Prior to the two Strikeforce Heavyweight GP quarter-final bouts this evening in New Jersey, there were three fights to establish who would lie in wait as reserves for the tournament.

Overeem Submits Sefo

In the evening’s opening reserve bout, Valentijn Overeem made short work of Ray Sefo.

Sefo looked the better fighter in the early stand-up exchanges, but it wasn’t long before Overeem wisely took the kickboxer to the ground and applied a neck crank which forced the tap just 1.37mins into the fight.

Griggs TKO’s Vallante

Next came Chad Griggs and Gian Vallante and there was to be no feeling out process here.

Griggs came out like a bull in a china shop, swinging big shots that traded technique for raw power and quickly had Vallante in trouble. The Strikeforce newcomer pressed Griggs up against the cage to slow the onslaught, but before long Griggs was creating space and going right back to the winging heavy blows at his opponent.

Out-of-the-blue Vallante threw a high kick which connected, appearing to stagger Griggs and open up a cut on his ear. Vallante’s opportunity to swing the momentum back in his favor was short lived however when his mouthpiece fell out forcing a brief referee stoppage.

When the action resumed Griggs was back on the offensive again, and under a barrage of strikes Vallante crumples to the mat and is subjected to more unanswered blows before the referee steps in to end his misery.

Overall it wasn’t pretty, but it was an entertaining win for Griggs who picks up his second victory in Strikeforce following a shock high profile win over Bobby Lashley last year.

Del Rosario Submits Johnson

Shane Del Rosario and Lavar Johnson are best known as dangerous strikers, but surprisingly most of the action in this bout, for as long as it lasted at least, was not fought on the feet.

Even more surprisingly was the fact that it was Johnson, a renowned heavy-hitter who was looking to take the more technical Del Rosario to the mat. After some clinching against the cage he was able to do just that, but before long Del Rosario was back on his feet, and looked threatening with a quick head kick.

Then Del Rosario changed things up, going for a takedown of his own and landing in full mount. Raining down blows on Johnson in the final minute of the round, Del Rosario then went for an armbar. For a moment it looked as if Johnson was going to be able to stand and break free, but he was suddenly brought crashing back down to the mat as the submission locked in tighter and forced the tap.

This was a tough fight for Del Rosario on paper, but he was able to produce another first round finish, and should now be installed as the first port of call should there be a reserve fighter need in the Heavyweight Grand-Prix.