(Overeem drops UFC vet Todd Duffee with a short left to take the DREAM Heavyweight Championship on New Year’s Eve. Check out the full gallery here.)
While injuries, unexplained layoffs, and legal problems have put most of the UFC’s meaningful heavyweight fights in limbo for the time being, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is making hay while the sun shines. Yesterday, Strikeforce, M-1 Global, and Showtime Networks officially announced the quarterfinal match-ups of the much-rumored Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. The tournament, which will take place over several events throughout the year, features five fighters in the top 10 of FIGHT!’s Heavyweight Rankings, and seven in the top 25.
The first event will air live on Showtime from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Feb. 12, 2011, and will feature former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko (#2 Heavyweight) vs. Antonio Silva (#10) and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski (#27) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (#16). No other fights from the card have been rumored or announced at this time.
The other two quarterfinal bouts, which will take place at a yet-to-be-determined event this spring, will feature Strikeforce, DREAM, and K-1 Grand Prix Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem (#4) vs. Fabricio Werdum (#3) and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett (#6) vs. (Brett Rogers (#14).
“Strikeforce is home to the best heavyweight division in the world,” Scott Coker is quoted as saying in the press release. “The athlete who runs the gauntlet in a tournament such as this would have to be considered the best heavyweight fighter in the world.”
It is unclear at this time whether Overeem’