Ranking Alistair Overeem and the Rest of MMA's Heavyweight Division
Following a decisive victory over Fabricio Werdum, current Strikeforce and DREAM Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem avenged his 2006 loss to "Vai Cavalo" in the second half of opening bouts of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament.
Now "The Demolition Man" will look to continue his dominance as he faces Antonio Silva, who is coming off a crushing victory of Fedor Emelianenko.
Meanwhile in the UFC, top level striker Junior Dos Santos clinched the No. 1 contender position over Shane Carwin as he put on a boxing clinic, tearing through Carwin on his way to a unanimous decision victory when his original opponent Brock Lesnar pulled out due to illness.
All the while, Josh Barnett scored a submission victory over Brett Rogers on his way to a semifinal matchup against Sergei Kharitonov and the UFC announced a heavyweight collision in Rio between Brendan Schaub and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
So with all the heavyweights mixing it up against each other, we could have a very different looking division come next year.
And with a Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion being crowned by next year at the latest, we could have a definitive number one Heavyweight bout between the UFC and Strikeforce Champions in the near future.
In the mean time, here's how the Heavyweight division is stacking up right now.
1. Cain Velasquez
Following his destruction of former champ Brock Lesnar, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez was expected to make his first title defense against power puncher Junior Dos Santos.
However a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder sidelined him for months. Now, he will get the match up he was originally expecting as Dos Santos claimed the No. 1 contender's spot after defeating Shane Carwin at UFC 131.
Velasquez, whose superior speed and technique earned him the victory over Lesnar, welcomed the possibility of a bout between current Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem.
But he may have spoke too soon, as he is set to defend the UFC Heavyweight title against the hungry Dos Santos in a bout expected to take place sometime in November.
2. Junior Dos Santos
When Junior Dos Santos' original opponent Brock Lesnar withdrew from their June bout at UFC 131 due to a reappearance of his diverticulitis, heavy handed heavyweight Shane Carwin stepped in to replace him.
For Dos Santos though, whether it was Carwin or Lesnar, it made no difference as he intended to make a statement and make a statement he did.
"Cigano" brutalized Carwin as he exhibited superior speed and boxing technique that was just too much for Carwin, who managed to hold on through three rounds, but was torn apart in the process.
Dos Santos displayed more than just his famed boxing, showing takedown defending abilities and even scoring a take down of his own in the process.
At UFC 131, Dos Santos showed that he is more than just a devastating striker, he showed that he'll be giving champ Cain Velasquez a real fight for the belt come November.
3. Alistair Overeem
Alistair Overeem avenged his 2006 loss to Fabricio Werdum in their opening round bout of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
However, it wasn't the outcome he had hoped for, as he was unable to finish Werdum, as he would not oblige "Vai Cavalo" attempts to take the fight to the ground.
Overeem's win however places him as the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament as he is slated to face Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva next.
"The Demolition Man," however wants to face UFC competition and prove that he is indeed the number one heavyweight in the world.
So give Zuffa's purchase of Strikeforce, a win of the entire Grand Prix Tournament might get him the shot at the UFC Heavyweight Champion he's been waiting for.
4. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar was expected to fight for the number one heavyweight contender's spot at UFC 131, but once again, diverticulitis reared its ugly head once more.
Now sidelined indefinitely as he attempts to regain his good health after a successful surgery, Lesnar must wait to see what happens in the UFC heavyweight division as his rival Ultimate Fighter coach Junior Dos Santos will fight for the title come November.
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion might be coming back to a very different looking division, as Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem might possibly have already made his debut against the UFC Heavyweight Champion by then.
5. Fabricio Werdum
With a disappointing loss to Alistair Overeem in the quarter finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix evening tying up their record 1-1, Fabricio Werdum lost his chance to claim Strikeforce gold.
Despite his surprising upset of Fedor Emelianenko, Werdum was unable to produce a similar scenario in Dallas against Overeem, as "The Demolition Man" walked away with a unanimous decision victory.
While Werdum landed arguably the more significant strikes of the bout, his eagerness and Overeem's unwillingness to take the fight to the ground ultimately prevented him from earning the victory.
Now its back to the drawing board for "Vai Cavalo," as he waits to see who is left after the dust from the heavyweight tournament has settled.
6. Frank Mir
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir was able to easily dispatch Roy Nelson at UFC 130.
Mir displayed better wrestling and overall technique against The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 winner, taking him the distance in a unanimous decision victory.
While Nelson was visibly fatigued and seemingly out of shape, Mir still showed why he is still a relevant force in the Heavyweight division.
Now, he's left to figure out how to break that top five to top three. Will the always looking to improve Mir go back to the bigger is better approach or will he rely on speed and technique or will he finally find that medium he's always had the potential of achieving?
Maybe Mir doesn't have it in him anymore, or maybe he's on his way back towards becoming a number one contender.
7. Shane Carwin
The giant Shane Carwin made it past the second round for the first time in the UFC, the problem is, that he didn't come out on top by the end of round three.
Junior Dos Santos swiftly disposed of Carwin, using better boxing to pick apart the Colorado native and negate his one punch knockout power.
Carwin's wrestling also didn't fare him any better against Dos Santos as he was even taken down himself.
His cardio was an issue, but overall he was simply outclassed standing against Dos Santos.
Now, he'll be awaiting an opponent, maybe Roy Nelson?
8. Antonio Silva
Antonio Silva made a definitive statement when he pummeled Fedor Emelianenko.
"The Last Emperor" was beaten by "Bigfoot" when Silva pounded Emelianenko on way to a doctor's stoppage.
Now, the confident Brazilian will have a tough task ahead of him when he faces Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem in the semi finals.
The question is, will his powerful ground game be able to do what Fabricio Werdum was unable to and take Overeem into unwanted territory on the ground?
Or will Overeem's monster power in the stand up be too much for Silva?
9. Fedor Emelianenko
The legendary Fedor Emelianenko may be nearing the end of his career after back to back losses to Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva.
Before he contemplates retirement though, he'll have his eyes set on his upcoming about with another mixed martial arts legend and current Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Henderson.
The bout, which will be fought at a catchweight could either give Emelianenko a new opportunity to add another famous name to his list of victims or the third on his list of opponents who have truly bested him.
If his bout with Henderson is indeed the last we have seen of "The Last Emperor," it will be one hell of a way to go out.
10. Josh Barnett
Josh Barnett threw his name back into the heavyweight mix with his arm triangle submission victory over Brett Rogers in the quarter finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Barnett showed veteran composure, methodically working at Rogers and patiently waiting to apply his submission and seal the deal.
"The Baby Faced Assassin" or "War Master," whichever you prefer to call him, will now face Sergei Kharitonov in the semi finals of the tournament, where he is seemingly the favorite.