Strikeforce Grand Prix: Full Breakdown of Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva

Sean SmithAnalyst IJune 20, 2011

Strikeforce Grand Prix: Full Breakdown of Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva

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    After his lackluster win over Fabricio Werdum at Strikefroce: Dallas, Alistair Overeem has moved on to the semifinals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, where he will meet Antonio Silva.

    Silva earned his spot in the semifinals with an upset victory over MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. The victory catapulted Silva into the mix as a top-10 heavyweight in the world and earned him long-overdue recognition from MMA fans around the world.

    The winner of this fight between Overeem and Silva will move onto the tournament finals, where they will meet the winner of another semifinal matchup between Josh Barnett and Sergei Kharitonov.

    Without further delay, let's take a look at how these two heavyweight behemoths match up against one another.

Striking

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    The 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Alistair Overeem is always looking to throw power punches and finish his opponents quickly. Against a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in Antonio Silva, Overeem's game plan is likely to be no different heading into this fight.

    The desperation showed by Fabricio Werdum to take Overeem to the ground serves as an example of how highly regarded Overeem's striking is. Silva may not go to the point of clasping his hands and begging for Overeem to go to the ground with him, as Werdum did, but there is no doubt that he won't want to stand with the Golden Glory product. 

    Advantage: Overeem

Takedowns/Clinch

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    These two categories have been combined because a majority of Silva's takedowns are a result of trips and throws from the clinch. Judging by Overeem's complete denial of Fabricio Werdum's double leg takedown attempts in his last fight, trips and throws might be Silva's only option to get the fight to the ground anyway, though he is much more explosive than Werdum.

    While Overeem will undoubtedly want to keep distance against Silva, tying up with Overeem will leave Silva vulnerable to eating one of Overeem's brutal knees. That is a risk Silva is going to have to be willing to take, though, because he will need to get this fight to the ground in order to win.

    Silva's size has allowed him to manhandle opponents from the clinch in past. However, Overeem is at another level of strength than any other opponent Silva has faced. Silva may be able to secure a trip or two from the clinch, but his few successful takedowns will come at an equal price. 

    Advantage: Push

     

     

Ground Game

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    Because of the massive success Alistair Overeem has found in striking with his opponents as of late, many forget that he can be dangerous on the ground as well. In fact, 54 percent of Overeem's victories have come by way of submission.

    Still, Overeem is playing with fire if he goes to the ground in this bout. Silva is powerful Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with outstanding top control and devastating ground-and-pound. If Silva is able to go to work from the top position for any extended amount of time in this fight, it could spell the end of Overeem's 10-fight winning streak.

    Advantage: Silva

Cardio

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    Alistair Overeem and Antonio Silva are both extremely large heavyweights with plenty of muscle to supply oxygen to. That being said, neither fighter has had much of an opportunity to display their conditioning throughout their careers, as both have only gone to decisions a handful of times.

    Neither fighter is going to be able to maintain a Clay Guida-like pace for three rounds, but both fighters are capable of going 15 minutes without gassing out to the point where it could cost them the fight. There's not enough of a noticeable discrepancy to give one fighter the advantage when it comes to cardio.

    Advantage: Push

Prediction

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    Antonio Silva poses a threat to Alistair Overeem if he is able to get this fight to the ground, but he is not going to be able to rag doll Overeem like he did in the second round of his fight with Fedor Emelianenko.

    A more likely scenario includes Overeem keeping his distance and then picking Silva apart once he is able to find his range. Overeem is on a mission to become the best heavyweight in the world and he sees a devastating finish of Silva as one more step toward achieving that goal.

    Prediction: Overeem defeats Silva by technical knockout in the first round.

     

    Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter here.