Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem avenged an earlier loss to Fabricio Werdum last night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, but it was far from the dominant beatdown that he promised.
“The Demolition Man” may still retain his spot as Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix favorite, but he did little to inspire confidence against the Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert. The fight was closely, and oddly, contested from the start, with Werdum doing his best to lure Overeem to the mat and the Dutchman having no part of it.
The interesting parts of the bout came when Werdum landed shots on Overeem standing; though Overeem maintains that he was never hurt by the shots, Werdum was actually successful in putting together combinations, while Overeem stuck to single, power shots. The 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix champ controlled the stand up for the most part though, frequently dumping Werdum to the mat, when “Vai Cavallo” wasn’t flopping there by his own volition.
Overeem’s performance was deserving of the victory, but certainly not by a mile and it raised more questions than it answered. What once seemed like a foregone conclusion, Overeem securing a spot in the finals, now seems much less like such and his impending bout with Antonio Silva now carries much more intrigue.
Whether it was for ring rust, as both men had been out of action for some time, too much respect for the other man’s skills or some other intangible, both Overeem and Werdum’s performances left much to be desired in the cage and more will certainly be expected from the two immensely talented fighters in their respective next outings.
Overeem improves to 35-11 overall, makes it seven wins straight and advances to the tournament semi-finals where he’ll meet Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Werdum falls to 14-5-1 and cancels the momentum he generated with a big win over Fedor Emelianenko last year.