Josh Barnett looked impressive against Brett Rogers but it's Alistair Overeem who will take over the top spot in the SportsRatings MMA Heavyweight ratings.
Overeem beats Werdum, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27
Overeem defeated current HW #1 Fabricio Werdum in an awkward bout, as Werdum tried desperately to get the action to the ground while Overeem didn't fall for the ploy that fooled Fedor. Werdum was nearly as effective in striking as Overeem, too, which made the Strikeforce champ look less than dominant as he advanced to the second round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix in a unanimous decision.
The stand-up battle was tepid as both fighters refused to commit to an all-out slugfest: Werdum because he was just using strikes as an entry for the takedown, and Overeem because he didn't want to overcommit and get taken down. The result was a comedy as Werdum fell from the slightest punches, hoping Overeem would follow, only to be invited back to his feet.
Werdum eventually had some opportunities on the ground but by then he was too tired to do much, and Overeem wasn't trying any offense as he rested in Werdum's guard. It was somewhat reminiscent of the Sharmrock-Gracie superfight from 1995 during those moments, while the rest was somewhat like Damian Maia vs. Anderson Silva. The crowd wasn't appreciative at all, but that doesn't say much as the crowd booed the ground action in Barnett vs. Rogers.
We scored the bout 29-28 for Overeem, giving Werdum the final round where he actually won the standup. But Overeem will take over Werdum's spot at #1 in the Heavyweight rankings next month, and #3 in the pound for pound. Overeem advances to take on Antonio Silva, another BJJ expert who is much bigger and stronger than Werdum, and who showed good standup skills against Fedor.
Barnett submits Rogers in 2nd round
Josh Barnett didn't look as buff but his skills were unchanged as he wrestled Brett Rogers into submission in the 2nd round. Barnett slammed Rogers to the mat in the first round and kept his weight on him for four minutes, then in the 2nd round a tired Rogers tapped from an arm triangle choke.
Barnett looked very good as he controlled the action against Rogers, a big strong fighter if no real grappler. Rogers just didn't have the ground game to compete, and he was definitely tentative in standup, hoping to avoid the takedown. Which was futile, of course.
Barnett will face Sergei Kharitonov, the #15 heavyweight, in round two. Between Silva and Barnett/Kharitonov, Overeem faces a pretty rough road to winning the tournament, even with Fedor out!