Connect with us


UFC Rotterdam: Overeem vs. Arlovski Breakdown

Dan Tom





Alistair Overeem (40-14-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’5″ Age: 35 Weight: 257 lbs Reach: 80″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Junior Dos Santos (12-19-15)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Strikeforce Heavyweight Title
+   K-1 Grand Prix World Champion
+   19 KO victories
+   31 first round finishes
+   17 Submission wins
+   KO Power
+   90% finish rate
+   Accurate striker (landing at 75%)
+   Strong & clever inside clinch
^   Dangerous knees
+   Will switch stances
^   Favors body kicks from southpaw
+   Solid shifting attacks
+/-Requires space to operate
+   Good grip-fighting/ground striking
–    Tends to lower hands
^   Dropped in 4 of last 7 fights



Andrei Arlovski (25-11)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 37 Weight: 242 lbs Reach: 77″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Stipe Miocic (1-2-16)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Heavyweight Champion
+   Multiple Sambo Accolades
+   17 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   13 First round finishes
+   KO Power
^   Heavy hands
+   85% Takedown defense
+   Accurate right hand
+   Deceptive foot & hand speed
+/-Blitzes in after hurting opposition
^   Open to counter shots
+   Strong inside the clinch
+/-Effectively stalls from bottom
–    Often retreats w/head upright
–    Holds/retracts hands low
^   Dropped/hurt in last 3 fights


UFC Rotterdam culminates in a heavyweight showdown as Alistair Overeem meets Andrei Arlovski in the main event. Coming off an impressive knockout over Junior Dos Santos last December, Overeem will look to further his 3-fight winning streak and make a claim for the title by beating another former Champion. Coming off a disappointing loss to Stipe Miocic earlier this year, Andrei Arlovski was where Alistair is now, as he was seemingly one win away from a title shot of his own. Still in the mix, Arlovski will look to complete his comeback story by upsetting Overeem in front of his home crowd.

To add to the high-level of intangibles that already come in heavyweight fights, these two men have been training in the same facility as one another for the past few years now. Although they are not reportedly friends by any stretch and have spent surprisingly little time training with each other, the nature of this situation may likely produce the unexpected. Often when fighting someone from the same gym, the common knowledge of coaches or the fighters themselves can add a subconscious insecurity to the equation. In other words, when two fighters who are familiar with one another meet, the emotions often take over and usually manifest themselves into boring fights or barn burners.

We saw one part of this scenario play out in Arlovski’s fight with former stablemate Travis Browne. In fact, 3 of 5 of Andrei’s last bouts have come against former Jackson-Wink affiliated fighters(Browne, Mir, & Schaub). Although Overeem is the justified on-paper favorite, facts like that lead me to believe the intangible advantages are with Arlovski. And despite the advancing age of 37, the former UFC Champ still carries the skills needed to win this fight: speed and power.

Keeping a natural spring in his step, Andrei still displays the agile foot & hand speeds that have kept his game going through all these years. Utilizing feints & throwing just enough variety to set up big shots, Arlovski is deceptively accurate with his patent right-hand. That said, Andrei arguably favors his right-hand too often as he has become very predictable in his approach. More troubling than his approach is his retreats, as Arlovski still shows a bad habit of backing up with his head high. Andrei will have to mind this against an accurate striker like Alistair, especially off the breaks as Arlovski tends to retract his hands low.

Andrei’s best chances on the feet will be by applying pressure to Overeem. Alistair has a dangerous & dynamic arsenal at his disposal, but the Reem requires a lot of space to operate effectively. Fortunately for Overeem, Andrei shows a very measured aggression behind his feints as he often repeats the same patterns. Not to mention that this is a 5-round affair and with Arlovski showing a suspect gas tank in recent years, I question how hard he will be able to push Alistair in this fight.

Never the less, there will still be ample opportunity that will likely come Andrei’s way if he can capitalize. Although Alistair’s shifting attacks could especially be effective given Andrei’s manner of retreat, Shifts are by nature an aggressive tactic that leaves the door open for counters. And considering how Overeem will often close distances with low hands, he could get more than he bargains for if he’s not careful with his favored knee entries.

Although Andrei has abandoned offensive grappling long ago, his Sambo roots still hold strong in his clinch game as he stifles not only takedowns but the overall action as well. Regardless of this I still feel that Overeem should have a distinct advantage inside the clinch. Even though Alistair is known for his devastating knees, he has shown effective hip-rotations from the body-lock in recent bouts. In his fight with Struve, we saw Alistair use this to rotate the Skyscraper to the floor where he finished the fight. Whereas in his fight with Roy Nelson, he was able to parlay failed rotations into opportunities by guiding his oppositions weight/direction right into strikes off the break(Similarly to Holm vs Rousey).

