Antonio Silva file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva will meet Rings veteran Valentijn Overeem in a heavyweight clash at Strikeforce “Henderson vs. Babalu” at the Scottrade Center on Dec. 4 in St. Louis. The long-rumored bout was made official via Strikeforce press release on Tuesday.
Valentijn is the older brother of Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and has over 50 career fights to his credit. Like his brother, Overeem trains out of the Golden Glory camp in the Netherlands. A former competitor in the Japanese promotion Rings, the elder Overeem made his professional debut in 1996. Though the Dutchman holds career wins over former five-time UFC champion Randy Couture, Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Ian “The Machine” Freeman, he's fallen on hard times as of late. Since 2001, “The Python” is only 13-17. Overeem is, however, coming off back-to-back knockout victories, both in 2010. His Dec. 4 clash with Silva will mark only his fourth fight in the United States and his first trip to America since he lost to Aaron Brink in 2002.
Only twice defeated in his MMA career, Silva is most recently coming off a win over former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in May. “Bigfoot” began his combat career in England, capturing the Cage Rage heavyweight title en route to winning his first seven fights as a professional. Silva finally tasted defeat in 2006, when he was knocked out by Eric Pele in the first round. The Brazilian would then proceed to win six straight fights, including a TKO victory over Justin Eilers that earned him the aforementioned EliteXC heavyweight title. Silva suffered his second and final loss to Strikeforce number one contender Fabricio Werdum last year.
The event will be headlined by a rematch pitting former multi-division champion Dan Henderson against Renato “Babalu” Sobral. The fighters first met 10 years ago in the final of Rings' King of Kings tournament. Also on the card will be a welterweight tilt between heavy-handed sluggers Paul Daley and Scott Smith as well as a middleweight contest featuring Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler.