After sending Brock Lesnar to retirement, and back into the WWF, Alistair Overeem was primed to become a big star in the U.S. A funky urine sample, and a year on suspension, later and he is poised to make a run back into heavyweight title picture. Standing in his way is the biggest fighter in the division.
Fight Breakdown: Alistair Overeem’s game isn’t all that difficult to predict. He’s the best striking heavyweight on the planet, a former K-1 Grand Prix champion with incredible power in everything he does. Overeem was a washed up light heavyweight in part because he couldn’t make the cut to 205 without compromising a lot; a move to heavyweight cured his ills and he’s turned his career around in part because he walks into the cage much closer to his normal weight than when he was having bad cuts to make 205.
The devastating part of Overeem’s game is his ability to merck guys in the clinch. K-1 changed their rules to eliminate the ability to throw knees out of it in part because Overeem was just caving guys in with it. He’s also an incredibly powerful human being; he shrugged off Brock Lesnar on a takedown attempt like it was laughable. He’s an absolute physical specimen who once upon a time was also a terror on the ground, as well. At heavyweight he’s never had to use that skillset because his takedown defense is good enough to keep most heavyweights from getting him to the ground.
And that’s where Silva needs to be to win to this fight. His standup is good but not special but for a guy his size his abilities on the ground are sensational. He’s got a black belt in BJJ and has a terrific top game when it gets to the ground. He’s not good enough to trudge through 15 minutes with Overeem but he’s good enough to have moments on his feet where he’s not getting dissected. He needs to avoid the clinch, and those knees, and try to get this to the ground ASAP. Overeem’s cardio is decent but having someone of Silva’s size on top of him is going to wear him out.
Why It Matters: A win here and Cain Velasquez gets his first title defense against Overeem. The UFC has been keen on getting Alistair into the title picture at heavyweight as he’s a PR dream: big, Afro-Dutch with marginally accented English and a reputation (and highlight reel) of mercking guys. Throw in a Herculean physique and insane amounts of charisma and this guy could be a star who brings in PPV buys by the truckload. Overeem is the guy poised to be the next Brock Lesnar, a guy who looks like the baddest man on the planet and just happens to have the bonafides to be it.
A Bigfoot win messes up a lot of potential fights because we’ve seen him against Cain before. Cain wore Bigfoot’s blood like a prom dress and no one wants to see that again. But a win against Overeem at least puts him in the picture again, if only for another title eliminator. He’s going to need another win or two after a win over “The Demolition Man” to get another shot at Cain because of how badly he got ran over by him the first time.