The second step of Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix will be delayed until early summer, according to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, in order to capitalize properly on the success of its first event.
“The overwhelming success in New Jersey set the bar high,” Coker told MMAjunkie.com. “With a record pre-sale for Strikeforce tickets and a record viewership on Showtime, we’ve now given ourselves the proper amount of time to promote in one of the country’s biggest markets.” The Feb. 12 telecast from New Jersey’s IZOD center averaged 741,000 viewers and peaked with 1.1 million viewers for a headlining bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Silva.
For some time, rumors swirled about the location of the next event, despite a date of April 9 being set. Coker has now pushed back the date and is looking to hold the second quarterfinal event on June 18 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The event features two tournament bouts: Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem looking to exact revenge on Fabricio Werdum (in a non-title affair) and Josh Barnett taking on Brett Rogers.
The April 9 event, which will be held at the Valley View Casino Center In San Diego, California, will now features two title fights: welterweight champ Nick Diaz defending his title against Paul Daley (who fought this past weekend in what was supposed to be a title fight but was unable to make weight), and lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez defending his belt against Tatsuya Kawajiri. The card will also feature a match between current DREAM Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi against Mike Kyle.
Rumor has it that Shinya Aoki and Hiroyuki Takaya will also compete on this card, and it will be broadcast to Japan at a later time.