Overeem, Rogers Cleared for ‘Heavy Artillery’

By Brian Knapp May 14, 2010
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and his challenger, the once-beaten Brett Rogers, have begun their final approach.

On the eve of his first title defense, Overeem and his much-talked-about Herculean physique tipped the scales at 253 pounds in advance of his duel with the world-ranked Rogers (264) in the Strikeforce “Heavy Artillery” featured attraction on Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Seven of the eight other mixed martial artists booked to compete at on the main card -- including co-headliners Andrei Arlovski (242) and Antonio Silva (265.5) -- also met their mandated weight requirements at Friday’s official weigh-in. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza checked in a half pound over the 186-pound limit for his middleweight matchup with Joey Villasenor. The 34-year-old Villasenor waived his right to have Souza lose the additional weight.

Overeem’s appearance will end a 30-month absence from the U.S.-based organization. In the interim, the 6-foot-5 Dutch striker has recorded seven victories in eight fights in various promotions, including Dream, Ultimate Glory and K-1. Overeem also competed in K-1’s popular year-end kickboxing grand prix. The 29-year-old Pride Fighting Championships veteran has not defended his title since he won it in a submission victory over Paul Buentello in November 2007. Overeem has finished four consecutive opponents inside the first round.

The previously undefeated Rogers succumbed to second-round strikes from the world’s top-ranked heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko, at a Strikeforce show in November. The bout garnered more than five million viewers during a live CBS telecast. Rogers, 29, earned his crack at the world’s No. 1 heavyweight with a 22-second knockout against Arlovski in June. The menacing Minnesotan has never gone the distance in 11 career bouts.

Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery
Saturday, May 15
Scottrade Center
St. Louis

Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship

Alistair Overeem (253) vs. Brett Rogers (264)

Andrei Arlovski (242) vs. Antonio Silva (265.5)
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (186.5) vs. Joey Villasenor (186) *
Roger Gracie (205.75) vs. Kevin Randleman (205)
Antwain Britt (204.5) vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (206)
Justin DeMoney (169) vs. Jesse Finney (172) **
Vitor Ribeiro (156) vs. Lyle Beerbohm (156)
Lee Brousseau (204) vs. Francisco France (206)
Michael Chandler (170) vs. Sal Woods (170)
Thomas Aaron (157.5) vs. Eric Steenberg (155) ***
Gregory Wilson (155) vs. Matt Ricehouse (156)
Darryl Cobb (184) vs. Booker DeRousse (186) ****

* Villasenor agreed to fight Souza at 186.5 pounds
** Demoney agreed to fight Finney at 172 pounds
*** Steenberg agreed to fight Aaron at 157.5 pounds
**** DeRousse made weight on his second attempt
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