Contributor: Benjamin Kohn
A battle between two behemoths in the Heavyweight division, K-1 GP winner and horse exterminator Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem will take on the biggest (literally) prospect at Heavyweight and resident UFC jumping bean Travis “Hapa” Browne. Both of these fighters are strikers and have serious knockout power. Both are huge men with Overeem at 6’4 and 260 while Browne is 6’7 and 240. Will the K-1 GP champion be able to re-establish himself as a top dog at Heavyweight and gain a title shot or will the young prospect topple the Reem from his lofty perch? Well if you don’t read my breakdown, you won’t find out till Saturday night so scroll down peasants.
Alistair Overeem is an absolute monster. He is basically the Dutch Hulk with less green and more doucheyness. His striking though is no joke and he uses it to devastating effect when he actually takes his opponent seriously. Alistair is not a very fast or agile man. He has to realize that and against Bigfoot Silva, his imitation of Anderson Silva got him knocked into his old Pride 205 pound frame. Reem’s game is a stalking, single-strike counter style using his power to land massive shots to his opponent, whether with his Uberknees or punches. His best punch by far is his cross counter right hand. He packs a hell of a wallop in that punch and can knock out virtually any man alive with it. He also possesses a very good left hook which he developed a bit later in his fighting career but he has honed it into a deadly weapon. However, we all know he loves to land those massive knees to the body and against Browne, who has a large lengthy torso; he has a large target to work with. Should Alistair fight with a purpose, I expect him to come out very measured and keeping a tight guard with a bit of a lower base if Browne comes out looking for a takedown. He will look to counter the quicker, more agile Browne with hard counters rights and knees before moving outside his range to reset. Reem should avoid being cornered and needs to stay out in the open. If he does that, it’s his fight to lose.
Travis Browne’s striking style can best be described as…eclectic. He is a massive Heavyweight yet bounces around like a Welterweight. He does not have a traditional style, or any particular rhythm that is apparent for the most part. The way I see it, he uses his athletic ability and immense size to get into his own flow in the striking game, firing off strikes from odd angles, especially his combinations. The one thing Browne seems to really have gotten down pat are his legs kicks. He does a very good job or slamming his shin into your thigh bone from both inside and outside. However, he does not have a very good defensive guard as he keeps his hands far away from his head, often squaring up and extending his arms when his opponents come in. What saves him is his length that keeps away his opponents. The problem is when he fights someone his own size or near it, such as Bigfoot Silva. Injury aside (it’s Browne’s own damn fault for throwing spinning and jumping kicks that didn’t even land) Bigfoot took advantage of these defensive flaws and put Browne down really hard with some monstrous punches. The thing with Browne’s unorthodox striking is that many of the odd angled punches and kicks he throws don’t really land or when they do they don’t land very hard. Against a guy like Overeem, that is just asking for trouble because throwing wild, desperation strikes to keep him off of you is what Lesnar did and he paid dearly for it with what was left of his intestines. Bottom line is that Reem, while he can be cocky, is a genuinely great striker with insane power. Browne relies on his size and speed for such a huge man to throw his opponents off. While that may work on lower level Heavyweights, it won’t here. Edge in striking goes to Overeem.
In the clinch we have two guys who don’t really use it for many things other than to knee you in the legs and body. Alistair has shown the ability to hit some throws from the clinch but for the most part, both Reem and Browne will push you up against the fence and knee you continuously. Browne has been able to do this against smaller guys but had some serious trouble in the clinch against Cheick Kongo and Reem is much stronger than Kongo. As mentioned before, Reem can hit you with some sweet takedowns from the clinch, although he doesn’t do so very often. When he does, he does so with authority slamming you down and landing on top of you with his weight fully pressing down on you and it is not fun to be under him like that I imagine. The edge definitely goes to Reem in the clinch since Browne cannot bully Reem and Reem is a takedown threat while Browne is not.
The takedown is something that will decide what happens in this bout. Browne has a decent shot when he isn’t completely gassed and he shoots in really fast for someone his size. Once on top of you, his ground and pound is really vicious and he tries to hurt you badly with every single strike he throws. Despite submitting Chad Griggs with a beautiful arm triangle…well it was Chad Griggs. While I am sure he is competent with submissions, his bread and butter on the ground are his ground strikes. He needs to open up against Reem should he get him on his back because of the whole questionable chin thing. Reem is not exactly great off his back, especially since the muscle gain, but he is competent enough to not be submitted by someone like
Browne. Browne needs to use his striking to make Reem keep his posture up so that his hips are unprotected and get in on those legs and hips as soon as he can. Aside from that, Browne’s top game is quite brutal while his bottom game has yet to be seen much. He needs to worry about staying on top though and I hope he has been working on his takedown game because he will need it.
Reem’s takedown game is more clinch based than blast doubles. His top game is based off a steady stream of ground and pound and his submission skills are actually pretty good from someone not coming from a submission heavy background. Although most of his submissions came before his muscle gain, he still is a threat from the top. His massive frame also wears on his opponents and can tire you out. Browne needs to be wary should he be taken down because the combination of Overeem’s hard strikes and savvy submission skills are a two pronged threat that he wants no part of. When it comes to pure takedowns, Browne has the edge but Reem’s takedown defense is pretty damn good. In grappling, I will give the edge to Browne as well because of his awesome ground and pound and dangerous top game.
Cardio is the final issue since both have shown that they will gas in long drawn out fights. Reem will tire the more you make him work and if you can drag him into the later rounds, he is vulnerable to being hit. Browne is exactly the same way and it will really come down to whether either one can take the other out quickly or if it goes late, who tires first.
Reem’s striking and ability to stop the takedown are what this fight hinges on. Browne will most likely do everything to get the takedown because Greg Jackson FTW. Reem will know he needs a win and will act like it. Reem will not let this fight slip through his grasp and will be measured and controlled. Alistair Overeem by KO round 2.
-Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @agentbenten.