Dave Meltzer writing today in his Wrestling Observer, said:
Emelianenko at this stage of his career is probably best served to move down to 205 pounds, and train at a more modern MMA camp. What he has done up to this point has served him well, but like with Royce Gracie in the early days, and Frank Shamrock and Kazushi Sakuraba in the intermediate days, the competition has caught up. Where Randy Couture was the exception is Couture maintained his edge by training with high caliber hungry young fighters and kept his training methods at the cutting edge, plus he was also blessed with unique traits that 99% of the fighters aren’t going to have, whether it’s being a late bloomer of luck in avoiding injuries or whatever it is that allows him to do what virtually no other fighter has been able to do.
But that’s unlikely to happen. Now that he’s set a drawing record, Showtime is going to want to make sure to bring him back, even if the cost is high. And a match with the Werdum vs. Overeem loser on the same show as the two semifinals, or even on a different show, is viable. We’ve seen time-after-time that when insiders write people off after a bad performance, the public doesn’t think that way. If you’re a star, you get a whole lot of losses before your drawing power goes down, and in this instance, Fedor’s went way up after his first loss.
The other opening match of the Strikeforce Grand Prix saw Sergei Kharitonov knock out Andrei Arlovski in 2:49. This fight went almost exactly as expected. Arlovski moved well, looked good, and then got hit and it was over. Unlike Emelianenko, who had his right eye bashed in and closed shut, couldn’t see and would have come out for the third round, Arlovski has his lights put out again, the third time in his last four fights, and it was his fourth loss in a row. At 32, he’s done.
It’s very much like Chuck Liddell, although younger. He can get in great shape. He can sharpen his skill set. He can look good in a fight until he gets caught. But any good puncher who can land is going to beat him. He was still, easily, the second most popular fighter in the tournament since all eight were brought out at the beginning of the event.
Silva will face the Overeem vs. Werdum winner while Kharitonov faces the Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers winner. For the record, Dana White is predicting Barnett, who he hates, to run the table. He believes Werdum will catch Overeem on the ground, but Barnett, who has never been submitted, will be strong enough to avoid Werdum’s strength. Certainly Overeem vs. Werdum is your classic match dependent upon whether or not Werdum can get it to the ground. Rogers has a good punch, but unless Barnett has slipped a lot, and we don’t know because it’s been years since Barnett was in with elite competition, he has to be the favorite.
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