UFC 156, the UFC’s big offering on Super Bowl weekend just got bigger as they have added a Heavyweight bout featuring the long awaited return of Alistair Overeem as he takes on ‘Bigfoot’ Antonio Silva. Overeem’s appearance is contingent on his meeting all the requirements for a license, since he is coming off a suspension for steroid use, and Silva is coming off a UFC job saving victory over Travis Browne in his last appearance. Forcing Overeem to fight a non title fight and win before entering the title is the right thing to do, and Silva is definitely a credible opponent. This won’t stop Overeem from coming in heavily favored when the odds are made….
But the big question will remain until fight time, which is why I am going to wait until the weigh ins to make a potential play on this one. Overeem is likely a habitual PED user throughout his career. The sheer mass he has added since coming onto the international scene is one indicator, as is the fact that PED testing is not done with any consistency or frequency, if at all, by most of the organizations that Overeem has participated in (K-1, PRIDE, 2H2H etc).
Overeem avoided the standard US tests in his time fighting for STRIKEFORCE (the matches were in Texas and Missouri, avoiding the bigger commissions) and he may or may not have been tested in his lone UFC appearance in Vegas when he fought Brock Lesnar. He was caught on a random test when facing the heightened checks required of a title match, and claimed it was due to a doctor’s injection. I call BS on that one, but whatever.
Silva is going to have a tall order here. He is going to need to control Overeem, and push him up against the fence, and eventually he is going to need to put him on his back. His best out will be to submit Overeem, which is not easy. Or beat on him for three rounds, getting him down each time, which is also not easy.
Things will hinge on how much mass and strength Overeem will have, or not have, come fight time. If he is anywhere close to his former self, he should make short work of the slow footed Silva, who has been exposed as not ready for the top athletes. But Im waiting to see what my eyes tell me about OVereem come weigh in time!