Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix
Saturday, September 10 – 11:00 p.m. ET
U.S. Bank Arena – Cincinnati, Ohio
Josh Barnett (27-5-0) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (18-4-0)
Line: Barnett -275, Kharitonov +215
Headlining the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinal card on Saturday in Cincinnati is a throwdown between two elite fighters in Josh Barnett and Sergei Kharitonov. At 33, Barnett enters this matchup fighting perhaps the best he has in his career, having won six consecutive matches, three of which were by submission. Kharitonov is fighting well too, winning his past two fights, both by KO. But he lost by submission three times ago to Jeff Monson in the Welterweight Grand Prix 2009 opening round. Odds.
Play on the chalk BARNETT to come out victorious in this contest, who despite short odds is too talented of a fighter to play against here. Kharitonov has struggled with fighters like Barnett who come with a wrestling attack, as evidenced by his loss against Monson.
Barnett (27-5) comes with a pro wrestling style of attack that has allowed him to be victorious in all but two matches since the start of 2006. The Seattle native was a finalist in the 2006 Openweight Grand Prix and has been an elite fighter for a while despite controversy – he has tested positive for banned steroids multiple times. That doesn’t change the fact that he has beaten some of the best heavyweight fighters in the sport including UFC’s Randy Couture and Dan Severn. Scores.
Kharitonov (18-4) hails from Tula, Russia and fights with a background in sambo, boxing and unifight. His best shot at a win come fight time would be an early KO – he has won three of his past four matches via that route. At age 30, he has three years of youth on his opponent but Barnett’s experience may prove the difference if Kharitonov tries to be too aggressive early on. Las Vegas odds.