Before the ink dried on a new contract with Fedor Emelianenko, Strikeforce announced his and most of its heavyweight rosterās next fights. Fedor and most of the other heavyweights under contract with the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion are slated to compete in the first Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
The eight-man tournament kicks off Feb. 12 in New Jersey, and is expected to play out over the next eight months or so, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday.
The first two quarterfinal bouts and two alternate bouts will fill the main card at the IZOD Center on Feb. 12 in East Rutherford and air on Showtime.
āThe Feb. 12 event at the IZOD Center is going to be an all-heavyweight event,ā Coker revealed. āItāll be a lot of fun. Weāll have some big guys in the cage and when you have heavyweights, thereās always a lot of action.ā
Laying out the fight card, Coker said that, as expected, quarterfinal bouts featuring Fedor against Antonio āBigfootā Silva and Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov would head the card.
He added that he first alternate bout would feature top heavyweight prospects Shane Del Rosario and Lavar Johnson. The winner between the two will be deemed the first alternate if one of the bracketed fighters is unable to move on in the tournament.
A second alternate bout will pit Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeemās brother, Valentijn, against K-1 standout Ray Sefo.
The other two quarterfinal bouts ā pitting champion Alistair Overeem against Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett against Brett Rogers ā will take place at an undetermined fight card in April, skipping the promotionās March 5 event in Columbus, Ohio.
He also noted that there are other heavyweights, such as Daniel Cormier, who faces Devin Cole at Friday nightās Strikeforce Challengers 13 in Nashville, that could step up for the tournament if necessary.
āItās gonna be a great time not only for fight fans,ā extolled Coker, āBut for mixed martial arts as an industry.ā