Strikeforce Results: Five Reasons Antonio Silva Will Beat Alistair Overeem

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAFeatured Columnist IVMarch 30, 2017

Strikeforce Results: Five Reasons Antonio Silva Will Beat Alistair Overeem

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    Photo credit: Strikeforce/Esther Lin
    Photo credit: Strikeforce/Esther Lin

    Alistair Overeem's victory over Fabricio Werdum Saturday at Strikeforce Dallas set up a huge heavyweight battle between Overeem, the current Strikeforce champion, and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, one of the hottest heavyweights on the planet.

    The winner will advance to the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix final.

    With the UFC's parent company having recently purchased Strikeforce, and with neither of these men displaying a lot of shyness when it comes to expressing their aspirations for the Octagon, there's a lot more potentially riding on this fight than a flashy trophy.

    This should be a great fight between two massive human beings, but I think Bigfoot is in a good position to pull the mild upset in this one.

    Here are five reasons why.

5. Silva Can Put Overeem on His Back

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    Silva may not have Werdum's jiu-jitsu credentials, but he is a BJJ black belt and has two submission victories on his record.

    The threat of a gogoplata is not what makes Silva such a menace on the ground, however. He's a menace because he can actually get his opponents there (his takedown success rate is about 70 percent, according to CompuStrike), and once there can work for the mount and commence to pounding. It would obviously also go a long way toward neutralizing Overeem's dynamic standup.

    Overeem stopped 11 of Werdum's 12 takedown attempts last night (according to FightMetric), but those did not exactly constitute an irresistible force. We'll see how Overeem's takedown defense holds up against a determined and able heavyweight in Bigfoot.

4. Silva Has Knockout Power

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    I'll again go to CompuStrike on this one.

    Silva lands about 60 percent of his strikes, and of those, about 68 percent are power shots. That does a lot to explain why a whopping 12 of his 16 victories have come by way of a knockout or other striking-related stoppage.

    Overeem is a terrific striker in his own right, but for all his skill and shredded muscle, he doesn't appear to have quite as much dynamite in his hands as do some of his heavyweight contemporaries like Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and, yes, Antonio Silva.

    Overeem has also shown he is prone to the power shot, with seven of his 11 losses coming by KO or another striking-related stoppage.

    I'm not saying Silva should hang in the pocket with the K-1 champion, but he does have a big weapon at his disposal that history shows us could match up well against one of Overeem's chief weaknesses.

3. Pick on Somebody Your Own Size

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    Photo credit: Scott Peterson, MMA Weekly
    Photo credit: Scott Peterson, MMA Weekly

    Silva clocks in at 6'4", 264 pounds. Overeem is 6'5", 256 pounds. Just for comparison's sake, Werdum is 6'4" and 246 pounds.

    Something tells me Overeem won't be able to whip Silva to the ground like a rag doll the way he has against Werdum and others in the past.

2. Cardio, Cardio, Cardio

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    It was evident to anyone who tuned in to the post-fight interview last night that Overeem, gasping for breath throughout the Q&A, was one exhausted individual.

    Silva isn't exactly known as a paragon of endurance, but he has shown he can go the distance while working hard in the process, putting his cardio to use through his surprising quickness both in his hands and his feet.

    No one's going to confuse Silva with Muhammad Ali. But his strategy could conceivably incorporate Overeem's demonstrated tendency to gas.

1. Bullying the Bully

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    Photo credit:  ESPN
    Photo credit: ESPN

    This one sort of combines the previous four.

    So much of Overeem's game is based on being a physical specimen who basically bum rushes the other man and overwhelms him with power and flying patellas. Overeem has been less successful when an opponent has the tools to make him look before he leaps.

    I believe Antonio Silva is in that category.

    I think Bigfoot has the combination of size, power, takedown ability, ground and pound and submissions to make Overeem think. And once he starts thinking, the edge comes off of his attack.