Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently made some interesting remarks about the future of his company’s heavyweight division. He declared that “all of these guys are going to fight each other in 2011” and that Strikeforce isn’t “going to hold anything back.”
What makes these comments notable is the California-based fight promotion’s utter failure to adequately promote their heavyweights over the past few years. According to Coker, that is all about to change. Whether he’s intentionally bullshitting or spewing wishful thinking in public remains to be seen, but for a moment let’s take him at his word. If Strikeforce’s impressive roster of heavyweights will indeed be more active in 2011, how exactly do we match them up?
F*ck if I know, but I’ll toss out some suggestions after the jump.
The big question is what to do with the fighters at the top. Alistair Overeem is the current champion, having defended his belt a total of one time in roughly three years. He has a previous lost to Fabricio Werdum, who also just beat Fedor, the man considered the heavyweight kingpin for the majority of the past decade.
While Fedor’s management seems to be angling for either an immeditate rematch with Werdum or a title fight with Overeem, I say nay. No matter what business Strikeforce thinks they’ll do in the short-term by putting Fedor in one of those fights, the company needs to think long term and establish some legitimacy for their heavyweight belt. That means making the title fight that makes the most sense: Overeem vs. Werdum. Werdum just beat the number one guy on the planet and has a previous win over Overeem. This one’s a no brainer.
As for Fedor, match him up with Coker’s most recent signee, Josh Barnett. The two were supposed to headline the final Affliction show and fans have wanted to see them clash for years, so put them together in a de facto title eliminator. Hell, might as well put it on the same card as Overeem v. Werdum and put that shit on CBS to revitalize interest in the Strikeforce heavyweights over the course of a single show.
Now on to those at the middle of the pack. Bigfoot Silva just scored arguably the biggest win of his career by outpointing former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski. Despite that, he still needs another win or two before he’s a legitimate title contender. Since his rumored match-up with Valentijn Overeem, Alistair’s brother, seems to be off, a match-up with another recent Strikeforce acquisition in Sergei Kharitinov makes sense. Kharitinov is a tough-yet-beatable opponent for Bigfoot, and the winner of the fight would find themselves in prime position for an evern higher profile fight later in the year.
As for the bottom of the pack, a fight between Brett Rogers and Shane Del Rosario makes sense, as Rogers was the up-and-coming dominant prospect a short time ago, a role which Del Rosario now occupies. Why not have the two face off in a fight that could be Del Rosario’s coming out party, or instead Roger’s return to the top of the heap?
Other than that, I like Arlovski versus Bobby Lashley. With Arlovski’s current three-fight losing streak, his value as a high profile fighter has significantly diminished. The same can be said for Lashley after his poor performance and subsequent loss to journeyman Chad Griggs a few months back. Instead of putting either man in a “tune-up fight,” where they could potentially suffer a loss to a no-name opponent, it makes sense to put them against one another. In that case, at least one of them will still have some name value going forward, especially in light of each man’s probably high price tag.
Agree? Disagree? Have something terrible to say about me? Let me know in the comments.