State of the Strikeforce Heavyweights

The list of names in Strikeforce's heavyweight division is undeniably impressive: Former No. 1 fighter in the world Fedor Emelianenko. The man who beat him, Fabricio Werdum. Former UFC heavyweight champions Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett. Hot prospects Daniel Cormier and Shane del Rosario. And the champion, K-1 wrecking machine Alistair Overeem.

The biggest question facing Strikeforce is whether it can actually get all of those fighters -- and Antonio Silva and Brett Rogers and Lavar Johnson and so on -- into the cage, fighting each other. The heavyweight talent is there. The heavyweight fights came all too infrequently in 2010, and as we take a look below at the state of Strikeforce's heavyweight division, we offer some suggestions on what should happen in 2011.

The Champion: Alistair Overeem

Fights that will happen:
Antonio Silva vs. Valentijn Overeem, December 4: Bigfoot should have an easy time beating the older (and lesser) brother of the champion.

Fights that should happen:
Fabricio Werdum vs. Alistair Overeem: The two fought at Pride Total Elimination Absolute in 2006, with Werdum getting Overeem to tap with a kimura in the second round. Overeem has improved a great deal since then, Werdum is coming off the biggest fight in his career, and the rematch should happen ASAP.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett: Give the fans the fight they missed out on when Barnett failed a drug test and Affliction went belly-up.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Lavar Johnson: Arlovski is on a three-fight losing streak and needs to take a step down in competition. Johnson is on a seven-fight winning streak and is ready for a step up. This fight would tell us a lot about where these two guys stand in the heavyweight division, and it's guaranteed to be exciting.

Shane del Rosario vs. Daniel Cormier: What better way to shape the future of Strikeforce's heavyweight division than to let the top two prospects determine in the cage which one is the best? Del Rosario is 10-0, Cormier is 6-0 and no one has ever even made it into the third round with either one of them.

Others in the mix:
It's not clear whether Bobby Lashley will ever return to the Strikeforce cage, but if he does, Strikeforce has talked about throwing him in with another former WWE wrestler, Dave Bautista. I'm not particularly interested in that, but I am interested in a rematch between Lashley and Chad Griggs, the man who defeated him after benefiting from the referee's very questionable decision to stand the fighters up while Lashley had full mount. I'd like to see Lashley-Griggs, preferably with a better referee next time.

Potential breakout fighter:
I believe del Rosario is underrated by MMA fans generally and under-appreciated by Strikeforce. If del Rosario gets some big fights in 2011, he's going to surprise people.

Predicted Strikeforce heavyweight champion at end of 2011: Fabricio Werdum

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