Photos: Esther Lin/STRIKEFORCE via Facebook.com

Strikeforce: Overeem Vs. Werdum Fight Card Preview

Want a Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum main fight card preview? SB Nation MMA has you covered. We'll break down the entire main card: Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers, Daniel Cormier vs. Jeff Monson, Chad Griggs vs. Valentijn Overeem and Jorge Masvidal vs. K.J. Noons.

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Strikeforce Fight Card: Alistair Overeem Vs. Fabricio Werdum

The fight fight on the main card of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum is Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum. This is a heavyweight bout, meaning both competitors are between 206lbs and 265lbs (weigh-in results here). This bout serves as one of the last remaining Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix bouts along with Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers. This bout is also a rematch of their 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix bout that took place in PRIDE. Werdum was the winner of that bout, defeating Overeem by submission (kimura). He is the only man to ever submit Overeem.

What are their stats?

Alistair Overeem: 6'5", 256lbs
Fabricio Werdum: 6'4", 246lbs

How did they get here?

Overeem is a former elite-level gate keeper at light heavyweight who has experienced a career transformation at now that he's at heavyweight. He is the current Strikeforce heavyweight champ and the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix winner, making him the only man in MMA history to hold a K-1 and elite MMA title at the same time. However, he has faced largely lower-tier MMA fighters since moving to heavyweight. His last three MMA fights were wins over Todd Duffee, Brett Rogers and Kazuyuki Fujita.

Werdum is one of the best submission-based heavyweights competing in MMA. He is a multiple-time world champion in sport jiu-jitsu both with and without the gi. His most recent three fights in MMA were wins over Mike Kyle, Antonio Silva and Fedor Emelianenko.

What are their ways to win?

While it would be simplistic to call this a striker vs. grappler match as both men have worked diligently on rounding out their MMA games, their preferences are not a mystery: Overeem would prefer to keep this standing while Werdum likely knows his best chance of winning is on the ground. Werdum has to drag this fight into later rounds to test Overeem's historically bad cardio (Overeem attributes those issues to cutting to 205lbs) and obtain top position. Being underneath Overeem's ground and pound or not operating with closed guard could be disaster for Werdum. Overeem, by contrast, needs to avoid the takedown (not the freestyle wrestling variety, but potential guard pulling or trips) to end the fight on the feet early.

What's at stake?

Overeem's belt is not on the line, but both have a tremendous amount to gain or lose. Not only is a slot in the next stage of the tourney up for grabs, but Overeem needs to prove he isn't overrated and can't only beat up scrubs. In short, he needs to justify the move to heavyweight. There's also a matter of revenge for the Dutch striker.

For Werdum, he needs to validate his upset win over Emelianenko and establish himself as a legitimate heavyweight who can handle opponents with vastly different skill sets.

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Strikeforce Fight Card: Josh Barnett Vs. Brett Rogers

The fourth fight on the main card of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum is Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers. This is a heavyweight bout, meaning both competitors are between 206lbs and 265lbs (weigh-in results here). This bout serves as one of the last remaining Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix bouts along with Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum. Barnett is a former UFC heavyweight champion.

What are their stats?

Josh Barnett: 6'3", 256lbs
Brett Rogers: 6'4", 258lbs

How did they get here?

Barnett is a former UFC heavyweight champion with considerable skills in every department of the game. Due to licensing issues precipitated by failed drug tests and other related problems, Barnett's fighting career has been inconsistent of late. His most recent wins include victories over Gilbert Yvel, Mighty Mo and Geronimo dos Santos.

Rogers is a bit of a one-dimensional slugger and has been on a bit of a career slide after charging out of the professional MMA gates in dominating fashion. His last three fights include losses both to Fedor Emelinaneko and Alistair Overeem as well as a win over Ruben Villareal.

What are their ways to win?

For Barnett, he likely can win anywhere the fights goes if his skills are still up to par. He has strong striking skills, a durable chin and experience against top MMA strikers. However, the greatest disparity in talent exists on the floor. Barnett is an excellent submission grappler with decent takedowns, but excellent positional advancement skills, good control and powerful ground and pound.

Rogers, by contrast, has to keep this fight standing. He isn't a polished striker, but is possessive of powerful punches and enormous strength.

What's at stake?

Both fighters risk losing whatever legitimacy they're hanging on to in addition to a place in the semi-finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. This fight is more about proving something at the next step, although of the two Barnett has far more to lose.

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Strikeforce Fight Card: Daniel Cormier Vs. Jeff Monson

The third fight on the main card of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum is Daniel Cormier vs. Jeff Monson. This is a heavyweight bout, meaning both competitors are between 206lbs and 265lbs (weigh-in results here). This bout serves to establish alternates for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix should some of the tournament regulars be forced out to injury or other reasons. Monson is a long-time competitor and once contended for a UFC heavyweight title. Cormier is a rising prospect and two-time member of the U.S. Olympic men's wrestling team.

What are their stats?

Daniel Cormier: 5'11", 239lbs
Jeff Monson: 5'9", 234lbs

How did they get here?

Cormier is a rising heavyweight prospect who is part of the American Kickboxing Academy team, alongside Mike Swick, Josh Koscheck, Cain Velasquez and Jon Fitch. He holds notable wins over Devin Cole, Soa Palelei and Jason Riley

Monson is a veteran with more than 50 fights. He is also one of the most accomplished heavyweight grapplers competing in MMA. He holds notable wins over Sergei Kharitonov, Roy Nelson and Ricco Rodriguez. He is currently on an eight-fight win streak, although against less than top tier competition.

What are their ways to win?

