Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Browne: Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Former Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem will take on Travis Browne at the inaugural UFC on FOX Sports 1 event set for August 17.
Both Overeem and Browne currently find themselves in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division, according to the UFC's official fighter rankings.
Overeem has had a pretty rough 2013. He is coming off a devastating knockout loss to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and suffered an injury that forced him out of a bout with Junior dos Santos at UFC 160.
Browne's last loss, the first of his career, also came at the hands of "Bigfoot." He tore his left hamstring during the fight. After rehabbing, Browne returned to the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, where he knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga in the first round.
It's hard to believe, but in the relatively barren landscape that is the heavyweight division, a victory for either fighter will thrust their name into the title picture.
Here is a head-to-toe breakdown of this clash between two of the very best 265s.
Overeem is a striking machine trained in the disciplines of boxing, Muay Thai and kickboxing. He is the only fighter to simultaneously hold titles in both K-1 and MMA.
This is "the Reem's" bread and butter; he is most comfortable on the feet. Overeem has 15 knockout wins, most notably over former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar.
Overeem throws everything with bad intentions. As a professional kickboxer, his leg kicks are among the best in the heavyweight division, but it is his knees in the clinch that are truly devastating.
More than half of his knockout finishes have come via knees.
Browne is no slouch in the stand-up department either, with 10 of his 14 wins coming by way of knockout. He has earned Knockout of the Night honors twice.
"Hapa" almost exclusively finishes fights with his fists and has serious knockout power. If Overeem underestimates this fact, then he will find himself face down on the canvas asking, "What the heck just happened?"
Takedowns are not a huge part of the Dutchman's overall game plan. According to Fightmetric, Overeem averages fewer than two takedowns a fight, but when he does shoot for one, he is successful 76 percent of the time.
He also rarely finds himself on his back. Only Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has been able to drag Overeem to the mat more than once in a fight.
"The Demolition Man" is able to defend against the takedown three out of four times. In his rematch with Fabricio Werdum, Overeem stuffed 11 takedown attempts en route to a unanimous-decision victory.
Browne has never been taken down in his UFC career. Fightmetric also puts Browne's takedown average (2.29) and accuracy (78 percent) as almost identical to Overeem's numbers.
In Browne's fight with Rob Broughton at UFC 135, he completed a takedown in each round, which helped him secure a unanimous-decision victory.
"The Demolition Man" has real grappling experience, even winning the 2005 Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) European Trials; however, this is not his go-to method to finish a fight.
The last time Overeem submitted an opponent was almost four years ago. He defeated James Thompson via standing guillotine choke at Dynamite!! 2009.
Overeem has racked up 19 submission victories, with seven of them coming after he made the permanent jump to heavyweight.
Over the course of 49 professional bouts, only BJJ black belt Fabricio Werdum has been able to force Overeem to tap, after catching him in a kimura.
Overeem has more submission wins than Browne has professional bouts. Browne has a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but like Overeem, the submission game is not his primary means of offense.
"Hapa" has chalked up two career submission wins, and only one them occurred inside the Octagon. At UFC 145, Browne submitted Chad Griggs via arm-triangle choke in the first round. The finish earned him a Submission of the Night bonus.
Overeem's X-Factor: Humility
There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance. Overeem found out the difference the hard way when he fought "Bigfoot" at UFC 156. After a cavalcade of trash talk, "The Demolition Man" was thoroughly embarrassed by the Brazilian.
Hopefully, Overeem learned his lesson from the loss and will engage Browne cautiously with his hands up. He doesn't have the chin for rope-a-dope, and it will only take Browne one punch to put an end to Overeem's hope of ever holding a UFC title.
Browne's X-Factor: Speed and Conditioning
When Browne enters the cage on fight night, he will give up over 30 pounds to Overeem. That size disparity will play a huge factor in the early goings of the fight.
Browne will have to utilize his speed to avoid Overeem's clinch; however, as the fight progresses, his conditioning will begin paying dividends.
Overeem's pace slowed dramatically in his last outing against "Bigfoot." If Browne can avoid the first-round onslaught, he will be able to mount a more effective offensive later in the fight.
This is a fight that will be won or lost on the feet, and if that is the case, then Overeem should walk away with the victory. Overeem will enter the fight with a do-or-die attitude. He won't make the same mistakes that he did against "Bigfoot" and allow arrogance to cloud his better judgement.
Browne has speed on his side, but Overeem's experience and superior striking will be the difference makers in this bout.
This is the stiffest test of Browne's career, and it is unlikely that he'll be able to handle the leap in competition. Overeem will use his size to clinch with Browne and then land hard knees en route to an early finish.
Overeem will leave the cage victorious and move one step closer to getting a shot at the UFC heavyweight strap.
Prediction: Overeem via TKO in the first round