Strikeforce is headed to Cincinnati.
Multiple sources have confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) that Strikeforce's Sept. 10 event, which features the semifinal round of the organization's heavyweight grand prix, is set for U.S. Bank Arena in the Queen City.
It's the first-ever Strikeforce event in Cincinnati and the second in Ohio, which also hosted "Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson" back in March.
The Sept. 10 event's main card airs on Showtime.
According to sources, Strikeforce officials recently locked in the event's location with the Ohio Athletic Commission. Ohio regulates more shows per year than any other state commission.
In addition to the grand prix semifinals, the Sept. 10 event features a middleweight title fight between champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (14-2 MMA, 4-0 SF) and Luke Rockhold (7-1 MMA, 6-0 SF). Other confirmed bouts include light heavyweights Roger Gracie (4-0 MMA, 2-0 SF) vs. Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal (7-1 MMA, 2-1 SF) and lightweights Maximo Blanco (8-2 MMA, 0-0 SF) vs. Josh Thomson (18-4 MMA, 9-2 SF).
However, the featured attraction is the grand prix's final four. However, as MMAjunkie.com reported this past week, current heavyweight champ and tournament favorite Alistair Overeem (35-11 MMA, 3-0 SF) was pulled from the semifinals for what UFC president Dana White cited as a broken toe. However, the withdrawal also comes as Overeem, who has one fight remaining on his existing contract, attempts to renegotiate a new deal with Strikeforce, which the UFC's parent company acquired earlier this year.
In his place steps undefeated Daniel Cormier (8-0 MMA, 5-0 SF), who now meets Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (16-2 MMA, 3-1 SF). In the other semifinal fight, Sergei Kharitonov (18-4 MMA, 1-0 SF) takes on Josh Barnett (30-5 MMA, 1-0 SF).
In addition to Overeem, the tournament lost its other highest-profile entrant when Silva upset Fedor Emelianenko in an opening-round matchup back in February.
Cincinnati hasn't hosted a major MMA show since 2007, when UFC 77 also took place at the 17,000-seat U.S. Bank Arena on the Cincinnati riverfront. Middleweight champ Anderson Silva defended his title with a second-round TKO of Rich Franklin in a rematch and the night's pay-per-view headliner.
In addition to Franklin, the Cincinnati area is home to fighting notables such as Roger Bowling and Jorge Gurgel, who also are under contract to Strikeforce (but currently booked for other shows).