By Jim Genia
What: Strikeforce’s “Fedor vs. Silva”
When: Saturday, February 12, 2011
Where: IZOD Center, East Rutherford, N.J., and broadcast live on Showtime
The eagerly-anticipated Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix is slated to kick off Saturday night at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., and the main event will feature none other than legendary fighter Fedor Emelianenko against Brazilian behemoth Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. It’s an epic matchup, and an auspicious start to an epic tournament – and it’s made all the more compelling by the fact that this will be Fedor’s first step back into the cage since his unexpected loss to Fabricio Werdum last year. Was Werdum’s triangle submission a fluke? Or was it a sign the “Last Emperor’s” long reign as uncontested king has come to an end? In Bigfoot, Fedor faces an opponent with a jiu-jitsu black belt and close to a 50-pound weight advantage – how will that factor into the equation?
Elsewhere on the card, former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski will likely have his chin checked, this time by Russian slugger Sergei Kharitonov. Meanwhile, Strikeforce Challengers alumni Lavar Johnson and Shane Del Rosario will square off, and Valentijn Overeem (brother to champ Alistair Overeem) takes on K-1 kickboxing vet Ray Sefo in two tournament reserve bouts.
According to promoter Scott Coker, they’re anticipating upwards of 13,000 spectators within the IZOD Center. With the heavyweight fireworks on tap, those thousands in attendance should come away satisfied.
Heavyweight Tournament Bouts
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov
Heavyweight Tournament Reserve Bouts
Shane Del Rosario vs. Lavar Johnson
Valentijn Overeem vs. Ray Sefo
Gian Villante vs. Chad Griggs
LW: John Cholish vs. Marc Stevens
WW: Igor Gracie vs. John Salgado
WW: Sam Oropeza vs. Don Carlo-Clauss
FW: Anthony Leone vs. Josh LaBerge
FW: Kevin Roddy vs. Jason McLean