By: Jesse Holland
There were more than a few eyebrows raised after the official line up was recently announced for the upcoming K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final 16 — primarily because one of its participants was Alistair Overeem, current Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion.
“Demolition Man” was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Fabricio Werdum at the August 15 “Carano vs. Cyborg” event in San Jose after re-aggravating a previous hand injury .
It was that same injury that booted him from the promotion’s June 6 card in St. Louis, where Andrei Arlovski (on loan from Affliction) stepped in to take his place to get creamed by Brett Rogers at 0:22 of the first round.
In light of the recent acquisition of famed heavyweight star Fedor Emelianenko, fans were beginning to get restless with no clear timetable for Overeem’s return, even calling for an interim title in his absence, much like they did for the middleweight strap when 185-pound champ Cung Le went Hollywood.
The Dutch striker has yet to defend his heavyweight crown after capturing it with a second round submission win over Paul Buentello way back in 2007. Overeem has since been employed in Japan, racking up a 3-0 record in MMA (1 NC) and a 1-1 record under the K-1 banner during that span.
Now he will return to K-1 to battle aging “Dutch Lumberjack” Peter Aerts on September 26 in Seoul, Korea.
When contacted by MMAmania.com (www.MMAmania.com ), Strikeforce officials were happy to report that Overeem’s injuries have finally healed and that he will compete in the upcoming kickboxing bout as part of his existing contract with K-1.
Following that bout, as well as a planned fight for Golden Glory, Overeem is expected to return to Strikeforce to defend his title.
And with Brett Rogers, Fabricio Werdum and Fedor Emelianenko all gunning for first dibs, don’t expect him to receive a very warm welcome.