Alistair Overeem | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Alistair Overeem asked for and received what could be a difficult first-round matchup in Strikeforce’s heavyweight tournament: a rematch against Fabricio Werdum, who submitted him in May 2006.
“Alistair asked for Fabricio, personally,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said Wednesday on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “When I was in Japan last week, he said, ‘You’ve got to let me fight Fabricio. I want to avenge that loss. It’s important.’ So that was an easy fight to put together. Werdum says he’s going to make Alistair go to sleep.”
Werdum caught Overeem with a kimura 3:43 into the second round of their Pride Fighting Championships bout. Both fighters have progressed since the encounter. Werdum now holds a coveted win over Fedor Emelianenko, and Overeem has emerged as one of the top heavyweights in the world.
Overeem is also Strikeforce’s champ, which raises the question of whether his title will be on the line in the upcoming tournament. Coker wants it to be, though he’s run into uniformity issues with title fights being five rounds and non-title bouts being three. He’s working with athletic commissions to see if all tournament bouts, not just Overeem-Werdum, can be five rounds.
“We’re trying to talk to all the commissions in all the states that we are attempting to go to work it out,” Coker said. “But I think we’ll have it ironed out in 24 hours. The goal is to have the title on the line and let them fight it out because that’s our world champion and Fabricio beat Fedor. I think that’d be a great representation of the Strikeforce belt.”
Coker also emphasized Overeem’s commitment to the tournament. He expects the Dutch heavyweight to fight three times in Strikeforce this year.
“This year, we sat down in Japan, and he’s fully committed,” Coker said. “We have an understanding, and I have no doubt he’s going to fight for us and I think he’s going to fight very well.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 54:18) with Coker, who discussed the tournament in-depth.