Strikeforce lining up a Lightweight Tournament; Overeem vs. Werdum set for April 9thPosted on January 29, 2011, 06:41 PM by Joey Santosus
According to ESPN.com, on the heels of announcing their well-received and highly anticipated Heavyweight Grand Prix, Strikeforce is reportedly working alongside Dream co-producer Real Entertainment to organize an eight-fighter Lightweight Tournament. Expected to kick-off in May, the bracket could feature up to five Strikeforce competitors, possibly including names such as Lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante, KJ Noons, Lyle Beerbohm, Jorge Masvidal or Justin Wilcox, among Japanese superstars Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Katsunori Kikuno.
“We’re committed to keeping our fighters active, but if we can help Dream and have our fighters go over there and participate in their tournament, why not?” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker reasoned. “If things go the way they should, I feel confident we’ll send a bunch of guys over.”
In other news, ESPN.com has also confirmed with Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker that the second leg of their Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament will take place on an unofficial April 9th card. While the promotion has not yet ruled out venues in the U.S., Canada, or Brazil, Japan appears to be the likely location for the event, which is expected to feature Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem against Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett squaring off with Brett Rogers, and the return of Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez.
Alistair Overeem has been vocal as of late regarding his desire to test himself against some of the top talents that Strikeforce has to offer and believes the Grand Prix winner should emerge as the number one ranked Heavyweight in the world. First up for "The Demolition Man" will be the rematch with Fabricio Werdum, who submitted Overeem back in 2006. This time however, the "Reem" expects a different outcome.
”It’s always nice to settle the score but I’m a person that looks in the future instead of looking back. The first time we fought I did OK; he was the favorite and was outweighing me. But this time I think we are looking at two different fighters, Werdum has improved but I improved as well, now we will see which fighter have improved more over the years. I think I have enough weapons to finish him standing. My guess is that he wants the fight to go to the ground but the fight starts standing so it will be interesting how this will play out.”
”I agree that Cain Velasquez holds the number one position; he had a very good year and beat the champion in very impressive fashion. Now Cain is sidelined for the rest of the year and having the Strikeforce GP tournament in 2011 there is enough room to take that number one spot. The winner of the GP should be number one in the rankings because I still believe Strikeforce has the best heavyweight division in the world. - For complete interview visit BJPenn.com
The Heavyweight Grand Prix kicks-off on February 12th with the promotion's Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva event, which will be headlined by a quarter-final elimination bout between "The Last Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, while former UFC Champion Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov will go head to head in the event's co-main attraction.
Source: ESPN.com, BJPenn.com | Photo: Esther Lin