Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown of MMA Oddsbreaker takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at a Pay-Per-View heavyweight contest at UFC 213 as former champion Fabricio Werdum takes on Alistair Overeem.
Alistair Overeem (Record: 42-15, -130 Favorite, Power Ranking: B+)
The 37-year-old England-born former kickboxer turned MMA fighter is the best technical striker in the heavyweight division. He's as accurate a striker as there is in MMA, with 61 percent of his significant strikes landing. As he's gotten older, he's become even more calculated, waiting for his opportunity to pounce when he sees an opportunity. Overeem is physically imposing for the weight class, standing at 6-foot-4 with an 80-inch reach. He's more than capable of landing kicks from the outside and timing punches to hurt his opponent. As he's gotten older, he has needed to be much more careful. Overeem rarely seems himself in grappling exchanges. He's been taken down by an opponent only once in his last seven fights.
Fabricio Werdum (Record: 21-6, +110 Underdog, Power Ranking: B+)
The former UFC heavyweight champion has won seven of his last eight bouts overall, including a stunning victory over then-champ Cain Velasquez in June 2015.
Perhaps the most improved striker in MMA over the past couple years. Werdum landed 87 significant strikes in a three-round decision win over Travis Browne last year. Not only is Werdum landing with volume, but he's done a great job of working in strikes to the body to wear down his opponents. Werdum takes very little damage in his fights. He's only absorbed 2.24 significant strikes a minute, which is a very low number compared to his heavyweight contemporaries. Werdum combines his improved striking prowess with the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skill set in the history of the heavyweight division. He's a two-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion, and he has shown that in the cage with 10 of his 21 wins by submission.
A key contest in the UFC's heavyweight division pits Overeem versus Werdum. In recent fights, Werdum has been mainly able to move to the top of division with his enhanced striking ability. However, he's not going to have the advantage in this fight, and that's going to be the difference. Overeem is as good a striker as there is in this division and has the reach and ability to fend away Werdum's striking attempts. Overeem has beaten better strikers in his current run of form and will be able to get the better of the striking in this matchup. Werdum will not be able to drag Overeem to the mat, where he could potentially earn a submission. In a prolonged striking matchup, Overeem is at a major advantage and should win this fight, either by clear decision or by knockout. Sitting at -130, the moneyline option on Overeem is worth a bet. If you are looking for something at plus-odds, the points handicap of Overeem -3.5 +130 should be a consideration.
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