In a brutal and thorough beatdown of crowd favorite Andrei Arlovski, Sergei Kharitonov confirmed the Strikeforce commentary team's postulation for him as the tournament dark horse.
The question now for the Russian knockout artist is will his matchup in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals be Josh Barnett or Brett Rogers.
Barnett is favored to take out Rogers and is considered the more dangerous all-around fighter, but a matchup with Rogers could be one of the most brutal slugfests of all time.
In a matchup with Barnett, their strengths seem to cancel each other out on paper.
Kharitonov would have a slight edge in the stand-up department while Barnett would have an edge on the ground. Barnett's edge on the ground would make him a favorite, but Kharitoniv is not one to be dominated.
I do not see Kharitonov being submitted since he has tangled with world class grapplers before, so I would predict a relatively close decision with Barnett getting the nod.
Against Rogers, Kharitonov may face the one man in the tournament he might try and force a ground battle with.
That is not to say Sergei could not take out Rogers striking, but his advantages might be more noticeable on the ground.
Rogers does have good take down defense though, so Sergei may have no choice but to get in Rogers' face and try to put him down with strikes.
If that happens, it will only be a matter of seconds before someone gets badly hurt.
Joshua Barnett and Brett Rogers square off against each other in the Grand Prix quarterfinals at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum on April 9th.