UFC 169: Overeem vs. Mir Fight Preview

20-18252_20

When former K-1 World Grand Prix/Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem entered the UFC over two years ago, many MMA savants and fans alike saw "The Reem" as a legit threat to one day take the crown – including us. After dismantling and retiring former heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar in his UFC debut, Overeem seemed to be on his way. That is until he ran into Bigfoot Silva.

Whether it be hype or ego, what followed were two consecutive losses to men Overeem clearly dominated in the early moments of — until he got foolish and/or gassed. He paid for it dearly.

Now Overeem has a chance to redeem himself against a fellow heavyweight who has also been on a losing streak lately, former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir. 

Let's take a closer look at this heavyweight collision in what can turn out to be one of these fighter's final bouts in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

 

Alistair Overeem (36-13)

Perhaps the most decorated heavyweight striker in all of MMA, Overeem is one of the most dangerous kickboxers in the world. From the clinch there is no one aside from Anderson Silva who is more feared than this man. His leg and body kicks are especially lethal also — just ask Lesnar. The biggest knock on Overeem however has always been that he seems to be a bit chinny, especially as of late.

In order to secure the win Overeem will have to use pressure to push his opponent against the cage. From there look for him to secure the clinch and attempt some of those vicious knee to body attacks he's become famous for. Mir has shown that he isn't particularly comfortable with his back against the cage and against a clinch master such as Overeem, expect to see those knees in that situation. 

Although Overeem has slimmed down and admittedly lost weight to work on his cardio issues he must still get the clinch early in the bout because he has shown a fading gas tank in recent bouts. As far as the ground game goes, only if Overeem can secure a dominant top position on Mir to rain down some serious leather should he be on the ground with his opponent. Otherwise Overeem should stay clear of Mir's impressive BJJ pedigree. 

 

Frank Mir (16-8)

The premiere BJJ artist of the UFC's heavyweight division, Mir is coming off of a controversial loss to Josh Barnett in what seemed to be an early referee stoppage due to a flash Mir knockdown. Because of this you know Mir is chomping at the bit to get back into the win column.

Besides his top shelf submission game the southpaw Mir is also a very good striker with KO power particularly from his left hand. Mir will need to keep this fight either in the middle of the octagon or on the ground to be successful. He must keep his opponent from pushing him to the fence and keep circling until he can land a takedown or surprise Overeem with a big shot. 

If he survives the early Overeem onslaught and can take it into the later rounds, Mir should have an edge in the grappling department. If there is any fighter who has a "puncher's chance" to get the job done it is Frank Mir.

 

The Bottom Line

According to Bodog, Overeem (-350) is the favorite over Mir (+265) and this makes perfect sense. Overeem is the more hyped of the two fighters and the more recently successful. His last two opponents have either gone on to fight for the title (Bigfoot) or they're very well on their way (Browne). However, you can never count out a fighter as dangerous and proven as Mir. Whatever happens let's hope both men go into the bout ready to die on their shield and pull out all the stops to possibly save their respected UFC careers. 

Zachary Hutton is the lead boxing writer and an MMA contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can see what he's up to at his band's website myunclethewolf.com or also subscribe on Facebook.