Alistair Overeem

Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Credit: Taro Irei

Out of all the fights this Saturday night, one of the most anticipated bouts of the year will take place, and believe it or not, it’s not the main event at UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Alistair Overeem returns to the cage, fresh off a one year suspension for the usual run of the mill drug enhancement charges that are never really admitted to, or proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Whatever though, I’m sick and tired of fighters lying about steroids and biased fans who struggle to make up their minds whether they approve of it or not.

Initially he had earned a title shot against former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos when he TKO’d Brock Lesnar at UFC 141, back in December of 2011. Now he must defeat Antonia “Bigfoot” Silva to remain in the heavy-weight picture and possibly earn his shot at the champ again.

At the end of the day, will ring rust be a factor for Overeem? Will Silva’s lack of speed prove to be his down fall against the K-1 kickboxing champ? The one absolute worth betting on is neither fighter will shoot for a take down, not even at the expense of saving one’s chin from obliteration.

In my mind, both of these fighter’s strategy is fairly straight forward. Just watch some clips of their recent fights. Overeem moves forward with a strong striking repertoire developed from his days, or shall I say decades, of strict kick boxing training. He mixes his strikes up with kicks, punches, and knees, in a way that seems rather routine and fluid for such a big man.

Yet Bigfoot will move forward with a plodding sureness, throwing looping strikes and holding his fists squarely in front of his face in between each flurried combination. This style has proven his downfall in the past since they leave him open for counters and provide his opponents with opportunity for take downs.

Daniel Cormier was able to smash through Bigfoot with ease. Yet his staunch determination saw him through a massive upset win against Fedor Emelianenko, and his equally, if not more so, impressive win against undefeated rising star Travis Browne.

The deciding factor in this fight, in my opinion, will be mindset. It has been made clear time and again that heavyweight fights are predictably unpredictable. If ring rust proves to be a factor in this fight, Bigfoot will have an opportunity to TKO Overeem. If not, he’s in trouble of losing and losing early.

Bigfoot must hurt Overeem early and risk his own safety to assure his survival. Yet he probably won’t be given much of a window to defeat Overeem in this one since The Demolition Man is very methodical in his technique, which doesn’t provide his opponents with any glaring weaknesses to exploit.

Overeem is just too technical for Silva to outpoint, yet The Reem knows this, and the knowledge of his superiority as a fighter may allow Bigfoot an opportunity to create a chaotic exchange with the former Strikeforce, Dream, and K-1 champ, and upset the arguably third best heavyweight in the world.

Therefore Silva’s mindset better be to act with purpose, aggression, and an understanding he will have to force Overeem to act out of character, and make a costly mistake, if he intends on winning this one.

Most likely Overeem’s overconfidence will only add some speed and accuracy to his strikes when he looks to walk through Bigfoot on Saturday night. Either way I can’t wait to see this one. Hell, I can’t wait for the weigh-ins at this point.

Watch a fun fan made teaser for Overeem vs. Bigfoot in the video below.

Video courtesy of YouTube uploader TheMontanaMMA