Matchmaking for this Alistair Overeem, on this year's New Year's Eve DYNAMITE!! show, was far from certain going into the last few weeks before the event. There were reports of yea and nay on the possibility of Overeem facing Todd Duffee. It was a chaotic process, to say the least, with Duffee being finalized as the opponent on December 24th, a mere week before DYNAMITE!! Names like Bobby Lashley, Andrei Arlovski, and Semmy Schilt were thrown around beforehand as possible opponents.
Todd Duffee took the fight on short notice when it seemed uncertain whether Overeem would even fight. Most fans didn't give Duffee a chance going into the fight, seeing as Overeem was fresh off a huge tournament victory in the 2010 K-1 WGP and Duffee had just been cut from the UFC, but Duffee was a relatively sound opponent compared to names like Kazuyuki Fujita and James Thompson whom Overeem had just faced in MMA. More importantly, he was game during a shortage of opponents for The Reem.
Here is their bout from the New Year's Eve show in Saitama, Japan:
On paper, Todd Duffee is one of the few fighters with the sheer physicality to compete with The Reem. He holds the record for fasted recorded KO in UFC history, with a 7 second knockout of Tim Hague, as well as 4 other first round knockouts in professional MMA.
It is, however, one thing to deal punishment, and quite another to take it. Fans said that Duffee had the power to hurt Overeem, which is certainly true, but Overeem has progressed technically in his striking skills in recent years, enough so that when Duffee came out and tried to hurt him with punches after an attempted takedown, Overeem effectively neutralized his punches with a clinch. He threw a total of 4 knees in the clinch, the last straight to Duffee's liver. The left knee to the liver immobilized Duffee and Overeem was able to finish him against the ropes with a left hook in a total of 19 seconds. That's like 1/8 of the time you took to read this.
As you may have seen in The Reem documentaries, Overeem has been staying dedicated to his overall MMA repertoire while sharpening his striking. It showed in the smooth way he stuffed Duffee's initial takedown attempt and his easy transitions from striking to clinch range. Overeem utilized a great gameplan and displayed sharp fighting acumen in this bout. With his strength and technique allowing him to move the fights to his strong points, like the clinch, Overeem will be a very formidable opponent for anyone in the heavyweight division.