Hello once more fans and friends, it’s now time for the finale of my latest entry into the “A Closer Look” series of articles. For the last several days I’ve taken a very in-depth look at Strikeforce’s upcoming “Overeem vs. Werdum” event, going fight-by-fight and giving fans a look into the histories of both fighters, and also who I think will win and why. With four entries already done, we’re left now with only the main event: the final quarterfinal bout in Strikeforce’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix. It’s Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum, and this is the finale of “A Closer Look At Strikeforce ‘Overeem vs. Werdum’.” Let’s get to it.
From the moment he first stepped into cages and rings around the world to compete as a Mixed Martial Artist, Fabricio Werdum took his exceptional gifts on the ground and used them to carve a path of twisted limbs and unconscious foes. Far from a one-dimensional submission specialist, Werdum quickly asserted his punching power in MMA as well: he scored his first (T)KO win and his first KO win in his third and fourth fights, respectively.
Werdum would eventually have a successful run in the legendary PRIDE FC promotion before being signed to the UFC. After losing his UFC debut to former champion Andrei Arlovski, Werdum established himself as a championship contender with back-to-back TKO victories over Brandon Vera and Gabriel Gonzaga. However, Werdum would end up leaving the UFC after only his second loss in the promotion. The man who beat him? A little-known Brazilian upstart named Junior dos Santos, who would later destroy everyone else in his path and emerge as one of the best Heavyweight fighters in the world.
But of course, Werdum bounced back. He landed in Strikeforce, and won back-to-back fights against Mike Kyle and Antonio Silva. And then, in one of the most-shocking upsets in the history of Mixed Martial Arts, Fabricio Werdum defeated Fedor Emelianenko in the first round. It took Werdum barely over a minute to trap Emelianenko in a Triangle Choke and force the stoic Russian to admit defeat. Werdum has been on the sidelines ever since, healing an injury.
His opponent, Alistair Overeem, requires virtually no introduction. It’d be easier to list off the championships he currently holds, because there’s three of them. Alistair Overeem is the current Heavyweight Champion of both Strikeforce and the Japanese-based DREAM promotion. He is also a K-1 World Grand Prix Champion.
After struggling to realize his potential for quite some time, after a series of tough defeats saw him bounce back and forth between Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight, Alistair Overeem has finally become the unstoppable wrecking machine many people thought he would eventually transform into. His recent return to Strikeforce saw him dominate and destroy Brett Rogers, at one point easily grabbing the formidable bulk of “The Grim” and tossing him aside as if it were nothing. Currently, Overeem is 9-0 in his last ten fights, with one bout being ruled a No Contest. He has finished all nine of those opponents, with eight first-round stoppages.
Heading into this fight, it’s hard to not see Alistair Overeem as an unstoppable, almost inhuman force of nature. I’m a huge fan of “The Reem” and I find it quite easy to buy into his hype, because it’s the kind of hype that is justly deserved. But I just don’t think I’ll ever fully count out Fabricio Werdum ever again.
If there’s a way to beat Alistair Overeem, Werdum is one of the few fighters best-suited to finding it out. He’s got a great submission game, but he also has formidable power in his hands. He’s also got a tremendous heart and a brilliant tactical mind. Werdum’s strategy may give him the keys to defeating Overeem and giving fans another monumental upset. But if Werdum doesn’t show up as the best fighter he’s ever been? “The Reem” is going to give his fans another dramatic, brutal first-round KO.