Should Alistair get Arlovski down, expect a subtle but important battle in regards to grip fighting. A master staller, Arlovski has no shame in his intentions for over-hooks & collar-ties to avoid damage. In fact, he has consistently earned stand-ups with this method as officials are usually quicker to stand up heavier fighters. That said, Overeem does an excellent job at hand-fighting which in turn makes him so effective in striking from the top. It is hard to see this one going the full 5-rounds, but I said the same thing with Dos Santos & Rothwell. Although I would love to see Andrei score the upset, it is hard to go against the hometown hero in this one.

Official Pick: Overeem – Inside the distance



Antonio Silva (19-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 36 Weight: 265 lbs Reach: 82″
  • Last Fight: KO loss / Mark Hunt (11-14-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   15 KO victories
+   2 Submission wins
+   12 First round finishes
+   KO power
+   Deceptively agile on feet
+   Hard R. leg & body kicks
+   Puts combos together well
+   Dangerous/Aggressive against fence
+   Strong top game
^   Solid ground striker
–    Control susceptibility on bottom
^   Favors deep half-guard
–    Head vulnerable off strikes
^   Hurt/dropped in 6 of last 7 fights



Stefan Struve (26-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 7’0″ Age: 28 Weight: 265 lbs Reach: 84.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Jared Rosholt (11-14-15)
  • Camp: Blackzilians (Florida/Netherlands)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Cage Gladiators Heavyweight Title
+   16 Submission wins
+   7 KO victories
+   16 First round finishes
+   Strong front Teep kicks
+   Hard leg kicks
+   Accurate right hand
+   Improved takedown defense
^   Off cage & inside the clinch
+   Moves/scrambles well on the mat
+   Dangerous ground game
^   Favors triangle chokes
–    Overhand availability
–    Traditionally takes damage
–    6/8 losses in the first round


The co-main event in Rotterdam features a crossroads match at heavyweight, as Antonio “Big Foot” Silva meets Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve. With only three victories between them since 2012, this fight should speak loudly as to where each man is in their career. In what is arguably the most intangible filled fight on the card, I will attempt to highlight what we may be looking at in this contest.

For Stefan Struve, this will be a chance to not only return home but return to the form that earned him the title of prospect. Having a tougher time than most young fighters do when it comes to adjusting to his growing frame, Stefan’s troubles came to be due to a heart-related issue. Thankfully Struve was properly medicated and cleared to return to action, however, we still haven’t quite seen the same fighter as before.

Stefan said on the Anik & Florian Podcast that everything fell apart after his fight with Hunt, as he feared to push his heart back to the same breakneck pace as before. In looking back at his last four fights, you can see that Stefan was struggling to pull the trigger. Genuinely excited and confident for his return home, Stefan promises that he is fully recovered and ready for this fight.

Facing noted health issues of his own, “Big Foot” Silva has struggled in recent years after a TRT ban and multiple failed tests. Demonstrating inconsistent performances and even in-fight durabilities, Antonio’s only official win in over three years was over another fighter who was on his way out. Always a hard worker, Big Foot has doubled his efforts for resurgence as he has been training religiously at American Top Team.

With only 13 takedown attempts between both men’s UFC careers, I am not sure I expect a ground-heavy approach from either fighter. Although, I do feel that Antonio may have more motive to do so, especially given his toolkit and the way they stack up on paper. That said, Silva primarily attempts his takedowns against the fence, an area where Stefan has shown market improvement. Despite an aging Minotauro Nogueira not being the best measuring stick as far wrestling goes, Struve did show some real technical improvements in not just defending takedowns, but killing clinch engagements and circling out.

Although Struve’s fight with Rosholt was seemingly stranger, we still saw Stefan show these improvements as he was able to defend & adjust as the fight went on. Despite that being one of the more painful fights of recent memory, I do not feel it is a condemnation of Struve’s potential career. That said, if Stefan finds himself on the bottom of Big Foot, he cannot afford to be as lackadaisical as he was against Rosholt.

