Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament Officially Set with 4 Bouts

By Mike Whitman Jan 4, 2011
Fedor Emelianenko: Dave Mandel |

Strikeforce’s rumored eight-man heavyweight tournament has become reality, and the promotion has officially announced the bracket’s four opening-round matchups. was informed Tuesday by sources close to the tournament that Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Silva, Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Sergei Kharitonov, Andrei Arlovski, Brett Rogers and Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem will compete in the upcoming tournament. That lineup was later confirmed by a press release from Strikeforce.

As reported yesterday by, the tournament is scheduled to kick off with an Emelianenko-Silva bout as the main event of a Feb. 12 card at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Also featured on that show will be a quarterfinal bout between Arlovski and Kharitonov, as opposed to the originally reported Arlovski-Barnett matchup.

The remaining two quarterfinals will reportedly go down March 5 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Barnett is scheduled to square off with Rogers, while Overeem will meet Werdum. The date and location of these two fights have not officially been announced by the promotion. The tournament’s semifinal and final rounds will be held later in the year at to-be-named events.

The promotion will also hold two alternate bouts as insurance in case one of the main card participants should sustain an injury or be rendered otherwise unable to compete. “Challengers” series standouts Daniel Cormier, Lavar Johnson, Shane del Rosario will likely compete, though the fourth alternate fighter is unknown at this time.

Also unknown is how Barnett’s ongoing licensing situation in California will affect his participation. The former Pride Fighting Championships competitor allegedly tested positive for performance enhancing substances prior to a scheduled bout with Emelianenko in July 2009. Barnett’s hearing before the CSAC on Dec. 2 was pushed back to 2011. Reports indicate that he may go before the commission again on Feb. 4.
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