It only took two and a half years, but it looks as if Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem will finally put his strap on the line when he faces longtime nemesis Brett Rogers at Strikeforce: "Heavy Artillery" from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday, May 15
MMAmania.com learned of the official decision earlier today, putting an end to the speculation of whether or not "Demolition Man" would defend his belt or save it for the winner of a planned Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum bout tentatively scheduled for June.
Overeem (32-11) was expected to return in 2009 until he suffered a hand injury from beating up rent-a-cops in Holland, effectively keeping himself from two of last year's summer events.
During his absence, Rogers (10-1) floored one Russian and got knocked out by another.
But that didn't keep him from calling out Overeem for his extended absence. While the pillar of Golden Glory racked up a 7-0-1 MMA record against lesser competition overseas, "The Grim" felt like his new and improved physique was to blame for his failure to appear stateside.
If you're a title holder, I'm sorry man but you should be fighting at least a couple of times a year. No excuses. If you can't get the job done then give it up. One, I say he's ducking me. He knows I'm gonna get him. I could care less who he is. Two, I don't think he can fight in the states right now. I don't think you can get that big in such a small amount of time. I don't know, who knows."
Of course Overeem wasn't going to just sit idly by while the former tire mechanic dragged his name through mud.
"I will not comment on [Brett Rogers], I am very busy with K-1 right now, with all the fight I have there. When there will be time to meet in the ring he will see. For now, I will not comment. I am very busy these days, I have a fight in Glory, then in DREAM.12 and after that I’ll fight in the K-1 Finals so I am very busy with training and fighting and I don’t have time for this bullshit."
It's going to be interesting to see what happens when these two mammoth strikers finally collide at the May 15 Showtime event in a bout that is scheduled for five rounds -- but may not make it past the first.
Strikeforce: "Heavy Artillery" will feature several of the promotion’s other top fighters as well, including a heavyweight scrap between former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski and hard-hitting Brazilian Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.
Fast-rising lightweight prospect Lyle "Fancy Pants" Beerbohm is rumored to face Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro while Roger Gracie is expected to make his promotion debut opposite Kevin "The Monster" Randleman.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more updates on this still developing fight card.