Strikeforce today officially announced Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum for the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, June 18. Four of the organization’s top heavyweights are set to collide for the quarterfinals of its Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament.
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem (34-11, 1 NC) squares off against Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1) in the highly-anticipated main event, while former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett (29-5) will battle heavy-handed knockout artist Brett “The Grim” Rogers (11-2).
Two additional, non-tournament heavyweight clashes are also scheduled for the card, as former U.S. Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier (7-0) will face fellow undefeated budding star Shane Del Rosario (11-0) and Valentijn Overeem (29-25), the elder brother of Alistair, will take on streaking Chad Griggs (10-1).
Plus, women’s mixed martial arts superstar Gina Carano (7-1) returns to action with her sights set on taking the Strikeforce championship.
“We are really excited to head to Dallas with two outstanding quarterfinal heavyweight Grand Prix fights,” said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. “With Overeem vs. Werdum, Rogers vs. Barnett, as well as the return of Gina Carano, Strikeforce is bringing one of its best cards ever to American Airlines Center.”
The main event between 30-year-old Alistair Overeem and the 33-year-old Fabricio Werdum pits the two superstars against one another nearly five years after Werdum submitted Overeem on a PRIDE Fighting Championship card at Osaka Dome in Osaka, Japan on May 5, 2006.
Since their initial encounter, the 6-foot-5, 260 pound Overeem has become the first fighter in history to simultaneously hold both a major MMA title and a K-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix championship. Meanwhile, Werdum has wreaked havoc on the heavyweight division, including his submission over Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko in June, which was considered 2010 Upset of the Year.
Josh Barnett is a former UFC heavyweight champion who owns victories over the likes of Randy Couture, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Pedro Rizzo and Gilbert Yvel. The 33-year-old heads to Dallas with hopes of derailing his opponent and advancing in the Grand Prix. To do so, he must defeat the heavy-handed Brett Rogers. The 6-foot-5 powerhouse reeled off 10 straight wins to start his professional career and holds knockout victories over the likes of former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski and PRIDE vet James Thompson.
A former Division I All-American at Oklahoma State University Daniel Cormier is unbeaten in seven fights. Training alongside the likes of UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and welterweight stars Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, Cormier’s blend of wrestling and power could pose problems for his opponent in Texas. With an unblemished record in 11 professional bouts, Shane Del Rosario remains unfazed by the hype surrounding his opponent. Coming off an impressive submission win over Lavar Johnson in February, the 27-year-old Del Rosario has finished every fight and expects nothing less when he meets Cormier on June 18.
A seasoned veteran riding a three-fight winning streak, Valentijn Overeem believes a win on June 18 could propel him into contention in the Strikeforce heavyweight division. Thus, expect fireworks when he meets free-swinging Chad Griggs, who has won five straight, including a stoppage of Bobby Lashley.
This loaded event also marks the return of former Strikeforce title contender Gina Carano, who will take on an opponent to be announced in the weeks to come. A rising star in the acting world, Carano is eager to get back to her first love and impress in her first bout since Aug. 2009.
Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum will air live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). Tickets for the event go on sale this Friday, April 15 at 10 a.m. CT. Tickets can be purchased at the American Airlines Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, by calling 800-745-3000, or by visiting Ticketmaster.com.