Fedor to Face Silva in Strikeforce Heavyweight Tourney

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

By FCF Staff

After months of speculation as to when and who former Pride champ Fedor Emelianenko would face next, Strikeforce has confirmed that the Russian fighter will face Antonio Silva, February 12th, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The bout will be one of the quarterfinal match-ups for Strikeforce’s upcoming Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament, which will also see Andrei Arlovski (15-8) face Sergie Kharitonov (16-4) on the February card. The event will be broadcast live on Showtime.

Other confirmed quarter final match-ups include Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem (34-11) vs. Fabrico Werdum (14-4-1) and Brett Rogers (11-2) vs. Josh Barnett (29-5); however, no dates have yet been confirmed.

In addition to the news of Fedor’s return and the Grand-Prix opening round bouts, Strikeforce has announced that is has signed a new, multi-year, co-promotional agreement with Emelianenko and his management group M-1 Global.

"We are thrilled to have come to a long-term agreement with Fedor and M-1 Global,” said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. “To have the greatest MMA fighter of all-time put his legacy on the line in a single-elimination tournament will truly captivate MMA fans worldwide. Strikeforce is home to the best heavyweight division in the world; the athlete who runs the gauntlet in a tournament such as this would have to be considered the best heavyweight fighter in the world."

"I’m very pleased to be working with Showtime and Strikeforce and Mr. Coker and Mr. Hershman personally. Thanks to their interest and efforts, we’ve created what will go down in history as MMA’s greatest heavyweight tournament of all time,” said Vadim Finkelchtein, co-founder of M-1 Global. “M-1, Strikeforce and Showtime have built a partnership committed to the future growth of MMA—a sport where organizations represent a working collaborative that enable the best fighters in the world to fight each other. This agreement benefits everyone, especially the fans who’ll see Fedor in action more often.”

Emelianenko (31-2) is coming off his first professional loss since 2000, when he was submitted by Werdum in the first round at a Strikeforce and M-1 Global event in June. The renowned fighter had not been defeated in 28 bouts heading into the card, and was considered by many to be the best heavyweight competitor on the planet.

Silva (15-2) last competed on December 4th, when he came from behind to stop Mike Kyle in the second round. The American Top Team fighter was coming off a stoppage win over Arlovski in May, after losing by decision to Werdum in November, 2009.

“I have been training very hard since my last fight and can’t wait to get back in the cage,” said Emelianenko.  “Strikeforce has assembled a roster filled with the best heavyweights in the world and, together with M-1 Global; we have the opportunity to fight the best in a great tournament format.”