The Weekly Wrap: August 22 - August 28

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By Jack Encarnacao Aug 29, 2009
The Weekly Wrap walks readers through the last seven days in MMA, recapping and putting into context the week's top story, important news and notable quotes.

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The next fight for the sport's top heavyweight was set this past week. Fedor Emelianenko will make his debut under the Strikeforce banner against mohawked slugger Brett Rogers, the only ranked, undefeated fighter Emelianenko has faced in his career.

Neither a date nor a venue was announced for the fight. There was speculation the bout would be staged in Rogers' home state of Minnesota; in a press release, Strikeforce was sure to refer to Rogers as “undefeated, hard-hitting Brett ‘The Grim' Rogers of Minneapolis.”

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMA Fanhouse the promotion is talking to three to four different venues and should have an announcement within a week. Coker said the promotion is looking at either Oct. 31 or Nov. 7 as the fight date. If the fight takes place in November, it appears obvious that Nov. 7 and Nov. 28 are the only feasible options, as the uber-competitive Ultimate Fighting Championship has events scheduled for the other two Saturdays of the month, and is planning a third, headlined by B.J. Penn vs. Diego Sanchez for the lightweight title.

Several opponents had been in play for Emelianenko, who garnered reams of coverage during his closely-watched negotiations with the UFC; Emelianenko chose Strikeforce because they agreed to co-promote with the M-1 Global fight company, of which Emelianenko is a part-owner. In addition to Rogers, Fabricio Werdum, Sergei Kharitonov and Paul Buentello were batted around for Emelianenko's first test on the Showtime network.

The Rogers fight was announced during a public workout Emelianenko held this past week at the Fighthouse gym in New York City. A report on the event in the New York Daily News said turnout was overwhelming, and several fans were peeved after Emelianenko made a quick exit to do locker room interviews. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was apologetic, saying many more fans showed up than he expected.

Emelianenko's M-1 associates had been pushing for Rogers dating back to when the Affliction promotion was looking for an Aug. 1 replacement after a fight with Josh Barnett fell through. M-1 has put stock in the fact that Rogers is coming off a knockout of Andrei Arlovski and is undefeated in 10 fights. Rogers was offered to take the Affliction fight for a $500,000 payday, but told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Jordan Breen Show” that he’d be making less than that now because the bout will be contested under his Strikeforce contract.

Coker has said he's interested in building Emelianenko up for a title fight against Alistair Overeem, who is Strikeforce's heavyweight champion, despite winning the title all the way back in Nov. 2007 and not making a single defense since. The bout may be a ways off. There is talk Overeem will compete against Peter Aerts in K-1 competition next month, as well as compete in a K-1 fight against Siala "Mighty Mo" Siliga on Oct. 17 in Holland. Overeem bowed out of an Aug. 15 Strikeforce title fight against Werdum due to a hand injury he suffered in a nightclub fight.

In addition to Emelianenko vs. Rogers, Coker told MMA Fanhouse that Robbie Lawler will be offered a fight with Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza on the card, and that Matt Lindland could also be in action that night as well.
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