Josh Barnett looked extremely impressive in a first-round submission win over Sergei Kharitonov tonight and will advance to the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix to face Daniel Cormier. Barnett earned a takedown and fell right into full mount, where he worked methodically to open Kharitonov up with punches before eventually sinking in an arm-triangle choke. Kharitonov tapped out late in the first round.
Kharitonov came out and immediately closed the distance, throwing with bad intentions. Barnett responded with a counter right and a kick. Sergei was throwing bombs, but Barnett neutralized that with a takedown directly into mount one minute in. Josh dropped some ground and pound while Sergei tried to buck Barnett off without success. Kharitonov tried throwing punches from the bottom, but he couldn't get much on them. Barnett controlled position beautifully, completely nullifying Kharitonov's escape attempts. Sergei rolled over and Barnett looked for the choke while dropping some elbows with a minute left in the round.
Barnett dropped some hammerfists looking to open Kharitonov up, and eventually flattened him out. Sergei rolled onto his back, and Barnett expertly transitioned to an arm-triangle choke. Barnett popped out to side control and squeezed, and Kharitonov tapped. Complete domination from Barnett in a completely different way than Cormier dominated the fight before.
Barnett advanced to the semi-finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix with a submission win over Brett Rogers, and was on a seven-fight winning streak entering this fight. Kharitonov knocked out Andrei Arlovski to get into the semis, and had won five of six entering this bout.