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.