Strikeforce Grand Prix Results: Can Josh Barnett Beat Alistair Overeem

Dean StoneContributor IIIJune 19, 2011

So the second half of the Strikeforce Grand Prix quarterfinals went pretty much as expected for betting favorites Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett.

Both fighters won in convincing fashion. Now Barnett will face Sergei Kharitonov in his semi, while the Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem will be pitted against Antonio Silva.

For the sake of this article I'm going to assume—and yes, I know what happens when one assumes—that Overeem and Barnett get through their semis and meet in the final. I don't think I'm going out on a limb with that assumption.

So if they do, how is this going to match up?

Despite the awkward fan-begging/pro-wrestling bit after his second-round submission victory over Brett Rogers, Barnett did what he does to perfection. He owned his opponent for the entire fight.

If there was one thing about Barnett's performance that didn't look good it was the way he was sucking for air on the stool after the first round. It looked to me that he felt a bit gassed, and went out for the submission as fast as possible in the second before he totally tanked.

Overeem fought a unanimous decision. He showed good takedown defense and his cardio looked fine. Like Barnett, he did what he had to do to win his fight.

So when these two meet in the Strikeforce Grand Prix finals will Barnett be able to wrestle the champ to the ground and dominate him there?

Against Werdum the champ was willing to clinch against the cage, and if he does that with Barnett he's going to find himself on his back—with a real big guy on top of him.

If Barnett can get Overeem to the ground, not only is he capable of submitting the champ, but he will also be winning rounds by controlling where the fight is fought.

By the time the betting lines come out on this fight Barnett will most likely be handicapped as the underdog. There could be a big payday for MMA bettors if the sports books underestimate the Baby-Faced Assassin.

It looks to me that a lot of us are forgetting that Barnett has only lost to three fighters in his career, and the last one was almost five years ago.

He believes he's going to win this tournament, and he just might have the skills to do it.

I just hope they don't let him have the mic again.