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Strikeforce announces Heavyweight Grand Prix format

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After much speculation, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker shed light on the format for its Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix on Thursday during a media conference call.

All quarterfinal and semifinal bouts with be three-round fights, including those of Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. The championship fight will be five rounds. with the details:

First up, Alistair Overeem's title will not be on the line in the tournament. And while there were some suggestions that every fight in the tournament would be contested as five-round affairs, instead, that will only happen in the grand prix finals, when a newly created Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix title will be on the line.

"All quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be scheduled for three, five-minute rounds," Coker said. "The tournament final will be five, five-minute rounds for the Strikeforce world grand prix championship."

The grand prix champion would then get first crack at Overeem. Of course, if the Dutchman cleans house in the eight-man bracket, he simply add another belt to his already impressive trophy case.

Coker also said, in the case of a draw during a tournament fight, a fourth judge will be on hand to determine who advances in the tournament.

Coker also notes:

"If a fighter qualifies to advance in the tournament but for any reason can not advance, we're forming a five-person tournament-review committee who will select a fighter to advance in his place," Coker said. "This fighter will be chosen from a pool of fighters that will include the previous opponent and the winners of reserve matches."

The GP kicks off Feb. 12 in East Rutherford, N.J. with two quarterfinal bouts: Fedor Emelianenko against Antonio Silva and Sergei Kharitonov against Andrei Arlovski.