Strikeforce has been relatively quiet since ending their 2010 campaign in thunderous fashion. However, the San Jose, California-based promotion came storming back in the first week of the New Year.
According to the trusty rumor mill, Strikeforce will announce later today they have finally inked Fedor Emelianenko to the ever-elusive contract extension.
The Russian will make his return against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the opening round of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix. The studs will meet February 12th inside the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
However, the awesomeness doesn’t stop there. MMAFighting has obtained the roster for the entire eight-man tourney and its pairings.
Former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski will face Sergei Kharitonov the same evening Fedor makes his comeback.
Brett Rogers will battle Josh Barnett and reigning Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem will face upset specialist Fabricio Werdum to round out the other quarterfinal matchups.
The when and where for this set of 1stRound scraps will be announced at a later date. Tourney seeds were not reported, so it’s unknown which winners would meet following their opening round victories.
Also, it’s undetermined whether Overeem will have to compete in five-round tournament bouts because of his championship moniker.
(UPDATED 1/4/2011 at 12:10PM PT):
Strikeforce’s press release confirmed MMAFighting’s reports.