There was a time when the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix tournament was going to take the mixed martial arts (MMA) world by storm. The smaller San Jose based promotion had managed to assemble eight heavyweights with legitimate credibility (for the most part) that rivaled that of Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) 265-pound weight class.
But, like most things in life, nothing ever goes the way you plan it.
Indeed, Fedor Emelianenko was bounced in the first round while Alistair Overeem was released and ran off to the greener pastures of UFC. The two biggest names in the bracket failed out, albeit in differing ways, leading many an MMA fan to simply write off the grand prix as a failed experiment by a promotion in over its head.
The good news in all this is it finally, mercifully, comes to an end tonight (Sat., May 19, 2012) with the Strikeforce: "Barnett vs. Cormier" event that takes place on Showtime from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, featuring Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier.
At the very least, it should go out with a bang.
That's because Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier are undoubtedly two of the most talented heavyweights in the division. The fact that they have yet to move over to the UFC is not a testament to their abilities so much as it's simply an issue of timing.
Gotta finish the business at hand, of course.
The match-up is intriguing on a few levels. Both are strong wrestlers with legitimate credentials in the grappling arts. "The Warmaster" is far better served once they start breaking out submissions but Cormier has shown he can hold his own standing and trading punches.
Just ask Antonio Silva and his gigantic noggin.
What this fight could really come down to is experience. Though Barnett is just one year older than his counterpart, he's just 36 professional fights under his belt to just nine for Cormier. That's a 27 fight gap for all you math wizards out there. Just think of how much a man can learn in that much time inside the cage.
You'll find out tonight.
Last chance for predictions, Maniacs. Who ya' got?