According to Sherdog.com, Strikeforce will indeed move forward with an eight-man Heavyweight Grand Prix in early 2011. Fedor Emelianenko will reportedly meet Antonio Silva and Andrei Arlovski will battle Josh Barnett on February 12th inside the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Although the tournament’s remaining contestants weren’t confirmed, a third quarterfinal matchup between upset specialist Fabricio Werdum and Brett Rogers is rumored for Strikeforce’s March 5th event in Columbus, Ohio.
A fourth and final tournament bout is also expected for the March card. The semi-final and final rounds will be held later this year.
The chatter surrounding a 265-pound tourney started last month, however Emelianenko and Strikeforce have been unable to come to terms on a contract extension. Sherdog’s report provided no updates on their never-ending negotiations, but don’t expect any movement from the Russians until something is inked.
Another issue facing the San Jose, California based promotion is Barnett’s situation. After single-handedly taking down Affliction Entertainment with his flunked drug test in July 2009, the controversial heavyweight has been in no hurry to clear up his predicament with the California State Athletic Commission.
On December 2nd, he once again had his hearing with the CSAC pushed back to a later date. It will be interesting to see how the New Jersey Athletic Control Board handles Barnett’s licensing situation.
Strikeforce is also expected to hold two alternate bouts in case the injury bug comes buzzing around. Potential contestants could include Lavar Johnson, Daniel Cormier and Shane del Rosario.