May 19, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Josh Barnett (top) fights Daniel Cormier (bottom) during the heavyweight tournament final bout of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
The finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finally went on - with Josh Barnett, the favorite from that half of the bracket, facing Daniel Cormier, an alternate who was not even supposed to be in the tournament. Cormier put on a star-making performance and came out with the decision victory - although both men obviously could compete with the elite of any heavyweight division in the world.
In the second round, Cormier took Barnett down after some crisper boxing from Josh made him think twice about engaging on the feet. Cormier's elbows made a mess of Barnett's face and he evaded the leglock and armbar attempts as well.
A high altitude slam off a single leg was the best part of Round 3. Cormier tossed Barnett completely upside down after some relatively even striking trades. As befitting his nickname (The Warmaster), Barnett kept going and never broke mentally. Cormier slowed as the round wend on, but did enough to take it on most unofficial cards.
In Round 4, Cormier displayed his excellent fight instincts by shifting seamlessly throughout all phases of the MMA game. Barnett fired back in an astounding display of resiliency, but again lost the round.
Fifth round had Daniel Cormier easing down into cruise control, defending all of Barnett's attempts to get what would have been one of the greatest comebacks of MMA history started. In the end, Cormier took all five rounds and has vaulted from an alternate to this Grand Prix to its winner and perhaps one of the top five heavyweights on the planet. Barnett looked impressive in defeat as well and as a whole, this fight rocked.