John Heinis: On paper, this looks like a relatively easy win for “The Demolition Man.” Overeem has 14 knockout and 19 submissions in his career, so there’s no way a guy like Werdum could hang with him, right?
Well, once one digs a little deeper and realize that “Vai Cavalo” has already beaten Overeem by submission, things get a lot more interesting.
Werdum is a top 10, if not a top five, submission specialist in the business. Whether he caught him or not, he will very likely be the only man to submit Fedor Emelianenko.
Also, consider that Overeem has not gone past the second round in five years. If Werdum can avoid getting knocked out in the first three minutes or so, I really like his chances to come out on top again.
Overeem has the power and striking advantage, but Werdum has the better jiu jitsu and cardio.
The difference maker will be Werdum’s effectiveness off his back, being incredibly comfortable working submissions from his guard.
Given the noted weight and power disadvantage, I don’t think Werdum can pull off a submission again unless Overeem completely gasses out.
Still, I like Werdum to be the guy who proves he’s the legitimate heavyweight in this one.
Werdum via unanimous decision
Dana Becker: Say what you want about the way Strikeforce set up this Grand Prix Tournament, but they did provide quite an exciting opening round match between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum.
Overeem (34-11) is the current Strikeforce heavyweight champion, and he even holds the Dream heavyweight title as well. He hasn't lost since 2007, has competed in several of these tournament-style matches and has been in the cage with some of the biggest names in the sport.
The 'Demoltion Man' is in his prime right now, having made the successful transition from a light heavyweight to heavyweight. Of his 34 career wins, 14 have come by knockout and 19 have been won with a submission.
Werdum (14-4) though, could be the hottest fighter in the tourney right now, entering off a submission victory over Fedor Emelianenko in the summer of 2010. That win was the first against Fedor in 28 fights and propelled Werdum up the rankings.
After suffering a knockout defeat against current UFC No. 1 contender Junior dos Santos, Werdum re-grouped and has been untouchable, claiming wins over Mike Kyle and Antonio Silva, along with the Fedor victory.
This is the kind of fight that could end at any moment, as both men have the ability to either knock you out and lock you in an unbreakable submission.
With so much riding on this fight, expect both to come out a little slow, not wanting to make any costly mistakes in the early going. But, once the nerves get out of the way, this has the makings of Fight of the Year written all over it.
Overeem via second round submission (guillotine choke)
Jeffrey McKinney: Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem meets Fabricio Werdum in one of the most anticipated bouts in the tournament.
Overeem has not lost a fight since 2007, and has looked unstoppable with each fight ending in the first or second round.
Werdum is on a three fight win streak including his upset victory over Fedor Emelianenko last June.
Both men met at Pride Total Elimination Absolute back in 2006 where Werdum got the better of Overeem.
I believe Werdum is very capable in beating Overeem again as he has good hands and great submissions. But Overeem has looked like a completely different fighter since moving to heavyweight full time.
I believe Saturday will be his night, and he will move on to the next round.
Overeem by TKO
Dale De Souza: The Reem and Werdum fought at PRIDE Shockwave 2006, and by now I think we all know who won that one.
Overeem is a three-promotion Heavyweight Champion--he's the Heavyweight World Champ of DREAM, K-1, and Strikeforce, yet he's in the Grand Prix.
His foe is coming off of the Upset of The Century against Fedor Emelianenko but keep in mind that the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsoka (BJJ practitioner) has not been in active competition since defeating Emelienenko.
Ring rust could be a factor in this bout, which could put Werdum at a disadvantage.
Nevertheless, both men have stated that they are ready for this bout on Saturday, and both men anticipate seeing a more evolved version of their familiar foe when the two collide again.
Undoubtedly, Overeem is a different fighter from the man he was in PRIDE, as is Werdum, and in this bout, Overeem's power and his Muay Thai will force Werdum to hit the ground after a few short minutes of action.
Mind you, Werdum has notably good Muay Thai also and he will not make it easy. Still, unless he's picked up some overpowering wrestling from Mark Munoz, or trained with the likes of Peter Aerts in preparation for this fight, Werdum will have to hope Overeem does what Fedor did in their bout.
However, lightning striking twice for Werdum is something that just will not happen in Dallas--and against the champion, no less.
Overeem by R2 TKO (Knees and Strikes)
Sean Smith: I have never seen a fighter get as much unwarranted hype as Alistair Overeem. Don't get me wrong, he is super talented, but when was the last time he beat a legitimate contender in the heavyweight division?
On top of that, Overeem is a monstrous favorite over a fighter, Fabricio Werdum, who he was finished by in their last meeting.
Werdum will have to survive the first few minutes of this fight, where Overeem will charge at Werdum with everything he has in his striking arsenal.
However, Werdum showed that he can take a punch in his last fight against Fedor Emelianenko and he will find a way to bait Overeem into going to the ground in the later rounds.
Once on the ground, Werdum will wear Overeem down by forcing him to defend submission after submission.
In the end, it will be Werdum who will go on to meet Antonio Silva in the semifinals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Werdum by split decision