It was recently announced that Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem’s belt will be on the line as he participates in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix this year. In the opening round of the tournament, “The Demolition Man” will take on Fabricio Werdum, by whom he was defeated in PRIDE’s 2006 Openweight Grand Prix. Werdum spoke to Tatame.com recently (props to FightersOnly.com for the translation), where he discussed his upcoming match up with Overeem and how he thinks their previous bout will impact the outcome of this one.
“We both evolved a lot,” Werdum said of the progress the two men have made. “Overeem evolved a lot on the floor and he’s stronger and more experienced. When we fought in 2006, I pretend to do it for a while, fooled him a bit (laughs). Now I’m training a lot my bang but it still isn’t good for me to bang with him. The guy has just won K-1, so I’ll try to go for the ground, even because he was training his bang a lot and he didn’t have enough time to improve his ground game for this fight with me.”
Werdum submitted Overeem in the second round of their 2006 bout, and believes that he will be able to find a similar opening this time around. He told Tatame that he is looking to drag the hulking champion into the later rounds in order to frustrate him and exploit his own advantage in the ground game.
“The fight will be very tactic, it’ll be like the one of 2006 and I’ll catch him again, you can bet on it. I’ll beat him with my game plan and smartness,” he said. “The longer it gets, the better it is for me, because he has a background that proves he’s not resistant. I’ll tire him up, bring him to the ground and finish the fight.”
“Vai Cavallo” is looking to apply the experience he garnered as a participant in the 2006 PRIDE Grand Prix to Strikeforce’s upcoming tournament, telling Tatame that he believes he is more seasoned now and is ready to take the title and win the tournament.
“It would be a dream to win this grand prix,” said Werdum. “I fought only one GP, Pride in 2006, when I defeated Overeem in the first phase and lost to Nogueira in the second. I wasn’t experienced in that epoch, knew nothing standing, but today – prepared and more experienced – I have got conditions to win the GP.”
Do you have any predictions for the tourney? If so, let us know what they are in the comments section.