As most people hypothesized when the bracket was released some 10 months ago, Josh Barnett advanced to the Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix final on Saturday night.
Barnett, a former UFC heavyweight champion and three-time positive tester for performance-enhancing drugs, systematically beat Sergei Kharitonov by submission with 32 seconds left in the first round.
Kharitonov is a solid striker with little wrestling skills. "I think he hit me and gave me a Cro Magnum forehead," Barnett said about some of the early shots he took from Kharitonov.
Barnett is a catch wrestler and has an extremely solid ground game. Not a good mix for Kharitonov once Barnett took him down. Once the takedown occured, it was just a matter of time for Barnett. He worked some ground and pound, eventually got Kharitonov's back, flattened him out and quickly moved to a side choke to force the tapout.
Barnett will fight Daniel Cormier in the Grand Prix final in early 2012.