Strikeforce, in conjunction with M-1 Global and Showtime, have announced an eight man heavyweight tournament. Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinals will include bouts of Fedor vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov, Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and Brett Rogers vs. Josh Barnett. Fedor vs. Silva and Arlovski vs. Kharitonov will take place on February 12 in New Jersey, though the Overeem vs. Werdum and Rogers vs. Barnett fights do not have a date or location as of yet. Fedor commented on the tournament, saying, “I have been training very hard since my last fight and can’t wait to get back in the cage. Strikeforce has assembled a roster filled with the best heavyweights in the world and, together with M-1 Global, we have the opportunity to fight the best in a great tournament format.” I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about this. And with Overeem being the Heavyweight champion, he’ll be defending his belt each and every time he fights. I would have rather him not be in, but I’ll accept title defenses any day of the week. As for Barnett, why is he still being allowed to fight?
According to TMZ.com, the UFC has suspended middleweight Chael Sonnen in the wake of his guilty plea this week to money laundering in connection to the sale of home in 2006. TMZ spoke with UFC President Dana White, who confirmed that they have “frozen” Sonnen’s contract. White commented on Sonnen, saying the middleweight needs to get his personal life in order before returning to action. “Chael Sonnen has gone through a lot in the last few months and we think it’s important for him to focus on getting his personal life together before focusing on his career in the UFC.” Oh, how the “mighty” have fallen. First steroids and now this? Come on, Sonnen. Get it together. It is being reported that he may only serve a two-year probation sentence. That’s getting off easy. It could be a lot worse. Hopefully, for his sake, the judge agrees with what the prosecution is seeking.
Joe Ferraro at Sportsnet.ca reports that the UFC’s newest Ultimate Fighter winner, Jonathan Brookins, will meet undefeated lightweight John Makdessi at the UFC 129 event at the Rogers Centre on April 30. This will be Brookins’ biggest test yet. But judging by his improvement from the beginning of the show to his TUF win, I’m sure he’ll do just fine.
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According to a report from MMAWeekly.com, UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin has returned to training and is looking to return to action in May. Carwin had undergone a successful back surgery late last year that forced him out of a UFC 125 bout with Roy Nelson. With Carwin making his return around May, there could be any number of options for him. My guess: Junior Dos Santos.
Ariel Helwani is reporting that Phil Baroni’s second stint with the UFC is over. Baroni has been cut from the organization following his loss to Brad Tavares at UFC 125 last weekend. Baroni is already fielding multiple offers and intends to get right back to action as soon as possible, and would like to work his way back to the UFC. This just sucks. Baroni might be a .500 fighter but he’s an exciting fighter. I will always watch one of his fights just for the knockout potential.