Springing into the spotlight after his defeat of rising star Bobby Lashley last August, Chad Griggs dominated a famous last name in the mixed martial arts world at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum. This time, it was Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem’s older brother, Valentijn Overeem. In a severely one-sided fight, Griggs forced Overeem to submit to strikes just 2:08 into round one of this Heavyweight Grand Prix Reserve Bout.
It was all Griggs from the opening bell. After dodging a head kick from Overeem, Griggs drove the Golden Glory fighter against the cage and planted him on his back. Once in a good position, Griggs began raining down punches on the now fetal positioned Overeem. Valentijn tapped the canvas, submitting to the onslaught and the referee, Kerry Hatley, stepped in to stop the fight just over two minutes into the first frame. Griggs, celebrated with his corner, while Overeem, oddly, did not appear all that shaken.
Strikeforce commentator, Mauro Ranallo, was quick to judge the elder Overeem for his apparent lack of heart in tapping to a series of strikes from half-guard. I don’t often agree with, or particularly enjoy, Ranallo’s commentary, but in this instance, I have to take his side. While none of us were taking those punches, we have all seen this situation handled far better on several occasions. Overeem made almost no attempt to better his position, instead opting to turtle up and let Griggs continue to throw whatever he pleased. Overeem’s heart and drive have come into question before, but this fight made it more apparent than ever.
For Overeem, it’s back to the drawing board. His last name will likely get him another fight under the Strikeforce banner, but unless some serious changes are made, don’t expect him to get much further. Griggs on the other hand, coming off of a first round TKO of Gianpiero Villante in February, was all drive. He likes to push the pace and force his opponents to fight and he did just that. With three straight wins in the Strikeforce hexagon and six straight overall, it’s time Griggs gets a step up in competition. A fight with another surging contender like Daniel Cormier would make a very interesting matchup.