STRIKEFORCE Heavyweight Grand Prix: Overeem Uninspiring, Werdum “Shameful”

Lacklustre showing from the much hyped Dutchman but is through nonetheless

Alistair Overeem is through to the semi-final of the STRIKEFORCE heavyweight Grand Prix despite a distinctly underwhelming performance against Fabricio Werdum. Although he has able to stuff Werdum’s takedown attempts with ease, a vengeful Overeem was unable to get the knockout the fans expected.

Going into the fight, the clashing of styles was very evident. A K-1 Grand Prix winner versus a jiu-jitsu world champion — this was the quintessential striker versus grappler. Cards on the table, Overeem wanted it standing, Werdum on the ground.

So perhaps it was no surprise to see Werdum immediately look for the takedowns. However, his reluctance to set them up with strikes meant that they were telegraphed and Overeem could simply ragdoll the Brazilian to the mat. I suppose Overeem’s excessive body strength was also a factor.

Werdum was overly fearful of Overeem on the feet and, after a series of failed takedown attempts, he resorted to baiting, daring Overeem to join him on the ground. You could say this blatant disclination to venture into specific areas of the fight highlights how one — dimensional both fighters are.

A Hundred Battles

Was Werdum Robbed?

There is a whisper of an argument that Werdum was deserving of the win. The post-fight analysis suggests a closer fight than it had first appeared. Amazingly, Werdum landed more strikes, landed the same amount of takedowns and attempted submissions.

You could say Overeem landed more significant strikes and had knockdowns but Werdum wasn’t hurt and was merely pulling guard. Like in the Fedor fight, Werdum was trying to lure Overeem in with the false sense of an imminent stoppage. Another aspect in favour of the Dutchman was that he held the dominant position on the ground but it was a position that Werdum gave him and a position that Werdum wanted. Despite being on top, being in Werdum’s guard was not part of Overeem’s plan.

Barnett Triumphant

In the co-main event Josh Barnett showed Werdum how to do it by giving Brett Rogers a grappling clinic, finishing him with a second sound submission to earn his place in the semi-finals. The former UFC champ took Rogers down with ease and from there the result seemed inevitable. Smothering him on the ground, Barnett effortlessly transitioned up to mount an exhausted Rogers.

Rogers made it to the second round despite being mounted for the vast majority of the first. However the struggle had sapped his energy and, after attempting a takedown of his own, was countered and Barnett was once again on top position once again. Despite being able to avoid serious damage from strikes, “The Grim” was unable to stop a tight arm triangle from being cinched in and Rogers was added to Barnett’s long list of submission victims.




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