Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem made his anticipated return on Saturday in the main event of “Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery,” dominating challenger Brett Rogers before scoring a first-round knockout to successfully defend the title for the first time since winning it two-and-a-half years ago.
Overeem stayed standing with the heavy-handed Rogers early on, but took to the fight to the ground on his first opportunity, tossing Rogers to the canvas before following him into side control. After grinding away on Rogers and snubbing an escape, Overeem postured up and teed off with punches, eventually earning the referee stoppage 3:40 into the opening round.
Following the win, Overeem, now 33-11, called out top-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, and a matchup between the pair looms provided Emelianenko gets past fellow contender Fabricio Werdum next month. Rogers drops to 10-2 with the loss and has now dropped two-straight.
In the “Heavy Artillery” co-headliner at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva remained in the heavyweight title hunt by handing Andrei Arlovski his third-straight defeat, outpointing him in their standup exchanges while neutralizing him in frequent clinches to earn a unanimous decision victory.
Also on the Showtime-televised main card, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza topped Joey Villasenor by unanimous decision, Roger Gracie submitted Kevin Randleman with a second-round rear naked choke, and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante scored a first-round KO of Antwain Britt.
In a notable preliminary bout, Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm remain undefeated by edging Strikeforce newcomer and decorated grappler Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro in a controversial split decision.
The official “Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery” results were:
- Champ Alistair Overeem def. Brett Rogers via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:40
Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship
- Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva def. Andrei Arlovski via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza def. Joey Villasenor via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Roger Gracie def. Kevin Randleman via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 2, 4:10
- Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante def. Antwain Britt via KO (punches) – Round 1, 3:45
- Jesse Finney def. Justin DeMoney via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 3:22
- Lyle Beerbohm def. Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
- Darryl Cobb def. Booker DeRousse via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Mike Chandler def. Sal Woods via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 0:59.
- Fransisco “Kiko” France def. Lee Brousseau via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 1:27
- Tom Aaron def. Erik Steenberg via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 0:56
- Matt Ricehouse def. Greg Wilson via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 3, 0:45
Pictured: Alistair Overeem