The second set of quarterfinal bouts for Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix have been set for some time. The promotion’s heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem will fight Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett will face Brett Rogers. The big mystery has been when and where?
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker on Thursday confirmed a report by ESPN.com that they are targeting an April 9 date for those two quarterfinal bouts, as well as Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez’s next title defense.
Coker told MMAWeekly Radio last week that the company has been exploring expansion into Canada and taking at least one leg of the Heavyweight Grand Prix overseas to Japan. He reiterated that to ESPN.com, but stressed to MMAWeekly.com on Thursday that Strikeforce was still considering numerous locations for the April 9 target date, and that Japan was just one of them.
He also told MMAWeekly Radio that Japanese star Tatsuya Kawajiri was one of the main fighters under consideration for Melendez.
“We’re talking to Japan, but things move slow over there and it’s been an ongoing conversation,” Coker characterized the Kawajiri talks with Dream.
The first two quarterfinal bouts of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix are set for Feb. 12 in New Jersey. Fedor Emelianenko faces Antonio Silva in one fight, while the other bout pits Andrei Arlovski against Sergei Kharitonov.