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Josh Barnett Submits Brett Rogers, Advances in Strikeforce Tournament

Josh Barnett punches Brett Rogers during their fight at Overeem vs. Werdum.Josh Barnett, the former UFC heavyweight champion whose repeated failed steroid tests nearly derailed his career, finally returned to the cage in Dallas on Saturday night, making short work of Brett Rogers and advancing to the second round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

It was an impressive showing for Barnett, who showed why his version of catch wrestling is, when used effectively, one of the best fighting styles in the world. Barnett dominated Rogers on the ground and got him to tap to an arm triangle choke in the second round.

Rogers got things started with a leg kick, and Barnett immediately shot inside for a takedown. Showing impressive strength, Barnett picked Rogers up and slammed him to the ground, ending up in side control and eventually transitioning to full mount. Rogers looked like a fish out of water on the ground, and Barnett looked like he was right inside his own comfort zone. Rogers survived the round without taking too much punishment, and by the end of the round the fans were booing Barnett for failing to do much damage, but it was definitely Barnett's round.

At the start of the second Barnett landed one punch, grabbed hold of Rogers and threw him right back onto the ground again, with Barnett landing in full mount. Once Barnett sunk in the choke, Rogers tapped quickly, clearly not knowing how to get out of it. Rogers has talent and hits hard, but he needs to start training with partners who can teach him how to fight on the ground.

Now Barnett is scheduled to take on Sergei Kharitonov in the second round of the heavyweight tournament. Based on Saturday night's performance, Barnett has to be considered the favorite in that fight. The victory was the 30th in Barnett's MMA career, and one that showed he still has some fight left in him.