Known more for his knockout power, it is Silva’s ground striking that is truly devastating, as the Black Belt’s positional based game compliments it well. Even though it does not take much to get Antonio going from topside, he may not find the success he is accustom to as he faces the rare opponent who is larger than him. Moving deceptively well for big man, Struve does so by displaying an excellent use of leg dexterity to compliment his length. Also demonstrating solid agility in his hips, Struve has shown to parlay failed submissions and guard-retentions into get-up opportunities in recent fights.

Even though both men may have their chances on the floor, I feel this fight may ultimately be decided standing. There, both men show similarities in style & susceptibilities, from their attack arsenals to overhand availabilities(caused by their height/upright standing guards). Although Silva has shown more consistency in stringing together combinations, he traditionally is only effective when getting his opponents back to the fence. That’s where I see the overall exchanges favoring Struve, who has a solid Teep kick and ability to circle that may dictate the terms of offense.

Heavyweight MMA is insane to try and predict on its own, much less in a fight like this, as I strongly caution any plays here. With both men’s health issues & inconsistencies, I have to believe that the 28-year old fighter has more upside than the 36-year old who has been hurt or dropped in 6 of 7 of his last outings.

Official Pick: Struve – Inside the distance



Gunnar Nelson (14-2-1)

Staple info:

  • Height:5’11” Age: 27 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Demian Maia (12-12-15)
  • Camp: SBG Ireland (Iceland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   Brown Belt Karate
+   9 Submission wins
+   11 First round finishes
+   Good distance management
^   Closes it quickly
+   Deceptive wrestling ability
^   Strong from the clinch
–    Low standing guard
^   Counter availabilities
+   Accurate shot selections
^   Well timed cross (both sides)
+   Excellent top game
^   Seamless transitions & passes



Albert Tumenov (17-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 24 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Lorenz Larkin (1-2-16)
  • Camp: K Dojo (New Jersey)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Master of Sports: Boxing
+   11 KO victories
+   10 First round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Accurate left hook
+   Manages distance well
+   Excellent right hand
^   Creates subtle openings w/angles
+   Dangerous head kicks (both sides)
+   Strong core/counter wrestling
^   Good bridges & scrambles from bottom
–    Body & leg kick vulnerabilities
^   Often baits/catches to counter


In a battle of Europe’s top welterweight prospects, Gunnar Nelson and Albert Tumenov will each be looking to make a statement in Rotterdam. Steadily stringing together wins and creating rumblings amongst hardcore fans, Tumenov will now get his biggest name opponent on his second main card stint. Coming off a tough loss to Damian Maia last December, Gunnar Nelson will look to get back on track with a win over the tough Russian.

Although appearing to be a striker vs grappler matchup at first glance, I feel this fight comes down to distance management. What makes that hypothesis so interesting is that each fighter’s game is dependent on their conduction of distance, as each man will apply their mastery of range through different methods.

Like many Karate or traditional martial arts based strikers, Gunnar Nelson demonstrates a preternatural understanding of space as he uses his wide stance to shuffle in & out of range at will. Accentuating his stance-switching style is Gunnar’s ability to fire lightning fast crosses down the pipe from both sides. Although Nelson’s punches & placements are effective, he struggles when it comes to overall output and follow-up. Despite showing solid head & overall movement, Gunnar’s low-handed approach has cost him at the higher levels. In his fight with Rick Story, we saw Nelson repeatedly hit by left hands from both stances as he failed to adjust. Gunnar will have to mind his low-handed pocket navigations with an accurate counter striker like Tumenov.

Not your typical counter striker, Tumenov will not lay back in wait nor frantically work the outside to achieve his shots. Instead, Albert takes a more technically aggressive approach, as the Russian will antagonize his opposition by stalking forward with firm feints. And like lighting a match in a room drenched with gasoline, all Albert needs is one bite to spark off a maelstrom of technical combinations. Although not as flamboyant in his movement as Nelson, Tumenov does a textbook job of managing range through resets off his feints and an excellent outside-foot-awareness. Albert also does a superb job of subtly stepping-off angle to deliver right hands or in his last bout against Larkin, digging left hooks to the body. However, with Nelson’s aforementioned low-handed approach, Tumenov’s signature left hooks should be key here, as he is accurate offensively and off the counter.

