I have wanted to see a Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir fight since UFC 36 back in March of 2002. In the main event, Barnett defeated Randy Couture to become the youngest heavyweight champion in UFC history. Meanwhile, on the preliminary card, Mir submitted Pete Williams with a vicious shoulder lock at 0:46 in the first round, and thus a new star was born! Eleven years, five months, and 10 days later (that’s right, I counted…I told you I was excited!), it will happen at UFC 164 on August 31st, which is my birthday!
Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final: Barnett vs. Cormier Results (coverage I provided for gerweck.net)
HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA
– Showtime Extreme Prelims
Bobby Green defeated James Terry via split decision (29-28 across the board)
Quinn Mulhern defeated Yuri Villefort via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Gian Villante defeated Derrick Mehmen via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Guto Inocente defeated Virgil Zwicker via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Isaac Vallie-Flagg defeated Gesias Cavalcante via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
– Main Card
Chris Spang defeated Nah-Shon Burrell via KO @ 1:35 of the 1st Round: Burrell pushed the pace with strikes until Spang dropped Burrell with a left hook. Burrell got up as Spang rushed in and tied up Burrell with a thai clinch and landed several knees to the head of Burrell until he was dropped once more and referee Josh Rosenthal stepped in to stop the fight.
Josh Barnett (31-5) vs. Daniel Cormier (9-0) (column I wrote for gerweck.net)
The tournament is an alluring beast that captures our imagination because it provides a sense of finality as to who is the best. The two fighters who remain have traveled down different avenues to reach the Strikeforce World Grand Prix’s finals. Barnett submitted Bret Rogers and Sergi Kharitonov by arm triangle, while Cormier was an alternate who replaced Alistair Overeem. He dominated the much larger Antonio Silva with fast and accurate punches en route to a 1st round knockout. Fun fact: both obtained their first big win in their ninth professional fight, with Cormier beating Silva and Barnett defeating Dan Severn.
The former King of Pancrase and UFC heavyweight champion will be the toughest and most experienced opponent in Cormier’s career. Barnett is super durable and is not afraid to take a punch to clinch and tie-up Cormier to set up the takedown. On the ground, Barnett is an assassin with considerable skill who craves making people submit with his catch wrestling appliance use even though he is effective with the ground and pound option. This is the third time Barnett has made it to the finals of a tournament as he won the Superbrawl 13 honors and lost to Mirko Cro Cop in the finals of the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix in 2006.