Alistair Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell: Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Before Gegard Mousasi and Ronald Souza settle their differences inside the Octagon Friday night, surging heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Ben Rothwell will let the leather fly.
Now while somebody on the outside looking in would peg this divisional matchup as a feeding for Overeem's lion-like appetite, Rothwell is the last guy you want to overlook.
With some of the heaviest hands in the weight class, the 32-year-old is always one punch away from pulling off the impossible, especially against a guy like Overeem who has been finished in two of his last three fights.
With that said, in a matchup that could produce the next heavyweight contender on the doorstep of the division's Top 5, here is a head-to-toe breakdown for Friday's titanic collision.
Raw power is Rothwell's forte.
He uses it time and time again to push through opponents, overcome adversity and solidify victories that would otherwise fall wayside.
It's unlikely that "Big Ben" will demolish Overeem in a matter of minutes, but considering "The Reem" hasn't displayed the best of chins lately, it's possible that Rothwell can secure the knockout.
That's not to say that Overeem doesn't possess deadly finishing ability in the majority of his offensive strikes, but when it comes to innate strength and pure punching power, Rothwell is simply a cut above.
This is as close as comparing Die Hard to Undercover Brother.
As a rather stagnant offensive force that plods forward, throws his inhibitions to the wind and looks to land one humongous punch, Rothwell just isn't the same striker as Overeem.
He may command more respect in the power department, but when it comes to truly mixing it up with elbows, leg kicks, body kicks, combinations and calculated precision, "The Reem" is in a heavyweight category of his own.
With that said, Overeem needs to stay patient and understand when to unleash his dynamic fruits of labor or else Rothwell will catch him when he least expects it.
Overeem is the master of the clinch.
Just ask Travis Browne.
With a strong base, juggernaut knees and the power to make each strike count, the 34-year-old has made a living out of turning opponent's insides into minced meat.
Now while Rothwell is a rather large and in-charge heavyweight, Overeem should still be able to utilize his Muay Thai plum, separate himself inside and land devastating knees to the body.
There's little room for error for Rothwell when he finds himself in this predicament so it's key that he avoids it entirely.
MAJOR ADVANTAGE: OVEREEM
Neither Overeem nor Rothwell are respectable wrestlers.
As two heavyweights who prefer to work out their troubles on the feet, wrestling is rarely something they incorporate into their game plans.
Based on the level of competition they surround themselves with during training camp, it's likely that Overeem is capable of doing more when faced with an opportunity to secure a takedown or keep an opponent on his back.
Rothwell doesn't have the best track record for getting back to his feet, but that shouldn't come into play during this fight.
If anything, he'll be the one trying to take Overeem down.
As prolific and dangerous as both of these towering heavyweights are on their feet, they've combined for 30 career finishes by way of submission.
That's pretty impressive.
Now while Overeem carries a more tailored background and track record for grappling, Rothwell is no worse than above-average when it comes to securing a choke or stuffing transitions.
And that's saying something, because a lot of heavyweights only know how to strike.
In any case, due to the level of competition that Overeem has faced and for the fact that a good portion of Rothwell's submission wins were drawn from opponent's injuries, "The Reem" is going to get the nod in a department that probably won't matter come Friday night.
This is a tough one.
Overeem seems like the obvious choice when it comes to possessing the "x-factor" inside of the cage, but his recent quarrels suggest otherwise.
Rothwell on the other hand is an upset victory waiting to happen. His aggressive style and brutish ways often present him with windows of opportunities, some of which he punches through and others that close quicker than CD stores.
Now it's likely that both fighters will be given their fair chance to inflict damage, implement their strategic game plans and work the scorecards come Friday, but when it comes down to overcoming adversity, shutting out the haters and pulling off a memorable finish, Rothwell takes the cake.
SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: ROTHWELL
No matter how likeable and how hard Rothwell hits, Overeem's talent is just too top-heavy to not spill over onto this division.
He has obviously had his struggles, but that doesn't mean his recent destruction of Mir isn't the step in the right direction that "The Reem" has been looking for.
For him to truly cash in on this opportunity and bury a guy as willing to exchange as Rothwell, he needs to keep his head on a swivel, stay busy, remain patient and try not to empty his gas tank in the first few minutes of the fight.
If we learned anything from Rothwell's fight with Cain Velasquez, it's that he's not an easy guy to put away.
That means Overeem needs to play his cards right, look for the right opening and unload a can of Dutch demolition over a guy who looks like he pulls tractors for a living.
VERDICT: OVEREEM VIA SECOND-ROUND TKO
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