Although Albert should have the on-paper advantage standing, the Russian has a glaring hole in his kicking defenses that may be Gunnar’s best chances on the feet. With most of us remembering Tumenov’s lack of leg checks in his last fight, he also has the propensity to eat body kicks. Often baiting kicks to catch and trip counter, I doubt Tumenov will look to take down the Renzo Gracie Black Belt. It will be interesting to see Nelson’s approach on the feet, but ultimately his best chances are on the floor. With the clear on-paper edge going to Nelson on the mat, the lack of sample size for Tumenov’s ground game makes a counter argument difficult. With that said, here are a few reasons why Gunnar’s ground advantage may be null-in-void for this fight.

Tumenov has been taken down very few times in his UFC tenor, as the few officially scored came off Albert’s aggression allowing him out of position. Since then we have seen Tumenov mature in not only his manner but his aforementioned distancing tactics. With that said, Gunnar’s best chances to ground the Russian would ideally be with a reactive double-leg. However, Nelson does not traditionally attempt those, as all his takedowns in recent years has come off clinch trips & scrambles near the fence. Demonstrating a solid takedown defense in this area at a rate of 83%, I feel Tumenov will make it hard for Nelson to achieve his traditional terms of takedowns. Tumenov treats the cage like an electric fence as his active footwork and sense of urgency makes him hard to get a hold of here.

If Nelson does manage to get Albert down, he has more than enough technical acumen to get the job done against most in the division when on top. Applying a pressure-to-pass type top game, Gunnar will seamlessly flow his way to the mount. If Gunnar gets that far it could be a short night for Albert, however, Nelson will have to mind his floating and respect his opposition in transition. Displaying deceptive core-strength & ground competency, Tumenov has a knack for timing his opponents advances. If Nelson is not careful, Albert will use these opportunities to sweep or scramble back to his feet as he has done before. Although Gunnar grabbing a back in transition could come to fruition, I ultimately feel that his dependency for takedowns and tendency to play on the outside will cost him in this gunfight.

Official Pick: Tumenov – Decision



Germaine de Randamie(5-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 32 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 72.5″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Larissa Pacheco (3-14-15)
  • Camp: American Kickboxing Academy (Netherlands)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   10x Muay Thai World Champion
+   Multiple Muay Thai Accolades
+   2 TKO/KO victories
+   1 First round finishes
+   Excellent footwork
+   Accurate jab-cross
+   Hard leg kicks
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Dangerous knees
+   Improved wrestling
?    Questionable overall ground game



Anna Elmose (3-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 31 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: ?”
  • Last Fight: KO win / Mara Romero Borella (5-23-15)
  • Camp: Rumble Sports (Denmark)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional Kickboxing Accolades
+   Amateur Boxing Titles
+   3 TKO/KO victories
+   1 First round finish
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
^   High volume combinations
+   Heavy hands
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Active knees & strikes
+   Good from top position
?   Questionable overall ground game


In a fun clash of Muay Thai strikers, bantamweights Germaine De Randamie and Anna Elmose are set to collide. A 10-time Muay Thai World Champion, Germaine De Randamie is steadily rounding out her MMA game as this will be her fourth appearance in the UFC. Anna Elmose, on the other hand, will be making her organizational debut with only three professional fights. However, like her opponent, Anna also carries a storied striking history as she will look to upset the hometown fighter.

Despite not having an officially listed reach, I suspect the 5-foot 3-inch Elmose will be at a significant length disadvantage to the long frame of De Randamie. That said, Anna is used to this discrepancy as her aggressive nature will often allow her to compensate in the distance closing department. Even though Elmose has demonstrated an ability to move her head competently, her aggression often gets her hit on entries.

If Elmose does not show improvements in her defensive priorities, Germaine’s hard & accurate punches could very well make her pay. De Randamie also has excellent footwork as she works in, and circles out of range effectively. Mixing-in consistent leg kicks, Germaine also times an accurate uppercut that could find a home against her shorter opposition.

Despite the solid striking arsenal and athletic movement, De Randamie has shown she is not impervious to being pushed against the fence. Here, is where I feel Anna will have her best chances in this contest. Displaying deceptive strength inside, Elmose is active in the clinch as she will consistently strike and relentlessly work. Particularly powerful when inside the pocket, Anna is most dangerous when punching off breaks.

Elmose also displays concerted efforts in her takedown game, and could pose problems on top as she shows solid positional awareness. That said, De Randamie demonstrates a much stronger understanding of the clinch and application of under-hooks. Utilizing a gable-grip variation, Germaine displays a unique hybrid of an over-under control and Thai-style clinch. The under-hook allows De Randamie to fight for a better position while the grip leverage assists her in delivering knees.

