Alistair Overeem still remembers his 2006 loss to Fabricio Werdum, but he says when they meet again in Strikeforce, everyone can expect a much different outcome.
If you go back and watch the first fight between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum from Pride: Total Elimination in 2006, there are quite a few glaring differences from what you might see when the two heavyweights meet in a rematch this weekend in Strikeforce.
First off, Overeem was a light heavyweight at the time he faced Werdum, still growing into his monstrous 6’5? frame. The Dutchman was cutting serious weight and looks smaller than his Brazilian counterpart during the fight.
Second, with both fighters firing off strikes back and forth it was actually Overeem who initiated the takedown that landed he and Werdum on the mat where the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace was able to take over. Working inside the guard, Overeem soon found his left arm trapped as Werdum grabbed a kimura from the bottom and wreched up on the maneuver.
Overeem tapped and Werdum was the victor that night.
Now, just over 5 years later both fighters have taken dramatic turns in their careers, but separate paths have led to Overeem and Werdum meeting again. This time in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
This time Overeem has packed on nearly 50lbs of muscle and power to become a true heavyweight. The Golden Glory fighter has won his last nine fights in a row in MMA (plus one no contest to Mirko Cro Cop), not to mention his run to become the K-1 Grand Prix champion to close out 2010.
Add all of that up, and Overeem is a much different animal that will step into the ring with Fabricio Werdum this Saturday night. That doesn’t mean however that he forgot about their first fight years ago.
“This fight is going to be different than the last time. You’re going to see a way more aggressive Alistair Overeem, and I’ll be looking for the knockout from the first second,” Overeem said recently.
Heading into the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Overeem was the odds on favorite to win the tournament because of the run he’s been on not to mention the fact that he is the current Strikeforce heavyweight champion.
If there was a 2nd favorite, it was Fabricio Werdum. The Brazilian not only holds a win over Overeem, but also victories over Antonio Silva and of course former Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko.
It’s been nearly 6 months since Overeem fought, but this battle with Werdum is over 5 years in the making. Needless to say, the Dutch wrecking machine is hungry for revenge.
“I have a lot of motivation, believe me,” commented Overeem. “I’m just happy. I’m just happy this fight is happening. I wanted to fight Fabricio then the tournament came around, for me and excellent opportunity to fight him. I’m motivated, you’re going to see that next week exactly how motivated I am.”
Overeem is confident, but he also knows exactly how tough Werdum is in a fight. The two battled in Pride, and Overeem is well aware that Werdum has watched all of his recent fight footage.
It still doesn’t mean Werdum will be ready for what he’s going to deal with on Saturday night.
“Of course he’s been training for my weapons, for my arsenal and I believe he’s confident, I’m very confident. It’s going to be very interesting to see how it plays out,” Overeem said.
On the flipside of that argument is Werdum’s ground game that did Overeem in the last time they faced off. As previously stated it was actually Overeem that took Werdum down twice in the 2nd round of their bout, and the latter brought about his downfall in the fight.
So how has Overeem been preparing for Werdum’s jiu-jitsu attack if they hit the canvas this time?
“Let’s just say I’m ready,” Overeem said about a potential ground fight with Werdum. “I feel ready, I’ve been ready for a couple of weeks now and I’m just very eager to step in the cage and show all the fans what I got.”
Overeem will get the chance to not only defeat Werdum, but move onto the next round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix this Saturday night in Dallas, Tex.
Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
Follow @DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon a question or comment.
Follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.