The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament will conclude tonight with a showdown between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier. The event, which also features an undercard battle for the lightweight belt between current champion Gilbert Melendez and top challenger Josh Thompson, is scheduled for a 10:00pm ET start time at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California (Showtime). Strikeforce fight predictions have the main event clash listed as a pick’em. The latest Strikeforce Odds have Melendez listed as a -500 moneyline favorite (risk $500 to win $100) to retain his lightweight strap. Strikeforce odds: Josh Barnett -115 vs. Daniel Cormier -115, Gilbert Melendez -500 vs. Josh Thompson +350, Rafael Cavalcante -200 vs. Mike Kyle +160, Nah-Shon Burrell -270 vs. Chris Spang +210.
When the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament got underway last year it featured such names Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Antonio Silva, Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett, and Daniel Cormier. Now Barnett, a veteran of 36 professional fights, and Cormier are the only two left standing.
Barnett, who has won eight consecutive fights (with various promotions) coming into tonight’s scrap, defeated both Brett Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov via arm-triangle choke to earn a spot in the final. Cormier posted a unanimous decision win over Jeff Monson and a knock out victory against Antonio Silva to secure his place in this evening’s tournament finale.
Cormier, who earned a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team as a freestyle wrestler (did not compete due to a kidney problem), is 9-0 as a professional mixed martial artist. The American Kickboxing Academy product has proven himself adept on his feet and on the mat as seven of his nine wins have come by either submission or KO/TKO.
Barnett also possesses knock out power, having secured seven of his 31 career wins by knock out, but catch wrestling is his game (19 submission victories) and he will be looking to get Cormier on the mat tonight.
Strikeforce Fight Predictions: Take Barnett. Cormier is an excellent fighter and he will continue to make waves with an eventual move to the UFC; however, he has yet to face anyone of Barnett’s caliber. Barnett is the more seasoned fighter and there nothing Cormier will present to him tonight that he has not already experienced and overcome inside the cage.
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Pre-Fight: Barnett, Cormier, Melendez, Thomson: Reporting from San Jose where Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier will battle for the Strikeforce World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament, Heidi Androl and Showtime Sports interview both fighters, plus Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson.