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Alistair Overeem Dismantles Brett Rogers, Wants Fedor Emelianenko Next

ST. LOUIS – Going off numbers alone, it seemed as if Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem was finally picking on someone his own size. But while challenger Brett Rogers might have been bigger than the Dutchman, he was no match for the champ's strength and power at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery on Saturday night.

After trading strikes in the opening moments of the bout, Overeem flung the larger Rogers to the mat with little apparent effort and then quickly moved into a dominant position to finish the fight at 3:40 of round one with a barrage of punches from the top, successfully defending his title for the first time since winning it in 2007.

"I'm happy to be fighting for Strikeforce again," Overeem said in the post-fight press conference. "It's been too long. I think it's a hell of a comeback. ...You definitely won't have to wait that long again. I said in 2009, I'm hoping to make Strikeforce my priority [this year]."

But just moments after the dominant victory, the champion's thoughts had already turned the man he hopes to face next – Fedor Emelianenko.

"His management declined to fight me tonight," Overeem said. "Respect for Brett. He stood up and wanted to fight me like a man. I think it's Fedor's turn."

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker noted that the organization would wait to see how Emelianenko's bout against Fabricio Werdum plays out on June 26, saying, "Obviously we'll have to wait and see what happens, but I know Alistair has told me many times he'd like to fight Fedor."

Overeem, who put on around 30 pounds of muscle since his last Strikeforce fight, also insisted he wasn't distracted by the talk of steroid accusations that have swirled around him in recent months.

"I knew it was a matter of time before I fought here and I would do the drug testing just like anyone else. Then all the critics would be silenced."

In other action, heavyweight Antonio Silva outmaneuvered and outboxed former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski to win a unanimous decision victory. Silva opted to stand and trade punches for much of the fight, which surprised many onlookers, but the strategy paid off as he bloodied Arlovski's face with several hard shots.

Afterwards a dejected Arlovski lamented his 11-month layoff from the sport, but insisted that his main focus would be on getting his career back on track.

"Right now I'm focused only on my MMA career," he said. "Three losses in a row and 15-8, it's horrible. I have to train harder, I guess."

Elsewhere on the card:

- Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza used an overwhelming grappling attack to win a unanimous decision over Joe Villasenor in middleweight action, notching his second Strikeforce victory in as many attempts.

- In the light heavyweight division, Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante knocked out Antwain Britt with a left hook-right uppercut combination at 3:45 of round one, vaulting himself into the 205-pound title picture with the impressive victory.

- Heavyweight Roger Gracie improved his MMA record to 3-0 by choking out Kevin Randleman in the second round after getting off to a somewhat slow start in the bout. Gracie dropped Randleman with a knee strike from the clinch and then used his world-class jiu-jitsu skills to finish the bout.

- Local favorite Jesse Finney got off to a fast start in front of his hometown crowd before ultimately finishing Justin DeMoney with a guillotine choke submission at 3:22 of round one.

- In a somewhat surprising ending, Lyle "Fancy Pants" Beerbohm was awarded a split decision victory over Vitor Ribeiro, with two of the three judges giving him every round despite the fact that he spent much of the fight simply trying to survive Ribeiro's many submission attempts.
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