It has taken more than a year, but the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix has reached its final leg.
Former UFC champion Josh Barnett tipped the scales at 248 pounds for his showdown with the unbeaten Daniel Cormier (238) in the tournament final at Strikeforce “Barnett vs. Cormier” on Saturday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The six other men slated for main card duty, including Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (153) and challenger Josh Thomson (153), also met their contracted weight requirements without incident at Friday’s official weigh-in.
Sherdog Fantasy MMA: Strikeforce "Barnett vs. Cormier" Free Fan Pick’Em
Barnett will enter the cage on an eight-fight winning streak. He last appeared in September, when he submitted Sergei Kharitonov with a first-round arm-triangle choke in the Strikeforce grand prix semifinals. A potent finisher, the 34-year-old Seattle native has secured 19 of his 30 professional victories by submission and seven more by knockout or technical knockout. Wins over 1992 Olympic gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida, former Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight titleholder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, UFC hall of famer Randy Couture and four-time K-1 World Grand Prix winner Semmy Schilt (twice) anchor Barnett’s stellar resume. He holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Erik Paulson.
Based at the American Kickboxing Academy, Cormier advanced to the final with a stirring knockout victory over former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva in September. The 33-year-old Lafayette, La., native has delivered seven of his nine wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission. One of the sport’s more decorated amateur wrestlers, Cormier -- a two-time national champion and three-time All-American in college -- made two Olympic teams before crossing over to mixed martial arts.
Strikeforce “Barnett vs. Cormier” -- which airs on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT -- will also feature a rematch pitting former light heavyweight champion Rafael Cavalcante (206) against Mike Kyle (203) and a welterweight duel pairing Nah-Shon Burrell (170) with Christopher Spang (169). Two hours prior, Showtime Extreme will carry the five preliminary bouts: Gesias Cavalcante (156) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (156), Virgil Zwicker (204) vs. Carlos Augusto Filho (205), Gian Villante (205) vs. Derrick Mehmen (205), Quinn Mulhern (170) vs. Yuri Villefort (170) and James Terry (156.25) vs. Bobby Green (155).
Strikeforce “Barnett vs. Cormier” Weigh-in Results:
Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final
Josh Barnett (248) vs. Daniel Cormier (238)
Strikeforce Lightweight Championship
Gilbert Melendez (153) vs. Josh Thomson (153)
Rafael Cavalcante (206) vs. Mike Kyle (203)
Nah-Shon Burrell (170) vs. Christopher Spang (169)
Gesias Cavalcante (156) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (156)
Virgil Zwicker (204) vs. Carlos Augusto Filho (205)
Gian Villante (205) vs. Derrick Mehmen (205)
Quinn Mulhern (170) vs. Yuri Villefort (170)
James Terry (156.25) vs. Bobby Green (155)