Tonight in the main event of Strikeforce's show in Dallas, Alistair Overeem won a decision over Fabricio Werdum. The fight didn't go as anyone predicted it. It was drawn out over 3 rounds, with Overeem constantly stuffing Werdum's takedowns, spending little portions of time on the ground and battling it out on the feet. The thing that surprised many was that Werdum actually outlanded Overeem on the feet. I'm going to get into every aspect of this fight, the future and the backlash of the fight community.
Now you may notice that Werdum outlanded Overeem in the stand up. A lot of people who don't understand what's going on are jumping on this fact. People don't realize how much the threat of a takedown plays into the striking. Many are even going as far to discredit the whole sport of kickboxing just because Werdum outlanded Overeem. Go watch the fight and you can see Overeem is solely focusing on defending the takedown from Werdum. Overeem respected the ground game of Werdum so much that he didn't showcase a lot of his striking ability in fear of getting put on his back, where Werdum has the advantage. Now this can be seen as a flaw in itself and I acknowledge that Overeem needs some more time to readjust to MMA. Overeem's stints in K-1 have clearly pushed back his overall MMA mentality and he'll have to work on it.
But to discredit the whole sport of kickboxing for this is absurd. The threat of the takedown is an added element in MMA that can change the whole stand up realm. Reem didn't throw any kicks because of the threat of the takedown, and the one time he threw a kick he was taken down. Overeem was so focused on defending the takedown that he was willing to give up some defence in order to do so. It may look good for Werdum but let's be real. The shots had no effect in comparison to the strikes that Overeem landed. Overeem landed the more effective strikes while Werdum's were glancing blows and didn't even phase Overeem. Because of the takedown, Overeem didn't open up to throw strikes and had to hold back in order to not over commit himself. Whenever Overeem would set himself to defend a takedown, Werdum would come with strikes. Whenever Overeem would set himself to strike, Werdum would go for a takedown or flop to his back. Put any MMA fighter in a ring with Overeem under kickboxing rules without the threat of a takedown and he'll crush them. Read more...
And now comes the match up of Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva. Just from a glance, many are already picking Bigfoot to win just based on this performance by Overeem tonight. I always say this and I'll say it again; styles make fights. The style clash in this match up resulted in the way the fight played out. I don't see this clash of styles happening with any other fighter. Sure, Bigfoot is a big guy with a BJJ black belt but he's not Fabricio Werdum on the ground. Overeem was committed to defending the takedown because of Werdum's jiu jitsu prowess. No one else in the heavyweight division presents the same threat as Werdum on the ground. Overeem will be more open to strike against Bigfoot as Bigfoot won't be shooting takedowns every 5 seconds in his only hope of winning the fight. Add that to the thought that Bigfoot probably thinks Overeem is vulnerable in the stand up after tonight. Shane Carwin? Brock Lesnar? Sure they have a threat of a takedown, but they're no jiu jitsu specialists and oh wait, not exactly cardio machines.
As we saw after the fight, Overeem was pretty tired. Criticism poured in on Overeem's gas tank, a bunch of different scenarios being thrown out there about why he'd lose because of his gas tank. Well guess what. Most fighters at the top of the heavyweight division gas. Shane Carwin gasses. Brock Lesnar gasses. Frank Mir gasses. Junior Dos Santos gasses. So before you write off Overeem for gassing, keep in mind that other top heavyweights do the same.
This fight is a big learning experience for Alistair. I have no doubt that him and his team at Golden Glory will go and see what adjustments to make. If I were you, I wouldn't base analysis for Overeem's next fight off of this fight. Alistair and his team are veterans of the fight game and they know what they have to do to readjust their game for Antonio Silva.
Now as I eluded to at the start of this article, the backlash to the fight. As expected many MMA fans are now using this fight to completely shit on Alistair and in some cases, the whole sport of kickboxing. I don't understand why some MMA fans feel the need to try and use every opportunity to shit on another great combat sport, that many MMA fans enjoy. I also don't understand why some will try to shit all over a fighter just to try and prove to people on the other side of the argument that they were wrong.
What some fail to recognize is that Alistair Overeem defeated a universally recognized top 3 heavyweight. For some reason everyone has the expectations that a fighter should be like Michael Jordan and if he shows any flaws than he sucks. But I guess since he didn't knee Werdum's head to the moon, he sucks. The fight game is confusing and the reactions to its outcomes are due in part to an abundance of ignorance. It's a never-ending mystery and the confusing part is that this is something that isn't regularly seen in the Kickboxing and Muay Thai communities. Maybe we can attribute this due to it not being as big as MMA or Boxing or the different fanbases but I guess we'll never clearly know.
And before I finish writing this, I suggest you rewatch the fight. And do so with an open mind. Your opinion might change, even if you're looking for a little thing to shit on.