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Monday, June 20, 2011
Let your guard down, GP semifinalists

By Josh Gross

It didn't carry the same energy or interest as February's first leg, but Strikeforce's world heavyweight grand prix finally returned after a long delay, and that's worth rejoicing. From the four heavyweight quarterfinalists to four tournament alternates, it was an important night in terms of trimming some fat from the division.

Controversy didn't mark Saturday's card in Dallas, though the decision in the main event can be and should be discussed. Judges awarded it unanimously for Alistair Overeem, and an argument could be made that it was the correct decision. I was on the other side and felt that a 29-28 score in favor of Fabricio Werdum was more appropriate. Either way, it was tremendously close and competitive, and largely decided on whether guard-pulling is a legitimate tactic or, conversely, retreating from the fight. In this case, it was unquestionably smart for Werdum to go after Overeem the way he did.

Perhaps a draw was the way to go. Who wouldn't have wanted to finish the evening with a dramatic and deciding fourth period?

As it is, these grades reflect the fighters' performances, which offered much more good than bad at the American Airlines Center.

Josh Gross covers MMA for Follow him on Twitter at JoshGrossESPN.