Can Alistair Overeem stay strategic?

by Ralph Welch |
 

OVEREEM'S IDENTITY CRISIS

It must be strange to be Alistair Overeem. The former Strikeforce kingpin has thus far flattered to deceive in the Octagon. Too often, his heavy hands have failed to live up to his heavy price tag. After dominating Frank Mir this weekend in a must-win fight for his UFC future, he impressed everyone with his new-found fight smarts. Everyone that is, except his employer.

Dana White gave a scathing account of the Dutchman’s performance describing it as “crappy” in an interview on FOX Sports 1. It was a harsh assessment, perhaps reflective of the UFC supremo’s frustration at a record-breaking night of decisions in Newark. Admittedly it was a safe, if unspectacular showing. Though when Daniel Cormier did the same against Mir in 2013, he received subdued praise for a promising performance.

Overeem has always been blessed with shotgun power in his hands. His problem has been emptying the clip too soon, unleashing a barrage of bullets and failing to land the killshot.

Against Mir he displayed more maturity, conserving his ammunition and peppering his veteran opponent with shots from both hands. It was a display of sniper-like accuracy; a tribute to the renewed focus on conditioning which saw him relocate to Thailand for his training camp.

It will be intriguing to see where Overeem goes next. The logical move would be to pair him with Junior dos Santos, though the Dutchman has his own preference: “I heard there’s word that Brock Lesnar is about to come back to the UFC. Well, I’ll be here waiting for him,” claimed the Dutchman in his post-fight interview. That Lesnar’s name still carries such credence - some three years after his retirement - is a sign of the paucity of talent in the heavyweight division.

Lesnar won’t be back. He earns a princely sum for precious few outings in the squared circle. Dana White, who has enjoyed teasing the WWE star’s name in recent weeks, admitted as much in the post-fight press conference. Despite the internet rumors, the fact is that Lesnar’s days in the UFC are over.

For Alistair Overeem, the best days could still be ahead. Shorn of the freakish physique that fell foul of the drug testers, he could be a contender in a division so short on talent that one big punch can land you in title contention.

To make that happen, he needs to confirm his identity: will he revert to the frenetic firefighter of old? Or will he put precision before popularity? It’s a decision that could shape his future.

Running the gauntlet of the heavyweight division is little more than a high-stakes game of Russian roulette. There are plenty of big men out there who will risk it all on the swing of a four-ounce glove. There are few, however, who can match Overeem’s striking when allied with a strategic fighting style.

Win the crowd or win ugly, Alistair: the decision is yours.

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Recent Comments »

stonepony site profile image  

2/4/14 1:01 PM by stonepony

Strategic is a nice way to describe it. Yes, as long as he can fight Frank again, or Lesnar again, or some new HW with weak striking, he'll be able to avoid being knocked out (strategic).Frank is slow and robotic, not a striker. There's nobody else for him to muscle to the ground or throw around. Nobody else with weak striking. Frank, and Lesnar, that's it.

GaspareBJJ site profile image  

2/4/14 12:53 PM by GaspareBJJ

This

billcosbiguez site profile image  

2/4/14 12:49 PM by billcosbiguez

He should strategy against Brett Rogers, and Werdum, as well as in the 2010 k-1 gp final, which had 3 fights in one night. He's done it before.

kevsh site profile image  

2/4/14 12:45 PM by kevsh

Exactly, and I'll add it was an opponent with sick submission skills. What would Dana have suggested he do differently?

Ringworm74 site profile image  

2/4/14 11:55 AM by Ringworm74

Nope Dana didn't talk shit about DC becuase mendez would of tore him a new asshole had he....

Pitbull3744 site profile image  

2/4/14 11:32 AM by Pitbull3744

Nope

FinestScotch site profile image  

2/4/14 11:27 AM by FinestScotch

Not overextending on an opponent who has resorted to pulling guard isn't so much strategic... it's just not being fuckin' retarded

Big Pookie site profile image  

2/4/14 11:20 AM by Big Pookie

Strategic Reem FTW!Idk what the fuck is wrong with Dana. Strategic Reem is still more exciting than half the ufc roster.

GelderdEnd site profile image  

2/4/14 11:16 AM by GelderdEnd

No because Cormier is one his little projects....all in all Dana is a fucking dick

EckY site profile image  

2/4/14 11:11 AM by EckY

Did Dana talk this much shit about Cormier's win over Mir?