Josh Barnett to Face Austrian Heavyweight Nandor Guelmino at Strikeforce ‘Champions’


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Strikeforce heavyweight Josh Barnett will get one more fight inside the hexagonal cage before the promotion closes up shop in 2013.

The 35-year-old Washington native is set to square off against Austrian newcomer Nandor Guelmino as part of Strikeforce “Champions,” Sherdog.com confirmed Thursday with a source close to the bout. The matchup was first reported by MMAJunkie.com.

Strikeforce’s swan song takes place Jan. 12 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City and will also feature Barnett’s most recent opponent, unbeaten wrestler Daniel Cormier, going up against Dutchman Dion Staring.

Barnett dropped a five-round unanimous decision to Cormier in May’s Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix final, snapping an eight-fight, four-year unbeaten streak in the process. Since the dissolution of Pride FC in 2008, Barnett has competed for several organizations -- including the short-lived Affliction and Japan’s Dream and Sengoku promotions -- earning victories over such fellow veterans as Pedro Rizzo, Jeff Monson and Sergei Kharitonov.

With Strikeforce’s run coming to a end, it remains unknown whether Barnett will be welcomed back to the UFC, where he has not competed since 2002, when he was stripped of his heavyweight title after testing positive for banned substances. Barnett tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2009 prior to a scheduled bout with Fedor Emelianenko in Anaheim, Calif., but in March was granted a license to compete against Cormier by the California State Athletic Commission.

Barnett’s opponent, 36-year-old Guelmino, will make his Strikeforce debut on the heels of a seven-fight winning streak. The taekwondo practitioner racked up three wins in 2012, most recently topping Bulgarian standout Emil Zahariev in an Oct. 21 unanimous decision.

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