Junior Dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem: Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Cain Velasquez may be the top contender to Junior dos Santos' crown right now, but recently dos Santos said he would rather face Alistair Overeem than Velasquez again.
With Overeem on the shelf due to his suspension, this may leave dos Santos with no choice but to meet up with Velasquez first. But, many fans, like dos Santos, want to see the two best strikers in the heavyweight division square off to see who the best in the world is.
Here is a head-to-toe breakdown of "Cigano" and "The Demolition Man."
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Both men, as stated, are the best two strikers in the heavyweight division. In fact, most of their wins have come by knockout, as their devastating power and technical skill combine to shatter jaws.
Dos Santos has the best boxing in the heavyweight division and maybe even all of MMA. With his superior boxing, dos Santos has knocked out such fighters as Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum. Every time dos Santos earns a knockout, it becomes instant highlight-reel footage.
Meanwhile, Overeem is a former K-1 kickboxing champion, which instantaneously gives him the best credentials in the UFC. His list of knockout victims include Brock Lesnar, Todd Duffee and Sergei Kharitonov. His kicks, knees and punches are so devastating, I'm surprised they don't name large hurricanes after him.
This is a very close battle, but in the end, the more diverse striker takes the edge.
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If you look at both men's credentials, you will notice one thing: Neither man is a good wrestler.
Sure, Overeem has trained extensively in submission grappling and yes, dos Santos is a jiu-jitsu brown belt under the Nogueiras. But neither of those provide the explosive takedowns that a wrestler has.
In looking at this matchup, I can say that while both men are not explosive takedown artists, we have recently seen dos Santos use a coupe takedowns to prove a point. For him to add that facet of the game, he has become more dangerous.
In a battle of two non-wrestlers, one man earns an extremely close edge.
Edge: dos Santos
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You may be surprised to know this, but Alistair Overeem actually owns more wins by submission than he does by knockout (19 to 15). Also, it's interesting to note that dos Santos only has one non-strike submission victory to his name, while his only loss came by submission.
Overeem has a tight guillotine choke that he has used on such opponents as Vitor Belfort, Igor Vovchanchyn and James Thompson.
While I doubt this fight becomes a grappling match, we must again note that dos Santos is a brown belt under the Nogueira brothers. That is impressive, considering he never showcases his jiu-jitsu ability.
Still, we must go on what we know, and we know that Overeem has dangerous, underrated submissions.
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The first big factor going into this fight is that Overeem would be coming off a long layoff from his failed drug test. Would ring rust be a factor? My guess is when it comes down to it, dos Santos would still be in fighting form and Overeem would need to feel out the fight for the first few minutes before his instincts kicked back in.
Another factor would be competition level. While Overeem was smashing mid to low-tier fighters in Strikeforce and Dream, dos Santos was dominating some of the top fighters in the world. Yes, Overeem destroyed Brock Lesnar, but that was a returning Brock Lesnar who was at the end of battling his second go at Diverticulitis.
With those intangibles in mind, who would win the fight?
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Despite all that I just said, my gut is telling me that there would not be a championship change.
Dos Santos is just too hot, has not been exposed and is too smooth. His boxing may not fair well against a top-level kickboxer, but I have a feeling his game plan would see him drag Overeem to the ground.
After wearing Overeem out with his top game, dos Santos would have what he needed to finish the Pride veteran in the later rounds and hold on to his UFC title.
Prediction: dos Santos def. Overeem via late knockout