The second part of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Tournament is set for April 9 at a to-be-determined location, which might not necessarily be held in this country.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed the date to Josh Gross of ESPN.com this Thursday afternoon following the final news conference for this weekend’s Showtime-televised card at the HP Pavilion featuring the promotion’s welterweight and middleweight titles on the line with Lawler VS Jacare and Diaz VS Cyborg. The show will be headlined by Josh Barnett VS Brett Rogers and Alistair Overeem against Fabricio Werdum. The event is also expected to feature the return of Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.
With these former Pride, Dream, and K-1 mega stars competing, it seems like a cinch that this event could be held in Japan, something that Coker has been talking about recently. Sotaro Shinoda, a representative for Real Entertainment, the Japanese company that co-produced Pride events before partnering with FEG to form Dream in 2008, is expected to meet with Coker Thursday evening to discuss details about bringing the Showtime-televised card to Tokyo. The event will not be held at Saitama Super Arena, but will be held in a slightly smaller venue. The logistics of setting up a show in Japan starting now for a date in the beginning of April is not impossible, but it will be far from easy as well.
The eight-fighter tournament commences Feb. 12 in East Rutherford, N.J., when Fedor Emelianenko fights Antonio Silva, and Sergei Kharitonov faces Andrei Arlovski, as well as heavyweight reserve fights with Shane del Rosario facing Lavar Johnson, Chad Griggs VS Gian Villante, and Alistair Overeem’s older brother Valentijn taking on K-1 kickboxer Ray Sefo in Sefo’s third MMA fight ever. Featured on the prelims will be Igor Gracie VS John Salgado and Marc Stevens VS ROC champ John Cholish.
In other news, who wants to take a road-trip to Japan if this goes down?