The courageous, come-from-behind triumph may have been the most noteworthy for a well-rounded, strong finisher known for quick endings and tricky submissions. Six of Griggs’ victories came in the first round, and he has scored knockouts in eight of his nine victories.
“It was a dream come true to fight forand getting a super win in a big fight like that was huge for me,’’ Griggs said. “I appreciate the opportunity to show what I can do again against another tough opponent.”
Villante is a 6-foot-2, 25-year-old grappling stud who was born and raised on Long Island. Before he wrestled and played football at Hofstra University, he was an All-State football player and All-American wrestler at MacArthur High in Levittown, N.Y.
After trying out with the NFL’s New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles, Villante turned to MMA in late 2008. “I got hooked the first time I went to an MMA fight card and saw one of my high school wrestling coaches KO some guy in a few seconds,” he said. “I was still a senior in high school but I got that feeling that I could maybe do this, and it was always in the back of my mind.
“I knew when my dream to play in the NFL ended that this was what I wanted to do. Now, fighting MMA has become more of a dream than football. I’m extremely excited about fighting for STRIKEFORCE on SHOWTIME. This is a tremendous opportunity and it is like a home game for me.”
Without the benefit of an amateur career, Villante turned pro on Feb. 20, 2009, and won his initial six fights. His lone defeat came when he dislocated an elbow in a bout halted in the opening round on April 16, 2010. Villante is coming off a 1:03, first-round TKO over Joseph Reyes on Dec. 3, 2010. It was his sixth success in the first round.
The older brother of, Valentijn Overeem is a fierce, dangerous striker who has won his last two fights in a combined time of 47 seconds. The 6-foot-3, 34-year-old Dutch Destroyer scored a 40-second KO (knee) over Catalin Zmarandescu on May 21, 2010. In his outing before last, the previous April 17, a head kick finished off Tengiz Tedoradze seven seconds after the opening bell.
Overeem, who injured an elbow during training and withdrew from a match last Dec. 4 against “Big Foot’’ Silva, has several notable victories, including a 0:56, first-round submission over all-time great Randy “The Natural” Couture and a 2:19, first-round submission over former STRIKEFORCE Middleweight Champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral. Overeem has only gone the distance twice in a 53-fight career.
A member of Team Golden Glory like his brother, Alistair, Valentijn is a four-time winner in PRIDE Fighting Championship competition. He’ll be making his debut for STRIKEFORCE after signing with the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion last June.
Sefo is one of the most devastating knockout artists in the history of kickboxing and many are excited to see him return to STRIKEFORCE. This will be the native of Auckland, New Zealand’s first MMA start since he defeated (knee injury) Kevin Jordan in his STRIKEFORCE debut during a Challengers event on Sept. 25, 2009.
After turning professional and earning more than a dozen kickboxing championships, Sefo turned his focus to the mecca of kickboxing, K-1, in Japan. While competing under the K-1 banner, Sefo quickly earned a reputation as a power puncher with a penchant for knocking his opponents out. During his time with in K-1, Sefo notched wins over the likes of MMA notables Mark Hunt, Melvin Manhoef, 7-foot-2 Hong Man Choi, Gary Goodridge, Marvin Eastman and Gilbert Yvel along with scores of champion kickboxers.
The 6-foot, 39-year-old Sefo’s level of kickboxing is rarely seen in MMA, yet with just two pro MMA fights in five years he remains a question mark in a heavyweight division regarded as the best in MMA. Sefo, who went undefeated his entire career as an amateur kickboxer, won his MMA debut with a second-round KO (head kick) over Min Soo Kim on July, 6, 2005, in Japan.
A special ticket pre-sale for “STRIKEFORCE Insiders,” begins tomorrow/Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 10 a.m. ET and ends Thursday at 10 p.m. Fans can sign up to become an “Insider” at STRIKEFORCE.com
Tickets for the Feb. 12 mega-event go on sale to the public on Friday, Jan. 14, at 10 a.m. ET at the IZOD Center box office, online at Ticketmaster.com and STRIKEFORCE.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.