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Two reserve bouts rumored for Strikeforce’s upcoming heavyweight tournament

Anticipating the possibility of an injury or suspension interfering with the three-round, eight-man heavyweight tournament planned for the next several months, Strikeforce appears to already have a contingency plan in place and is looking at a pair of match-ups to provide replacements if necessary. Both fights are targeted for February 12 in New Jersey when the tournament’s opening quartet, including Fedor Emelianenko, will face off.

According to separate reports by MMAJunkie, Shane Del Rosario will put his undefeated record on the line against Lavar Johnson at the event, while Valentijn Overeem, older brother of Strikeforce champ and tournament participant Alistair Overeem, will fight storied kickboxer Ray “Sugarfoot” Sefo.

Del Rosario will enter the cage against Johnson with a 10-0 record and nine first-frame finishes including seven by way of strikes. However, while the 26-year old may pack power in his hands, he’s also submitted two opponents including an Omoplata victory in November 2009. Johnson provides an intriguing challenge for Del Rosario, as he is a 15-3 striker riding a seven-fight win streak with six opening round TKOs of his own in the bunch.

Sefo’s scrap with Overeem substitutes experience for youth in comparison to its “reserve” peer, though provides an interesting pairing for long-time fans of Mixed Martial Arts and combat sports in general. Sefo is kickboxing champion and multi-time K-1 World Grand Prix finalist, while the Dutchman he’s facing may only be 28-25 but has remarkably finished twenty-seven of the twenty-eight adversaries he’s found success against (eleven TKOs and sixteen submissions).

The duo of reserve bouts join Emelianenko’s quarter-final clash against Antonio Silva, as well as another opening round affair between Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov. The other four main-bracket participants in the tournament are Overeem (A.), who is expected to defend his belt against Fabricio Werdum in March, as well as Brett Rogers and Josh Barnett who are also targeted for a fight on the same card.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Good News BUT better news would have been including Daniel Cormier

  • G-DUB says:

    100% agree RR. Cormier would have a better shot of running the gauntlet than the rest of the named alternates. Let’s optimistically assume they have other logical plans for him or that Cormier had other commitments. Cudos to SF for introducing a tourney to get any real MMA fan pumped.

  • danw84 says:

    Would be pretty wierd to see Overeem vs Overeem in there at some point.

  • MCM says:

    Is there a possibility of an Overeem vs Overeem fight here!?

  • fanoftna33 says:

    for sure rece

  • G-DUB says:

    Excited to hear that Strikeforce was planning the quarterfinals for here in NJ and attempted to purchase tickets. Apparently, tickets are not yet on sale and we’re approx 5 weeks out from fight night. Interesting way to promote your brand. My optimism is fading.

  • MCM says:

    you beat me to it danw84

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    Maybe they’re waiting until Cormier competes on Friday night to make sure he’s still undefeated before sticking him in a reserve bout? :)

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    V. Overeem is not a reserve surely. Del Rosario vs Johnson is and is perfect. I would have had Cormier vs another fighter as the other one but if they need 2 reserve fighters in the semi’s I think they will include him anyway as long as he gets past Cole.


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