It doesn't happen often.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) actually missed on the opportunity to match up two former high-profile Pride FC fighters, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Filipovic, just this past month at UFC 134: "Rio." Instead, we watched "Big Nog" dismantle Brendan Schaub, a young up-and-comer looking to make a name for himself with a win over a mixed martial arts (MMA) legend.
Fortunately, tonight we get a little taste of the good 'ole days when two familiar faces from the Japanese MMA heyday, Josh Barnett and Sergei Kharitonov, meet in the second round of the 2011 Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
It also happens to be a classic Cold War battle between USA vs. Russia.
Barnett and Kharitonov competed side-by-side in the "Land of the Rising Sun" for about three years, but never managed to trade leather. "Baby-faced Assassin" had to submit Brett Rogers and "Paratrooper" has to turn out Andrei Arlovski's lights in the opening round of tournament action -- four years Pride FC postmortem -- for this fight to finally come to fruition.
Both men are extremely dangerous (for different reasons) and very experienced. Barnett has the ability to submit the "Russian Mercenary," while Kharitonov can put him to sleep early if he touches his chin. With that being said, there isn't much mystery behind this match up.
Nostalgia, on the other hand, is potent. Take a big whiff and enjoy it while it lasts.