Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently announced that his promotion would be putting on a Heavyweight Grand Prix over the course of this year, which will feature all of the promotion’s biggest heavyweight stars. Among them will be Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, whom Coker told MMAWeekly.com will be putting his belt on the line in each of his fights.
“It’ll be four nights over a period of eight months, then we’ll have one champion,” Coker explained.
The tournament’s opening round match ups have been announced and Overeem will be taking on former conqueror Fabricio Werdum; their bout will be a five round title fight, as will any fight that the winner, or defender, of the belt participates in throughout the rest of the tournament.
“The goal is to have Alistair put up his belt against Fabricio Werdum,” said Coker. “If Werdum wins, then he will have to put up the belt, but at the end, you will have one champion.”
It came as a surprise to some that Overeem chose to enter the tournament as opposed to waiting at the top to face the overall winner, but Coker told MMAWeekly that Overeem was itching to join the fracas with the possible opportunity to avenge a 2006 loss to Werdum on the table.
“Alistair wanted to be in the tournament,” said Coker. “He asked me in Japan when I was there for Dream, after he knocked out (Todd) Duffee. He said, ‘Scott, I want to fight Fabricio Werdum. I’m gonna avenge all the people that beat me early in my career and he’s at the top of my list.’”
The heavyweight tournament’s opening round will feature match ups between Overeem and Werdum, Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Silva, Josh Barnett and Brett Rogers as well as Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov.