Fedor Emelianenko has finally agreed to his next Strikeforce fight. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Bigfoot Silva is signed for February 12 in Newark, NJ and will take place as part of a Strikeforce heavyweight tournament. The fight would seem to indicate that Fedor has signed a new contract with Strikeforce.
This will be Fedor’s first fight since he lost to Fabricio Werdum on June 26 at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum. Other heavyweights reportedly signed for the tournament are Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Brett Rogers, and Andrei Arlovski. Dave Meltzer reports that Alistair Overeem is also expected in the tournament with an announcement coming at some point.
[adinserter block=”2″]The news surprises me because the talk of the last few months is that Fedor and Strikeforce were at a contract impasse. It was reported in several places that Fedor was down to one fight on his Strikeforce deal which was obligated to be on pay per view. With no pay per view on the horizon, this put Scott Coker and M1 at an impasse. The fact that Fedor signed on for a tournament which would theoretically include multiple fights tells me that Fedor signed a new deal. Then again in Strikeforce the idea that Scott Coker would book Fedor in a tournament with one fight left on his deal really isn’t that unfathomable.
I love the idea of the heavyweight tournament. For one, it gives Strikeforce something different since the UFC doesn’t offer tournaments anymore. Two, the heavyweight division is such a mess that the getting a number one contender from the tournament is probably the best idea at this point. Three, the tournament can carry Strikeforce through 2011 and build interest to a huge finale whether it be the finals or the follow up heavyweight title match.
A few names surprise me in the reports. Alistair Overeem in the tournament makes zero sense to me. I don’t get why they would make their heavyweight champion enter a tournament. I’d think the idea would be to take the winner (or likely the loser, it is Strikeforce after all) and match him up against Overeem. On paper I think Overeem is the clear favorite here and a tournament win over three top heavyweights would really propel Overeem to new MMA heights in America.
The other entrant that surprises me is Josh Barnett. Barnett still hasn’t cleared up his suspended license in California. I can’t imagine him being allowed to fight in the United States through the tournament without his license resolved. I think any hopes of Josh Barnett actually competing in this thing while his license is still in limbo are wishful at best.
[adinserter block=”1″]Bigfoot Silva is a great opponent for Fedor for the opening round. On paper Silva should be Fedor’s easiest opponent. He was in trouble in fights with both Arlovski and Rogers, although he did win both fights. He obviously lost to Werdum. Overeem would probably be kept apart from Fedor until the finals. Josh Barnett would be a really intriguing fight, but again I am not counting on him. Fedor should dispose of Silva easy and reclaim some of that mystique he lost back in June.
At the same time Strikeforce has to be very cautious of dealing with Fedor and his management team in a tournament situation. Fedor and M1 signed their contract with Strikeforce over a year ago and it appeared that it was like pulling teeth every time Strikeforce tried to put a match together. Just because Fedor wins in the tournament doesn’t necessarily mean he will finish it.
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