Although the lack of sample size makes skill progressions hard to forecast on the ground, I feel the clinch should be the key factor in this fight. Even though Anna has the key intangibles for an upset, I feel Germaine’s length, strength, and experience will ultimately be the deciding factor.

Official Pick: de Randamie – Decision



Nikita Krylov (19-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 24 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 77.6″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Marcos de Lima (8-23-15)
  • Camp: Vale Tudo (Ukraine)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair to poor

Supplemental info:
+   Master of Sports: Kyokushin Karate
+   Master of Sports: Submission Fighting
+   2013 ADCC Ukrainian Champion
+   7 KO victories
+   12 Submission wins
+   All wins first round finishes
^   Very fast starter
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
^   Consistent combos & volume
+   Diverse kicking game
+   Dangerous knees
–    Struggles w/positional awareness
–    Questionable defensive priorities
+   Excellent urgency  & recoverability



Francimar Barroso (18-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 36 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Elvis Mutapcic (1-17-16)
  • Camp: Nova Uniao (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Accolades
+   10 KO victories
+   11 First round finishes
+   4 Submission wins
+   Will switch stances
^   Favors L. kicks from Southpaw
+   Hard leg kicks
–    Lacks volume
^   Often throws singles strikes
+   Strong clinch pressure
+   Solid control from top
–    Lacks ground/overall urgency


In an interesting clash of styles, light-heavyweights Nikita Krylov and Francimar Barroso are set to do battle on the main card. One of the fewer heavier weight fighters to come out of Nova Uniao, Francimar Barroso has been steadily searching for a standout performance. Riding a two-fight winning streak, the Brazilian is now tasked with turning away a young lion in Nikita Krylov.

From his aggressively dynamic attack arsenal to his soft-spoken nature, actions truly do speak louder than words when it comes to Nikita Krylov. Although the young Ukranian has shown improvements since entering the UFC, his knack for fast finishing fights has left us wanting to see more. Now faced with an opponent who has the opposite propensities, it will be interesting to see how Krylov deals with Barroso’s ability to slow down the game.

Primarily circling the outside and switching stances, Barroso will look to time his opposition on his or their way inside. Although he favors body kicks from southpaw, the Brazilian packs hard leg kicks from both stances similarly to his Nova Uniao stablemates. The glaring hole in Barroso’s game is his lack of overall volume and urgency. Although his improved takedowns have allowed him to temper blitzing opponents, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is surprisingly inactive & ineffective from dominant positions.

Opposite from Francimar’s measured approach is the all-offensive minded Nikita Krylov. A well noted aggressive striker, the Ukrainian’s Karate background comes through in his dynamic & dangerous kicking game. His utilization of front kicks and consistent follow-up punches will be key for his offense considering Barroso’s linear approach. Despite Krylov’s lack of defensive priorities, I feel his takedown defense will be his main vulnerability standing in this fight. Although Francimar is not particularly efficient or diverse in his takedown game, he should have the competency to put down Nikita, as I am sure he will attempt to take him to task.

That said, we have seen activity & offense unwind the on-paper advantages of superior positional players when forced to work. Ultimately, that is how I see these two styles stacking up against one another. Nikita should make more than enough mistakes for Barroso to capitalize on this fight, but the Brazilian’s lack of activity & killer instinct may subsequently render him to reacting. There, Nikita’s questionable but aggressive choices will force Fracimar further away from his fight and closer to the fire.

Official Pick: Krylov – Inside the distance



Karolina Kowalkiewicz(8-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 30 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 65″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Randa Markos (12-19-15)
  • Camp: Gracie Barra Lodz (Poland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: N/A

Supplemental info:
+ KSW Strawweight Champion
+ Multiple Muay Thai Accolades
+ 1 KO victory
+ 2 Submission wins
+ 3 First round finishes



Heather Jo Clark (7-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 35 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Bec Rawlings (12-12-14)
  • Camp: Xtreme Couture MMA (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: N/A

Supplemental info:
+ TUF 20 Alum
+ Purple Belt BJJ
+ 2 KO victories
+ 3 Submission wins
+ 3 First round finishes


Due to my personal & professional affiliations with Xtreme Couture MMA I have chosen to not break this match down.

Official Pick: No pick.

