Strikeforce’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix is the promotion’s most ambitious effort to date, matching eight of the world’s top heavyweight mixed martial artists in a tournament format. The Grand Prix kicks off Saturday night with two quarterfinal bouts at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
Fedor Emelianenko faces Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the main event. The co-main event features Andrei Arlovski fighting Sergei Kharitonov. Both are quarterfinal bouts in the tournament.
Emelianenko returns to action for the first since suffering a loss to Fabricio Werdum last year, but he’s not looking ahead at any potential rematch. He has a dangerous opponent in front of him, and he’s focused on Antonio Silva.
“Antonio Silva’s a very serious opponent, and he belongs in the top ten fighters. He has very strong knockout punch, so he’s a great fighter,” Emelianenko said.
Silva has been asking for a fight with Emelianenko for a long time, and now he’s getting his wish.
“I’m so happy for this fight because Fedor’s a legend,” Silva stated. “For me, Fedor’s No. 1 in the world, and I’m training a lot. I’m ready for this fight.”
The Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva fighters weighed in Friday afternoon, making Saturday night’s fight card official.
Main Bouts (On Showtime):
-Fedor Emelianenko (230) vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (264)
-Andrei Arlovski (242) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (250)
-Shane Del Rosario (248) vs. Lavar Johnson (243)
-Chad Griggs (229) vs. Gian Villante (227)
-Valentijn Overeem (239) vs. Ray Sefo (249)
Preliminary Bouts (On HDNet):
-John Cholish (155.75) vs. Marc Stevens (156.5)*
-Igor Gracie (170.75) vs. John Salgado (170)
-Sam Oropeza (169.75) vs. Don Carlo-Clauss (170.5)
-Anthony Leone (146.2) vs. Josh Laberge (145.75)**
-Kevin Roddy (145.75) vs. Jason McLean (145.5)
*Cholish agreed to accept Stevens’ weight of 156.5 pounds even though it was slightly over the limit.
**Leone was given one hour to make the 146-pound limit for his fight.