UFC 169: Alistair Overeem vs. Frank Mir Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir are two of the biggest stars in the heavyweight division, but they could be battling for their UFC lives at UFC 169 on Saturday.
In his UFC debut, Overeem established himself as a top contender by steamrolling former champion Brock Lesnar. However, the former Strikeforce titleholder has not won since then, losing to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne along the way.
Meanwhile, Mir has been slumping since his memorable submission win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. That victory earned him a title shot, which resulted in a knockout loss to Junior dos Santos. Mir followed that up with additional defeats against Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett.
With this pivotal heavyweight clash approaching, here is a look at how Overeem and Mir match up in all areas.
Alistair Overem may have been knocked out in his past two bouts, but he's still one of the more talented strikers in the heavyweight division.
"The Reem" is a former K-1 World Grand Prix champion and owns knockouts over Brock Lesnar, Todd Duffee and many others. Against a fighter like Frank Mir, who will be looking to clinch with him, Overeem's knees can be fight changers.
Mir, on the other hand, has never really been able to perfect his striking. Of the former champion's eight career losses, seven have come via knockout.
He has had some stand-up moments, stopping Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Filipovic with strikes, but there's little chance Mir will want to stand in this matchup.
Despite his striking credentials, Alistair Overeem will mix in takedowns.
The former Strikeforce champion has taken down Antonio Silva and Fabricio Werdum over his past four fights. If he is willing to go to the ground with those jiu-jitsu aces, chances are he won't be afraid to test his grappling against Mir on Saturday should he need to.
Realistically, though, Overeem won't be needing any takedowns in the matchup. It will be Mir who looks to take the fight to the canvas early and often.
Before his current skid against elite competition, Mir's wrestling was looking impressive as always. He scored seven combined takedowns in his bouts with Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, opponents who both arguably possess better defensive wrestling than Overeem.
Mir can take Overeem down, but he'll need to do so quickly.
With his nasty submission win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 140, Frank Mir cemented himself as one of the best heavyweight grapplers in MMA history.
In addition to Nogueira, Mir has tapped Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar, Cheick Kongo and several others. Offensively speaking, he might still be the best in the world once his fights hit the ground.
Alistair Overeem is no slouch on the ground, either.
The Dutch fighter has more submission wins to his name than Mir has total career victories. He's gone to the ground with Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and other great grapplers, but he's only tapped a pair of times, and one of those submissions was due to strikes.
If he does surrender a takedown, Overeem isn't going to roll over for Mir. That said, on the canvas, Mir is much more capable of finishing this fight than Overeem.
Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir both return to the Octagon for the first time since August 2013 on Saturday.
The heavyweights have not remained extremely busy recently. However, this will be far from the longest period of inactivity either man has seen.
Conditioning isn't a strong suit for either fighter, but they are heavyweights, so that is to be expected. Only 12 percent of their combined 73 official fights have gone to a decision, so cardio isn't likely to become a big factor anyway.
Both former champions of major organizations, Overeem and Mir have plenty of experience in big fights. While Mir has been competing inside the Octagon much longer, Overeem is comfortable under the spotlights. Perhaps even too comfortable at times.
In a fight lasting multiple rounds, Frank Mir would eventually force Alistair Overeem into his realm. The former UFC champion probably won't have long before he gets his chin tested by Overeem, though.
While Overeem isn't the best heavyweight wrestler going, he's only been taken down once in the past five years, and that takedown by Fabricio Werdum came in a victory for the Dutchman.
After back-to-back wake-up calls, Overeem will enter this fight with a renewed focus. More importantly, his takedown defense will be good enough to keep him upright until he tags Mir, whose chin has never been very sturdy.
Overeem defeats Mir by (T)KO in the first round.
Statistics via FightMetric.com.