Today I'd like to break down the 2 semi-final matches for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva vs Daniel Cormier.
This is an interesting fight. Cormier is a small heavyweight and Silva is a giant of a man. Silva is coming off the destruction of Fedor. Cormier is coming in off a decision victory over Jeff Monson in which he showed improved striking skills to go along with his already impressive wrestling.
Now in this fight, Silva is favored. Silva's resume speaks for itself, especially with his complete destruction of Fedor. He has notable wins over Andre Arlovski, and Ricco Rodriguez. His only loss in the last 4 years was a decision loss to Fabricio Werdum. Plus going into this fight he will have a size and reach advantage over Cormier.
However, I believe Cormier has a legitimate shot in this fight. Cormier fights out of AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) and trains with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. Training with high caliber fighters is an advantage for Cormier I believe. Plus, I think Cormier has a chip on his shoulder for a couple of reasons. First, he wasn't considered for this tournament originally and secondly, he is trying to get respected as a top heavyweight in the world.
I'm going to make a bold prediction for this fight and say that Daniel Cormier springs the upset by way of unanimous decision.
Josh "The Warmaster" Barnett vs Sergei Kharitonov
This is a battle of 2 former Pride fighters, 2 grizzled veterans who have fought all over the globe with 57 fights between them. Stylistically this is a battle of contrasts. Kharitonov is a heavy handed striker with half of his wins coming via knockout. Barnett is a wily veteran who utilizes his ground game with over half his victories coming by way of submission.
The X factor in this fight is Barnett. He tested several times in his past for performance enhancing drugs and it's always a question if he'll show up clean or not. This fight in my opinion is Barnett's to lose in my opinion. His striking game is good, not as good as Karitonov's but good enough to get the job done. But his ground game is vicious. He utilizes nasty ground-and-pound to wear down his victims before sinking in a submission.
My prediction, in my opinion, this fight should be a one sided affair with Barnett grinding Kharitonov for a couple of rounds before finishing him via submission in the 3rd round.
I hope all the fighters are healthy and perform well on Saturday. I'm excited to see how the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix plays out.