Josh Barnett submitted Sergei Kharitonov in the first round of their main event at Strikeforce on Saturday night.
Barnett will now face Daniel Cormier in the final of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, which should take place in early 2012.
The fighter out of Fullerton, Calif. did well on the feet and worked his jab early against the Russian heavyweight. Kharitonov came back and landed some pretty impressive power shots, but Barnett got the clinch and got the trip takedown, which led to a full mount. Barnett stayed on top and worked in some short strikes before his opponent gave up his back. Kharitonov attempted to buck his opponent off, but Barnett kept his position and worked his way to the arm triangle that ended the fight.
Kharitonov had no choice but to submit with the tight hold, giving Barnett the stoppage victory at 4:28 of the opening round.
With the finals of the heavyweight tournament set, Barnett prepares for a tough matchup against former olympian and knows it won’t be easy.
“Daniel Cormier is a great opponent,” Barnett said after the win. “I know I have to train real hard for him.”
With the win, Barnett gets the 31st win of his storied career and moves on to another tournament final, much like he did when he was in Pride. In defeat, Kharitonov collects his fifth loss in 23 fights.