Alistair Overeem had a successful, but frustrating, outing Saturday night. | File photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem avenged his 2006 defeat to Fabricio Werdum Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, but the Dutch “Demolition Man” wasn’t exactly ecstatic about his performance.
Overeem walked away with a unanimous nod in his Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix quarterfinal contest with Werdum, patiently picking his shots while stifling nearly all of Werdum’s attempts to bring the fight to the floor.
“Considering that Fabricio is the best grappler in MMA, the game plan was to not go into his game. I consider myself, with the K-1 title, the best striker in MMA, so I wanted to keep it standing,” said Overeem in a post-fight interview with Showtime Sports. “He made so many takedown attempts. It was a little frustrating to me, because I couldn’t finish him in that first [round], and I also couldn’t deliver the fight that I wanted to deliver to the fans.”
As the fight progressed, Werdum’s shots became more and more desperate, with the Brazilian even pulling guard on a number of occasions. It seemed that much of the bout consisted of Werdum on his back, inviting his foe to join him on the ground. In response, Overeem held his hands out at shoulder level, beckoning the BJJ black belt to return to his feet.
Though Werdum charged forward late and landed his best offense as the fight came to a close, all three judges -- Nelson Hamilton, Kerry Hatley and Cecil Peoples -- would see Overeem as the winner. Though the Dutchman appeared winded during his immediate post-fight interview, “The ‘Reem” asserted that his cardio was not an issue. Instead, the muscled Golden Glory representative once again apologized to his fans.
“We worked a lot on my cardio. I wasn’t worried about that,” said Overeem. “He just did not want to stand and bang with me, and I expected that. He had a lot of words before the fight, so it’s a pity. My apologies to the fans.”
Up next for the champ is a tournament semifinal clash with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, the hulking Brazilian who battered former Pride Fighting Championships king Fedor Emelianenko their February quarterfinal.
“I’m not going to talk about my fight strategy [against Silva]. I never do that, but I will say that he’s a very tough opponent. He’s a big guy; I think the biggest in the heavyweight division. He’s well-rounded, but we already have our game plan for him.”