Fedor Emelianenko | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Emelianenko will return to the Strikeforce cage on Feb. 12, as
he takes on Antonio
Silva in a heavyweight main event from the Izod Center in East
Sources close to the negotiations informed Sherdog.com Sunday
evening of the event’s date and location.
A match between former UFC heavyweight champions Andrei
Arlovski and Josh Barnett
is also said to be in the works for the February date. It remains
to be seen how the New Jersey Athletic Control Board handles the
licensing situation Barnett -- who allegedly tested positive for a
performance enhancing substance prior to a scheduled bout with
Emelianenko in the summer of 2009 -- is dealing with in California.
His hearing before the California commission was pushed back at
their Dec. 2 meeting.
As speculated, Strikeforce will indeed hold an eight-man
heavyweight tournament in 2011, and Emelianenko-Silva and
Arlovski-Barnett are set to serve as quarterfinal bouts. Though the
remaining combatants could not be confirmed, a third quarterfinal
matchup between Fabricio
Werdum and Brett
Rogers is expected to take place in Columbus, Ohio, on a
planned March 5 event.
A fourth and final tournament bout is also set to take place on the
March card. Semi-final and final bouts would then be held later in
the year at to-be-announced events.
The promotion will also hold two alternate bouts in case injury
sidelines competitors in the main draw. Potential contestants could
include “Challengers” series standouts Lavar
Cormier and Shane del
Regarded by many as the greatest heavyweight in the history of the
sport, Emelianenko was shocked by Werdum, a heavy underdog, in
June, losing for the first time in a decade. Though the sambo
specialist floored the Brazilian early in the first period, his
follow-up was a bit too aggressive. As Emelianenko attempted to
finish the fight with his trademark ground-and-pound, the savvy
jiu-jitsu black belt avoided the blows and caught the Russian in a
textbook triangle choke. Emelianenko holds notable victories over
Mirko Filopovic, Arlovski and Antonio
Rodrigo Nogueira (twice).
Silva is fresh off a come-from-behind win over King of the Cage
light heavyweight champion Mike Kyle on
Dec. 4 in St. Louis. Taking the fight on just five days' notice,
Kyle shocked spectators by landing a crisp right hand to the jaw of
the heavily-favored Brazilian, knocking him to the mat. Though the
American Kickboxing Academy product pounced with heavy punches
and hammer fists, the mammoth Silva would not give up. Round two
was all “Bigfoot,” as the former EliteXC
champion lived up to his moniker by dropping brutish blows on
Kyle's skull and forcing a referee stoppage.
Greg Savage contributed to this report.