CINCINNATI -- Josh Barnett earned a berth in the finals of Strikeforce's Heavyweight Grand Prix with a first-round submission of Sergei Kharitonov on Saturday night.
The fight started with fireworks, as both fighters landed damaging jabs until Barnett took Kharitonov to the ground. He took full mount, and pressured Kharitonov with short elbows and hammer fists. Kharitonov tried to respond with strikes from the bottom and by rolling away, but Barnett continued to smother. In the final minute, he transitioned to an arm triangle, and Kharitonov had no choice but to tap at 4:28.
Now, Barnett will move on to face Daniel Cormier, who scored a massive upset over Antonio Silva tonight, in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finals. No date or location is set for that event. From there, the consequences of winning this tournament are less clear. Strikeforce's heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem signed with the UFC and will fight Brock Lesnar on Dec. 30. Strikeforce has not given many clear signals on what will happen next for the fighter who wins this once-prestigious tournament.
- Sergei Kharitonov
- Josh Barnett