UFC 156: Overeem vs. Silva Saturday, February 2 – 11:00 p.m. ET
Mandalay Bay Events Center – Las Vegas, NV
Alistair Overeem (36-11-1) vs. Antonio Silva (17-4) Heavyweight bout
Line: Overeem -370, Silva +280
Back from a suspension due to a failed drug test that his kept him out of UFC since December 2011, Alistair Overeem will take on Antonio Silva on UFC 156’s main card heavyweight bout on Saturday night.
Overeem is an elite fighter having won 11 consecutive fights dating back to 2007 with one no-contest mixed in. His most recent wins, in 2011, were a quick TKO against Brock Lesnar and Fabricio Werdum. Those skills set him as a heavy favorite here, but Silva deserves some credit coming off his first UFC win. In that bout, he quickly KO-ed Travis Browne, who had been considered one of the rising stars in the heavyweight division. Prior to that, Silva was knocked out in the first round in two consecutive fights by Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier. While Overeem has been more consistently dominant, it’s tough to know exactly what the The Reem will bring to the table after so long away from the Octagon. Getting help from the lines, take SILVA to score a major upset and set himself up for a potential title bout.
The one thing about a fight with Overeem is that it will probably not go to the judges. With 36 career wins, he has won via decision just twice, owning 15 knockouts and 19 submissions to his name. Kickboxing is the main part of his game while he also incorporates Muay Thai and some grappling as he seeks a balanced, but aggressive approach. At 6-foot-5, he has a one-inch height advantage on Silva, but in this fight between two giants, that won’t matter as much as the condition they are in. If Overeem is the same fighter he was before the suspension, this fight should be his. But that is far from a guarantee.
Like Overeem, Silva likes to get fights done early and also just has two decision wins to his name. Twelve of his 17 career wins have been knockouts while he also has three submissions. Those submissions are a credit to his Jiu-Jitsu skills, but that also makes up a small part of his attack, as his karate and judo are more the basis of his style. An aggressive striker, Silva is agile and brings strong technique to the Octagon, making an opponent beat him rather than beating himself. If he capitalizes when Overeem gives him opportunities, this could be an upset in the making.