Strikeforce World Grand Prix coming to Cincinnati
Jul 26, 2011 - by Steve Gerweck
STRIKEFORCE® WORLD GRAND PRIX: HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINALS HEADS TO
U.S. BANK ARENA IN CINCINNATI ON SEPT. 10
WORLD GRAND PRIX SEMI-FINALS:
JOSH BARNETT vs. SERGEI KHARITONOV
ANTONIO ‘BIGFOOT’ SILVA vs. DANIEL CORMIER
MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT:
RONALDO ‘JACARE’ SOUZA DEFENDS AGAINST LUKE ROCKHOLD
‘KING MO’ LAWAL vs. ROGER GRACIE
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
Live on SHOWTIME® at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT (Delayed on West Coast)
TICKETS ON SALE THIS FRIDAY, JULY 29 at 12 p.m. ET
SAN JOSE, Calif. – STRIKEFORCE® will make its second trip to the Buckeye State this year when it brings the STRIKEFORCE WORLD GRAND PRIX: HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT semi-finals to U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati on Saturday, Sept. 10., live on SHOWTIME at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). The World Heavyweight Grand Prix finalists will be determined when former UFC® heavyweight champion “The Baby Faced Assassin” Josh Barnett takes on Russian sensation Sergei Kharitonov, and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva battles tournament alternate Daniel “DC” Cormier.
The card will also feature STRIKEFORCE middleweight champ Ronald “Jacare” Souza defending his title against top contender Luke Rockhold, as well as a light heavyweight collision between Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal and Roger Gracie. A fifth yet-to-be announced fight will air on the SHOWTIME portion of the event.
The main card action will air live on SHOWTIME at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
“Cincinnati is an incredible sports town and we’re excited to bring the World Grand Prix: Heavyweight Tournament to the great fans here,” said STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker. “We’re going to see who advances to the tournament finals. Barnett vs. Kharitonov pits two incredible finishers against one another, and ‘Big Foot’ is looking to keep the momentum rolling after his big win over Fedor when he meets unbeaten Daniel Cormier. When you add in the middleweight title fight and the other great bouts, you can see that we’ve pulled out all the stops for our return to Ohio.”
Tickets for STRIKEFORCE® WORLD GRAND PRIX: HEAVYWEIGHT SEMI-FINALS, which is presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, are priced at $200, $125, $75 and $35, and go on sale Friday, July 29 at 12 p.m. ET. Tickets will be available at the U.S. Bank Arena box office, online at www.usbankarena.com, or charge by phone at 513-421-4111 . Tickets are also available online at www.TicketMaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000 , and at all Ticketmaster outlets including select Kroger locations. Ticket prices do not include service charges.
UFC® Fight Club™ members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Thursday, July 28 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. ET via the website ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers, as well as STRIKEFORCE Insiders on Thursday, July 28 starting at 12 p.m. ET. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through ufc.com.
Having defeated seven straight opponents, including a slick submission win over Brett Rogers in the previous round of the Grand Prix, Josh Barnett (30-5) feels he is the only man that has what it takes to win this tournament. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, who holds career victories over legends Randy Couture, Dan Severn and Minotauro Nogueira, looks to advance and book a spot in the finals when he takes on Golden Glory product, Sergei Kharitonov (18-4). Born in Plesetsk, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia, Kharitonov still serves active duty for the Russian Airborne Troops while training full time. Though he most recently defeated Andrei Arlovski to earn this fight, he also holds notable wins over Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum.
Brazilian-born heavyweight Antonio “Big Foot” Silva (16-2) is on a tear through the division thanks to recent wins over Fedor Emelianenko, Arlovski and Mike Kyle. Silva, who holds black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo and karate, will need everything he’s got when he matches up with American Kickboxing Academy’s top heavyweight prospect, Daniel Cormier (8-0). The former Oklahoma State University wrestler, who was also a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic wrestling team, steps in as an alternate for the injured Alistair Overeem, and hopes to make the most of this massive opportunity.
Team Black House fighter and current STRIKEFORCE middleweight champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (14-2, 1 NC) is currently riding a four-fight win streak that includes victories over Tim Kennedy and Robbie Lawler. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo black belt looks to successfully defend his belt for the second time when he takes on Santa Cruz’s Luke Rockhold (7-1). An American Kickboxing Academy standout and Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, Rockhold seeks his seventh consecutive victory and the STRIKEFORCE 185-pound crown.
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (7-1) is looking to make his way back up the light heavyweight ladder and reclaim his throne. The former champ had won seven straight before running into Rafael Cavalcante last August, but he’s now back hungrier than ever to return to the win column. Having wrestled at Oklahoma State University, Lawal will have to rely on his takedowns and heavy hands when he squares off against second-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Roger Gracie (4-0). A member of the famed Gracie family, Roger is undefeated and recently scored a victory over former UFC and PRIDE® star Kevin Randleman.
For more information or the latest STRIKEFORCE news, visit www.strikeforce.com. All bouts live and subject to change.