Strikeforce Grand Prix Semifinals: The Figure Four Online MMA Staff Picks



Strikeforce: Barnett vs. KharitonovCompiled by Jumpin' Josh Nason

The long-awaited, much-anticipated and super-hyped Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals have finally arrived, airing Saturday at 10:30 pm EST on Showtime.

Sarcasm aside, this looks to be a really fun five-fight card (with some nice prelims) with competitive bouts throughout.

Here are the weigh-ins in case you missed them.

Our blue ribbon panel of Figure Four Online MMA megastars have made their selections for the main card.

A refresher on our panel:

- Oliver Copp and Mike Sawyer: Tough Talk | Site

- Mike Sempervive: Wrestling Observer Live, Big Audio Nightmare

- Todd Martin: weekly FFD guest, WWE RAW recapper, etc.

- Bryan Alvarez: co-owner of this very site, the best man in the wedding of MINOWAMAN and the leader of The Empire~!

- Yours truly: bi-weekly guest on FFD and FIGHT! Magazine scribe

Mike Coughlin didn't submit picks and is rumored to be with Nick Diaz at Cesar Gracie's place.

Grand Prix Semifinal: Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov


The 33-year-old Barnett (30-5) goes for his eighth straight win and a place in the Grand Prix finals, while Kharitonov (18-4) will continue to represent Golden Glory and extend a two-fight winning streak.

Barnett: Sawyer, Martin, Copp, Sempervive, Nason, Alvarez

A clean sweep for Barnett. The real question here is whether his mike work will remain strong post-fight or go the way of Kevin Nash.

Grand Prix Semifinal: Daniel Cormier vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva

An injury fill-in for Alistair Overeem and a 2004 U.S. Olympic wrestler, the undefeated Cormier (8-0) gets his biggest opportunity to date. After finishes in his first six fights, Cormier has gone the distance in his last two. Silva (16-2) is on a three-fight win streak and was last seen beating up Fedor Emelianenko in February.

Cormier: Martin, Sempervive
Silva: Sawyer, Copp, Nason, Alvarez

Todd and Semp believe in the U.S.A. while the Tough Talk crew, B.A. and yours truly love a good Brazilian wax.

Middleweight Champion Jacare Souza vs. Luke Rockhold

A win will give Souza (14-2-0-1) his second successful title defense and extend a five-fight unbeaten streak. Despite winning all six of his Strikeforce battles, Rockhold (7-1) hasn't fought since February 2010 but somehow is still getting a title shot  under The Vitor Belfort Act Of 2011. Nice division!

Souza: Sawyer, Martin, Copp, Sempervive, Nason, Alvarez

A clean sweep, but that's to be expected when the champ is facing a guy that hasn't fought in over 16 months.

King Mo Lawal vs. Roger Gracie

Former FFD guest King Mo (7-1) returns to action after recovering from a knee injury. His last action was losing his 205-pound title to Rafael Cavalcante more than a year ago. The 29-year-old Gracie carries his family legacy into the cage and is undefeated (4-0) in his young MMA career.

Lawal: Martin, Sempervive, Nason
Gracie: Sawyer, Copp, Alvarez

Another close one with Todd, Semp and I thinking the former champ will return to glory with the Tough Talk guys and THE CO-OWNER believing in the jitz.

Maximo Blanco vs. Pat Healy


Blanco is maxing his Strikeforce debut after a long run in World Victory Road. A former Lightweight King Of Pancrase champ, the 8-2-0-1 Venezuelan is on a six-fight win streak. He faces Healy, an injury sub for Josh Thomson. A fixture on the Challengers circuit, Healy (25-16) has two straight and five of his last six.

Blanco: Sawyer, Copp, Sempervive, Nason
Healy: Martin, Alvarez

Will the leader of the Todd Squad (and boy wonder Bryan) make the rest of us look like fools?

What are your picks? Keep track of all the action here on Saturday with our play-by-play coverage.