Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem is set to resume his Strikeforce career more than two years after winning the title, as he’s likely to fight Brett Rogers at the promotion’s May 15 Showtime-televised event in St. Louis.
Overeem today announced the likely matchup with Rogers, but has two additional bouts planned before making his anticipated return, as he’ll likely fight on March 22 at DREAM 13 against an opponent to-be-determined, with Josh Barnett and Neil Grove rumored as possibilities, and is also expected to fight at Glory 12 on April 24 in Bosnia.
“”It’s been too long. … This year, I want to fight in MMA,” Overeem commented to MMAjunkie. “[Rogers] is an excellent opponent. I’m looking forward to [smacking] his face and his loud mouth. … I don’t think it’s going to be for the title because [Brett] lost to Fedor. He’s coming off a loss, so I don’t think they’re going to put it for the title, but it’s up to the promotion.”
A PRIDE veteran and K-1 kickboxer, Overeem (32-11) won the title with a November 2007 win over Paul Buentello, and has since reeled off seven-straight first-round stoppages while overseas, including a first-round KO of Kazuyuki Fujita in his most-recent fight in December at Dynamite!! 2009.
Rogers (10-1), a former EliteXC contender, scored a 22-second knockout of Andrei Arlovski last June to improve to 10-0, but suffered his first loss with a second-round TKO to top-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko in November.
While Rogers is a welcome opponent for Overeem, many are wondering why Overeem isn’t fighting Fedor instead. Rumors continue to point to issues between Emelianenko and Strikeforce, including recently reported attempts to re-negotiate his contract, and Overeem commented to MMAjunkie that Fedor didn’t want the fight and may be trying to leave the promotion.
Strikeforce’s May 15 event has yet to be officially announced, but is also expected to feature Andrei Arlovski vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Pictured: Alistair Overeem