Fight fans are a day away from being treated to Strikeforce’s second installment of their Heavyweight Grand Prix at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
After first round match-ups between Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio “Big Foot” Silva and Andre Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov back in February, Saturday night’s heavyweight tournament competitors will want to mimic fellow opening round victors straight into the semifinals.
The rest of this tournament will ultimately produce not only a heavyweight champion, but a divisional pound-for-pound fighter gearing for a shot at the UFC’s heavyweight best.
With numerous implications for future bouts, how will the Heavyweight Grand Prix brackets break down once all the leathers has been thrown, all the blood and sweat has been absorbed into the canvas and the winners’ arms have been raised into the air?
What was once considered the weaker half of the bracket, it’s now being looked upon by fans and pundits as the half that will produce the tournament’s undisputed No. 1 challenger, Josh Barnett.
The other side of the tournament has already been impacted, putting aside speculation and outlining one half of the semifinals after Silva shocked the world by evacuating one of the early favorites from the tournament.
Now Fedor is out of the picture, many find it hard to believe in a finals without Overeem, who recently participated in K-1’s 2010 Grand Prix and won the whole thing.
As a result, Silva and Kharitonov will be sidelined until an unknown date later this year, eagerly preparing for their eventual clashes with tomorrow night’s winners to become the deserving challenger to the belt and have the bragging accolades that await the overall winner of the tournament.
Obviously both the Brazilian and Russian will be watching Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers and Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum with vested interest, waiting for the cards to fall as they will.
To Strikeforce’s (pre-Zuffa) credit, their Heavyweight Grand Prix has become the most talent-rich tournament since Pride’s Open Weight tournament back in 2006.
So consider this a prediction of sorts, let’s glance into the future and see how the brackets will look, not only on Sunday morning, but how they will play out for the rest of the tournament.
Remember this is just one genius man’s humble opinion, who was blindsided when his beloved Fedor got stomped out of the tournament at the hands of Silva in the very first round.
So consider yourselves warned….