June 17th, 2011 By Sammy PerezSTRIKEFORCE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP TOPS CARD!
Bethlehem, PA- We had to wait four months for the second tier of quarterfinal round match-ups in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament, but if the fights live up to hype, it will be worth the wait. However, the key word in all of this is ‘if’, because there are numerous questions regarding the four fighters being featured on Saturday night. Nonetheless, the anticipation surrounding these two fights is as big as when the tournament first started in February.
EX-UFC HEAVYWEIGHT KING ON BILL
The co-main event features not only a contrast of styles, but of fighters as well. On one end you have a highly experienced former UFC champion in Josh ‘The Baby-Faced Assassin’ Barnett (29-5, 7 KO’s 17 subs), while his opponent Brett ‘The Grim’ Rogers (11-2, 9 KO’s 1 sub) is still an inexperienced green knockout artist. On paper, this should
be a no contest, but that’s why fights are played out in the cage and not on paper; in the cage, anything can happen.
BOTH GUYS ARE HEAVY HITTERS!
The key here is for Barnett to avoid Rogers’s big punches while he goes for a clinch and an eventual takedown. On the ground Barnett has a decisive advantage as can be witnessed by his 17 submission wins along with a vicious ground and pound attack. If Rogers can avoid being taken down and keep the fight standing, then he has more than a puncher’s chance. That is assuming his conditioning is up to par, which he claims it is.
ROGERS OUTGUNNED HERE?
That is one of two big questions surrounding Rogers, the other being, how much has he worked on his ground game? As for Barnett, the big question that always follows him now is regarding performance-enhancing drugs. A two-time loser in that department, only time will tell if he’s “cleaned” up his act. The other question for Barnett is regarding his age? He’s only 33, but he’s been fighting since 1997, so he’s an old 33 and hasn’t fought since July. How much will that impact him? I say not enough to lose, so I’m picking Barnett via submission in the second round.
MAIN EVENT HAS CURRENT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP
In the main event, it is only the second fight in Strikeforce for Alistair ‘Demolition Man’ Overeem (34-11, 14 KO’s 19 subs), since he won the Strikeforce heavyweight title back in November, 2007. That is not to say he hasn’t been busy though.
OVEREEM MIGHT BE BEST HEAVY IN MMA
Since then he’s had nine fights going (8-0) with one no-contest. The only fight for Strikeforce in there was his only defense to date against Rogers where he obliterated the challenger in three plus minutes last year. He’s clearly at the top of his game right now, also winning the K-1 Heavyweight title back on New Year’s Eve.
WERDUM WAS VICTOR OVER FEDOR
His opponent Fabricio ‘Vai Cavalo’ Werdum (14-4-1, 4 KO’s, 8 subs) comes in to this bout with a lot of mystique and confidence behind him. It was almost a year ago to the day that Werdum stole that very mystique, which surrounded the great Fedor Emelianenko, when he made the ‘Last Emperor’ tap out in just over a minute. Besides the confidence from that win, he also holds the distinction of a win over Overeem, five years ago when they fought in the Pride Fighting Championships in Japan.
“Slammin’ Sammy” Perez