It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem was supposed to be lacing up the gloves, preparing for his biggest test to date tonight, a marquee match up with the best heavyweight mixed martial artist in the history of the sport, Fedor Emelianenko. Instead, Antonio Silva and Daniel Cormier are set to hook 'em up in the 2011 Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals this evening at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
How on Earth did that happen?
"Bigfoot" upended the "Last Emperor" in the opening round, signaling that this would be no ordinary eight-man elimination. Overeem, despite defeating Fabricio Werdum in his bracket, would be released shortly thereafter because of an odd injury/contract issue combination.
Oh, what could have been.
Silva and Cormier are certainly no slouches. But they certainly do not carry the same cache as Emelianenko or Overeem, much less a long-awaited showdown between the dynamic duo.
Emelianenko ended up losing his next fight, a first round technical knockout to Dan Henderson, and was scuttled from the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion's roster shortly thereafter. He is now slated to fight muscle-bound, oversized light heavyweight Jeff Monson on an obscure M-1 card somewhere in Mother Russia.
Overeem, meanwhile, inked a new contract extension with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and agreed to fight its former heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, at UFC 141 at the year-end pay-per-view (PPV) event.
Ah, a silver lining, finally.
One that Silva and Cormier can make a little better this evening with a thrilling clash that makes us forget, just a little, about the dream fight for which most had initially hoped.