Cormier is easily the superior wrestling and probably has enough submission defense to win on the ground, but the much simpler path to victory. Monson has gas tank issues and is neither explosive nor an adept striker. Cormier can push the pace, use distancing and take his time beating up Monson in the stand up or in the clinch until it's time to unleash his rather savage ground and pound. Monson, on the other hand, must find a way to take Cormier down and use his submission prowess from a top control to have any chance of winning.

What's at stake?

This is Cormier's opportunity to transform from prospect to legitimate contender. For Monson, it's the chance to elevate his stock before he either stops competing or enters journeyman status.

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Strikforce Fight Card: Chad Griggs Vs. Valentijn Overeem

The second fight on the main card of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum is Chad Griggs vs. Valentijn Overeem. This is a heavyweight bout, meaning both Griggs and Overeem are between 206lbs and 265lbs (weigh-in results here). This bout serves to establish alternates for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix should some of the tournament regulars be forced out to injury or other reasons. Valentijn is the brother of Grand Prix competitor and Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.

What are their stats?

Chad Griggs: 6'1", 234lbs
Valentijn Overeem: 6'3", 234lbs

How did they get here?

Griggs is an American brawler in almost the purest sense, although he does possess decent defensive wrestling, mat awareness and underscrambling. He holds notable wins over Bobby Lashley and Gian Villante, both of which came in Strikeforce.

Overeem is a long-time competitor, who is functionally well-rounded, strong, but lacks a gas tank, is seemingly shop worn and trying to make a late career resurgence. He holds notable wins over Randy Couture, Ray Sefo and Ian Freeman.

What are their ways to win?

Overeem might try to take this to the ground, but that's a fool's errand. I would be very surprised if this fight goes past the second round. Griggs fights with unbridled ferocity and Overeem is all too willing to slug it out standing. Both fighters are defensively porous, so being over analytical about their opportunities isn't necessary. Suffice it to say, I suspect the first fighter to land a clean, hard shot will emerge the winner. Overeem's ability to take punishment has been compromised, so look to Griggs to win the bout.

What's at stake?

The riches bestowed upon the winner of this bout aren't much, in that there is no guarantee a win moves the victor any closer to a slot in the tournament. Still, V. Overeem needs to regain some of the lost momentum of his career while Griggs needs as much experience as possible for tackling larger challenges.

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Strikeforce Fight Card: Jorge Masvidal Vs. K.J. Noons

The first fight on the main card of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum is Jorge Masvidal vs. K.J. Noons. This is a lightweight fight, meaning 155lbs, and is believed to be an eliminator fight to see who faces Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez next. What's notable about both fighters is their ability or willingness to compete both at lightweight and welterweight, although a strong case can be made that neither's interests are best served at 170lbs.

What are their physical stats?

K.J. Noons: 5'11", 155lbs, most wins by TKO/KO.
Jorge Masvidal: 5'11", 155lbs, Most wins by TKO or decision.

How did they get here?

Noons isn't affiliated with an elite camp, but trains with a variety of teams and has a team of help dedicated to his performance. He is a very strong MMA boxer with an uncanny ability to quickly measure range, has a durable chin, competed in multiple weight classes and stands tall in the pocket. He holds notable wins over Nick Diaz, Yves Edwards and Conor Heun. He holds notable losses to Nick Diaz and Charles Bennett.

Masvidal trains with the elite American Top Team. As aforementioned, he's bounced around from weightclasses probably more than he needed to for career advancement, but posses strong striking skills, underrated offensive wrestling, durability and is an experienced veteran. He holds notable wins over Satoru Kitaoka, Ryan Schultz, and Yves Edwards. He has notable losses to Paul Daley, Toby Imada and Rodrigo Damm.

What are their ways to win?

Masvidal might even be the more complete kickboxer of the two, but a) Noons' easiest path to victory is standing, b) Noons is a far better MMA boxer and c) Noons is also a little more bloodthirsty. Whereas Masvidal has sometimes allowed outmatched opposition to linger. For Masvidal, this is about mixing up his offensive strategy, keeping Noons off balance and demonstrating the comprehensive breadth of his game.

For Noons, this is ability not only stuffing takedowns and using appropriate distancing, it's also about keeping his back off of the fence. Even if he can shake the takedown attempts from Masvidal over the course of a round, he must also keep his back off the fence and circle out as quickly as possible.

What's at stake?

While nothing is official, it's believed the winner of this bout will receive a title shot against Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. Strikeforce is also looking at the winner of Justin Wilcox vs. Gesias Cavalcante as a potential contender for Melendez.

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Strikeforce: Overeem Vs. Werdum Fight Card Preview

Check back with SB Nation MMA throughout the afternoon as we preview the main card for Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum. We'll give you a breakdown of each fighter's style, how they got to this point, what they need to do to win and a prediction for each match. The event is headlined by a heavyweight that is part of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum. The co-main event is also part of the tournament, Brett Rogers vs. Josh Barnett.

The event airs tonight beginning at 8 p.m. ET on HDNet, For an preliminary card preview, Bloody Elbow has you covered. The main card - the portion of the event we're covering here - kicks off on Showtime tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

Be sure to follow SB Nation MMA (@SBNationMMA) on Twitter as well as Luke Thomas (@MMANation) and Nate Wilcox (@KidNate).


Strikeforce Interviews: Alistair Overeem | Josh Barnett | Daniel Cormier | Brett Rogers | K.J. Noons

The Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum fight card is as follows:

Main Card (airing on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET):

Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum
Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers
Daniel Cormier vs. Jeff Monson
Chad Griggs vs. Valentijn Overeem
Jorge Masvidal vs. K.J. Noons

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