Alistair Overeem. Photo by Jon Swenson. Used with permission.
ST. LOUIS – World Heavyweight Champion Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem (32-11) will make his highly anticipated return to action against heavy-handed knockout artist Brett “The Grim” Rogers (10-1) in the main event of a STRIKEFORCE mixed martial arts (MMA) extravaganza at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday, May 15.
In another heavyweight confrontation, Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (15-7) will clash with Antonio “Big Foot” Silva (13-2).
Since being crowned the first heavyweight champion in STRIKEFORCE history after he caved in Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello with a series of knee strikes in the second round (3:42) at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Nov. 16, 2007, the 29-year-old Overeem, of The Netherlands, has been demolishing foes, finishing seven of eight opponents inside of one round.
The only bout that did not finish in this fashion was a matchup on Sept. 23, 2008 with MMA legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic that was declared a no contest after the 6-foot-5 inch, 260-pound Overeem accidentally struck his opponent with a knee to the groin.
Rogers, a resident of Minneapolis, Minn., who also stands 6-feet-5, and weighs 265 pounds, will attempt to return to his winning ways after an admirable effort against the No. 1 heavyweight in the world – Fedor Emelianenko—in the main event on The CBS television Network on Nov. 7, 2009, from Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. on Nov. 7, 2009. The dangerous-hitting Rogers had Emelianenko in trouble in the early going, opening a cut around the eye and putting continuous pressure on the heavily favored Russian.
Emelianenko, who has met and defeated nearly every great heavyweight rival of this era, turned the tides on the American in the second round, putting Rogers on the canvas with a series of punches to earn a TKO at the 1:48 mark of the round. Prior to the exciting matchup, Rogers had earned his most impressive victory to date by crushing Arlovski in just 22 seconds with an onslaught of heavy punches at Scottrade Center on June 6, 2009.
The 31-year-old Arlovski’s start will be his first since an upset defeat to Rogers. A former UFC heavyweight champion, Arlovski had won five-in-a-row in the UFC before suffering back-to-back losses to Emelianenko and Rogers. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound native of Minsk, Belarus, Arlovski captured the UFC belt on Feb. 5, 2005 by submitting (Achilles lock) Tim Sylvia in 47 seconds.
Also a former world heavyweight champion, the 6-foot-4 inch, 260-pound Silva, of Brazil, initiated a six-fight winning streak with a first round (3:49) TKO (strikes) over dangerous brawler Wesley “Cabbage” Correira in Southaven, Mississippi on Feb. 10, 2007. Silva is unbeaten (4-0) in competition in Japan, winning two fights in K-1 and a pair of bouts in Sengoku.
Shamrock Promotions will assist STRIKEFORCE with local marketing for the event on May 15.
Doors at Scottrade Center will open for STRIKEFORCE St. Louis: Heavy Artillery at 6:15 p.m. CT on Saturday, May 15. The first non-televised preliminary bout will begin at 7 p.m.
The event will be televised live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).