer road in hopes of making the final at least appear competitive.
Again assuming overeem and barnett will pee in a cup, fedor doesn't find a way out via cross marketing, and coker is kidnapped so he can't screw it up I see overeem winning. From the ufc
nickyroose- January 5, 2011 at 11:47 am
@ ccman truer words.

As a former wrestler I am a fan of what we affectionately called, "The first Goober system" i.e. seeding first against last and so on. It is the fairest way to determine a true champion.

However, as pointed out previously this tourney is already made of hope and held together by gum and if the first and second round goes I don't care about the third when the inevitable collapse comes. Also because the belt is on the right, I find this an acceptable solution.

@RWilson Also true.
ccman- January 5, 2011 at 11:39 am
Yup still here guapo... legal apparently advised against deletion for 'having a valid point'

Plus they giggled at TMmaZ.....
PERPATRAITOR- January 5, 2011 at 11:33 am
Can't believe the bitching and complaining. It perfectly seeded. If the right bracket fighter gets a fight with a left bracket fighter then they earned it, otherwise they don't deserve to fight on that bracket
KidDinomite- January 5, 2011 at 11:32 am
Yeah, we definitely need the Crazy Screaming/Pride Lady to announce fighters as they enter throughout the tournament as well as the Pride/Dream style entrances with the big screen monitors, music, and lighting. Only then can you truly call this a Heavyweight Gran Prix Torunament.

Oh and having Bas Rutten and Don Frye as guest color commentary would be epic!!!
RwilsonR- January 5, 2011 at 11:15 am
If this tournament featured the Overeem of today, the Werdum of last year, the Brett Rogers of two years ago, the pre-surgery Bigfoot Silva of three years ago, the Fedor of four years ago, the Arlovski of five years ago, the Barnett of six years ago, and the Kharitonov of seven years ago - this might just be one of the best HW tournaments ever.
stopthehate- January 5, 2011 at 10:53 am
All the big dogs in one backyard. I totaly understand their logic. These are fights that strikeforce could never make without a tourney(especialy Fedor, Werdum, and Ubereem). They placed their top three fighters on one side of the bracket to garauntee that their top guys fight eachother and clear up who is the best hw in strikeforce. All the potential challengers are on the other side to garauntee a worthy opponent. Although in actuality, they probably want to garauntee an easy opponent for their big three(Reem,Fedor,Werdum) in the final to make their top guys look good. Totaly undertstand why its happening but that doesnt mean its a good idea. Anything can happen in mma. What if someone on the right side of the bracket wins? Stranger things have happened. Having said that, I hope Ubereem tears up the tourney like it was an all you can eat horse meat buffet.
El Guapo- January 5, 2011 at 10:35 am
CCman's still here? Wasn't he on here yesterday cryi... Ahhhh, nevermind.

Welcome back. You were..... ummmm... missed?
Crusader86- January 5, 2011 at 10:27 am
Ooh. This is kind of awesome. I really can't wait to see Overeem v Fedor. Plus it's just nice to see Overeem fight in the US a bit. At least he's got some decent competition here.
RwilsonR- January 5, 2011 at 10:23 am
I still can't believe that Fred doesn't have a shirt by now. That was some funny shit!

Same goes for ccman and the 'should fight' clause. Good stuff.

And it seems that SF is giving Werdum the Jake Shields treatment. He is the only man to really beat Fedor, and so SF gives him the hardest route in the bracketing. Granted, that route has Werdum fight the two most interesting fights for his potential opponents, since he has beaten both Overeem and Fedor. But where's his chance to avenge the Arlovski loss?
El Guapo- January 5, 2011 at 10:17 am
^What came first, the chicken or the egg? By chicken, of course, I mean Leben's 3rd dewy and by egg I mean the cancellation of Strikeforce's heavyweight tourney.

And Werdum better ask Mir to borrow that lucky horseshoe again. He's gonna need it. Again.
LOKI- January 5, 2011 at 10:04 am
I dont think you can legally call it a "Grand Prix" without Lena Hart to announce the fighters entrancees.
Viva Hate- January 5, 2011 at 9:43 am
Anyone know the Vegas odds on this even happening or actually being completed? Sorry SF I am betting with my head and putting the cash against you.
Richard Fitzentite- January 5, 2011 at 9:37 am
Was Oleg Taktarov not available?
ccman- January 5, 2011 at 9:32 am
Champions clause in a strikeforce contract? We've really fallen down the rabbithole now.

Strikeforce conntracts don't even have a 'should fight' clause. This whole tourn is designed to actually get a money fight outta overeem and used grand prix hoping he forgets he is not in test free japan and shows up.

Nevermind fedor will drag out his semi fight until most forget it was a tourn. To begin with.
Get Off Me- January 5, 2011 at 9:32 am
Left side is exciting as fuck.
Right side is fucked.
Overeem had previously stated that he wants to fight twice in the U.S. in 2011 so it looks like he will fight Fedor before the end of the year, if this happens, it will be the greatest HW fight in a long time imo.
Here's hoping shit doesn't go wrong for this tourney.
knucklesamitch- January 5, 2011 at 9:25 am
Brett Rogers will easily make the finals and then lose to whoever makes it to the finals on the left side of the bracket.

Overeem in the finals means his contractual obligation is up, please tell me Coker at least has a champions clause in Overeem's contract to avoid the debacle that was the Jake Shields situation.

This tournament is unlikely to actually END in 2011. M-1 will totally screw up the possibility of Fedor actually fighting 3 times in the same year, Werdum would miss time for some sort of injury if he were needed to fight 3 times in the same year, and if it's Overeem, he'll be back to focusing on K-1 before the tournament finals can actually take place.
MKO- January 5, 2011 at 9:04 am
I'm still picking the UConn women.
Arlovski is the Seattle Seahawks of the tournament.
Should be called Legends and Leaders brackets.
This tournament has more ways to get screwed than a 9-holed Mrs. Huntington Beach Bad Boy.
boomlicker- January 5, 2011 at 9:03 am
The seeding makes sense in the context that the belt is on the line. If the seeding was strongest vs. weakest, everyone would be bitching that Bret Rogers/Arlovski got a title shot. Also, the seeding makes sense as the way it stands now, the fights are kind of evenly matched. It sucks that the final is likely to be uncompetitive, but better we have 3 good rounds and a crappy final, than 3 crap rounds and then a good final.