Saturday, June 18th, Strikeforce invades the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum (aka Strikeforce: Dallas) features the final two bouts of the Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals, with the winners moving on to the Semis to face either Antonio Silva or Sergei Kharitonov. After many scheduled bouts had to be taken off the card and fighters shuffled around, the final fight card is set.
Let’s take a look at the Main Card, being broadcasted on Showtime, and see how each fight breaks down.
The first bout of the broadcast is a Heavyweight Grand Prix Alternates bout between Valentijn “The Python” Overeem (29-25) and Chad “The Grave Digger” Griggs (10-1). Both fighters last fought in February on the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva card, in which they each won their HWGP alternate bout in the first round. These two men both have a grappling and striking background, so this fight could end up being contested in every inch of the cage. With twenty knockouts and eighteen submissions between the pair, this fight could be over at any second.
In the next bout, rising Heavyweight prospect Daniel Cormier (7-0) faces his toughest test to date as Jeff “The Snowman” Monson (42-11) makes his return to the mainstream audience. While Monson has faced just about every big-name Heavyweight fighter under the sun, he may have not faced anybody like Daniel Cormier in the past two years. Consequently, Cormier has also never fought anybody like Monson. Cormier’s wrestling pedigree is a laundry list of accolades, and he has heavy hands to sweeten the deal. Monson on the other hand isn’t known for his power, but is considered to be one of the top submission grapplers in the world, earning twenty-six of his victories by way of submission. Cormier is used to dominating his opponents in all aspects of the fight, but if he may want to think twice before he goes to the ground with The Snowman.
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The third bout of the Showtime broadcast, and the only non-Heavyweight bout, is between KJ Noons (10-3) and Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (21-6) in the Lightweight Division. Before losing to Nick Diaz in his last fight, Noons was on a six-fight win streak that included four KO/TKO victories. Masvidal is a perfect fight for Noons to bounce back with because he is predominantly a boxer and Noons loves to strike. He better not take him lightly, however, as Masvidal has picked up ten of his wins by way of KO/TKO. If things go the way they look on paper, we are in for a standup battle that will not only test the cardio of these fighters, but also their chins.
The Co-Main Event of the evening, and the first of two HWGP Quarterfinal bouts, between Josh “The Baby Faced Assassin” Barnett (29-5) and Brett “The Grim” Rogers (11-2). Barnett is currently riding a six-fight win streak spanning just over three years, while Rogers is trying to build his momentum back up after winning his first ten fights and then losing back-to-back. This fight is going to be a battle of styles as Barnett puts his catch wrestling up against Rogers’ boxing. Barnett has only been knocked out once and Rogers has never been submitted. If Barnett can get this fight to the ground, Rogers could really be in trouble and face his third Strikeforce loss in a row. However, Barnett hasn’t had his chin tested in a few years and Rogers could definitely hurt him if he catches him with a big right hand.
Overeem will look to avange his loss to Werdum
The Main Event, and second HWGP Quarterfinal bout, of the evening is possibly one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year as Alistair “Demolition Man” Overeem (34-11-1) takes on Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (14-4-1). This fight is also a battle of styles as Overeem looks to use his powerful kickboxing to defeat Werdum’s deadly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In their last fight, they each used their strengths to defeat their opponent: Overeem KO victory over Todd Duffee, Werdum submission victory over Fedor Emelianenko. The last time these two-faced each other, back in 2006 in the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix, Werdum was victorious in defeating the smaller Overeem via submission due to a kimura. Just over five years later they cross paths again as two completely different fighters. Overeem has put on a lot more muscle and settled into his Heavyweight frame, and Werdum has greatly improved his striking abilities. Both men are riding huge waves of momentum coming into this fight and it could literally end at any given time. When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, an explosion is bound to happen.
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