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Remaining Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal Bouts Delayed? (Update)

Oh boy, here we go. There were questions from the very beginning about Strikeforce’s ability to pull off their highly ambitious heavyweight grand prix. A million things could go wrong, and word is the first problem has already surfaced. The remaining quarterfinal bouts — Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers — were scheduled for April 9, but the location was never set. Apparently they never found one either, because according to this latest Sherdog report, they’ve settled on California for the April card and the GP bouts likely won’t be on it, presumably due to Josh Barnett’s licensing issues in the state.

Sherdog.com learned today via sources close to the promotion that Strikeforce is planning to run its previously scheduled April date in California, and that the two remaining quarterfinal bouts will most likely be pushed off the card.

A fight between Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and Japanese slugger Tatsuya Kawajiri is expected to comprise one of the top two spots on the bill, while welterweight champion Nick Diaz is expected to fill the other slot against a yet-to-be-named opponent.

This might not be entirely accurate though. ESPN’s Josh Gross is hearing that Strikeforce will run the April 9 event in either Houston or St. Louis, presumably with the GP bouts on the card.

Sherdog cites unnamed sources that Strikeforce’s 2nd leg of HW GP not on April 9 card. Counters what I heard today re: St. Louis or Houston.

I’m not sure what to believe. Coker won’t get back to me. People on his staff say they have no idea what he has planned.

I tell you what, if this tournament takes a hit from Barnett’s excess baggage, Strikeforce only has themselves to blame. Putting him in the grand prix made sense from a competitive standpoint, but he was never necessary to make it a success.

Image via Esther Lin for Strikeforce/Showtime

Update: This is more of a side not, but Sergei Kharitonov says he plans to fight 2-3 times before he fights in the semi-finals. From ValeTudo.ru via LowKick.com.

Until the GP Semi-Finals I’ll definitely have 2-3 fights. I want to keep myself in a good shape. You can always train hard, but without competing it will only have a negative effect during the fight. I had four fights during the recent months. I’m always in shape, and always ready to fight, both physically and mentally. So I think in this case more is better. And I would advise the same thing to Fedor Emelianenko. He needs more fights to get back on top.

Hope he doesn’t get injured.

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