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Wade def. Khabilov
  • Cedenblad def. McLellan
  • Tuck def. Emmett
  • Madadi def. Cabral
  • Horiguchi def. Seery
  • Edwards def. Waters
  • Gates def. Sasaki

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Alistair Overeem
-Nikita Krylov
-Kyogi Horiguchi

Low Tier Picks:

-Chris Wade
-Reza Madadi
-Antonio Silva

Pieces for your parlay:

-Kyogi Horiguchi
-Germaine De Randamie
-Albert Tumenov

Props worth looking at(

-De Randamie/Elmose – Over: -120 (2 Units)
-Chris Wade – by Decision: +220 (1 Unit)

Fights to avoid:

-Antonio Silva vs Stefan Struve
-Ulka Sasaki vs Willie Gates
-Magnus Cedenblad vs Garreth McLellan

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit and for future breakdowns & your latest in worldwide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws

Onnit Primal Bells


GLORY: Redemption – Breakdown and Predictions



Glory returns to pay-per-view today with a stacked card, featuring some of their greatest fighters. Among them are reigning champions Rico Verhoeven and Alex Pereira, as well as the return of former title holder Nieky Holzken.

In the main event, Rico puts his heavyweight title on the line against the very dangerous Jamal Ben Saddik, who defeated him 6 years ago. Rico comes into the fight riding an impressive 14-fight Glory winning streak.

The co-main event features a rematch of the 2016 Fight of the Year between light heavyweight veterans Michael ‘The Dreamcrusher’ Duut and Danyo ‘Dibuba’ Ilunga. The card is a must-see for kickboxing fans, as well as those who just love a good scrap. And with that out of the way, here’s a breakdown of some of the more interesting fight’s on Saturday’s super-card. Enjoy.

Nieky ‘The Natural’ Holzken – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Nieky Holzken vs Alim Nabiyev

Nabiyev came into Glory with a decent amount of steam behind him, but following his bout against short-notice opponent Jimmy Veinot, I honestly don’t see it. Nieky’s reign as champion was one of the best, and despite two close losses to the equally talented Cédric Doumbé, he’s still one of the best welterweights in the world today. With wins over Raymond Daniels, Joseph Valtellini, and current champion Murthel Groenhart, it’s hard to imagine Nieky having much of a problem with Nabiyev.

Expect plenty of pressure from Holzken early on. Coming off two straight losses Nieky will want to make a statement, and prove that he’s still the man to beat at 170. The liver shot will do it. Holzken will just be too much for Alim. Nabiyev has  potential and could be a contender in the future, but right now Holzken is on a whole ‘nother level. Nieky is back, and he wants that title.

Prediction: Nieky Holzken by 1st Round TKO


Alex 'Po Atan' Pereira

Alex ‘Po Atan’ Pereira – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Alex Pereira vs Yousri Belgaroui

Pereira’s win back at Glory 46 came as a shock to me. Simon Marcus has proven himself to be one of the best fighters in the division, and while Pereira is a solid kickboxer in his own right, I fully expected Marcus to win that one pretty easy. I was wrong. Pereira was the better man, and is now the Glory middleweight champion. But don’t expect it to last. Yousri completely shut Pereira down in there last meeting at Glory 40. And based on his last performance, a first round TKO over former champ Jason Wilnis, he’s only getting better.

Pereira’s path to victory is pretty simple, strike hard and strike early. The deep waters are not a place where Alex thrives. His cardio has been questionable in the past and his vaunted knockout power diminishes as the fight goes on. If Pereira can’t put Yousri on the back foot early it’s hard to see him taking this one.

The last fight was a fairly decisive win for Belgaroui. Alex was unable to score on Yousri and was picked apart after gassing out late into the fight. Pereira is a talented striker with some serious power, but Belgaroui’s well-rounded game and superior cardio should be enough to win him the championship.

Prediction: Yousri Belgaroui by Unanimous Decision


Michael Dreamcrusher Duut

Michael ‘Dreamcrusher’ Duut – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Michael Duut vs Danyo Ilunga

Last year these two stole the show, putting on one of the greatest fights of the year, maybe of all-time. But can they do it again? It’s hard to say. Consistency is not a strong suit for either of these men. Following his thriller with Ilunga, Duut went on to lose his next Glory contest by disqualification due to excessive clinching, then later won a contender tournament in less than a minute (48 seconds to be exact).

Duut’s incredible power and brawler style make him a dangerous fight for just about anyone in the light heavyweight division, but his lack of defence make him an easy target. Unfortunately, Ilunga hasn’t hit a bullsye in quite some time.

Danyo comes into this fight on a whopping 7 fight losing streak, and hasn’t won a fight in Glory since 2014. On the bright side, all 7 losses have come by decision so his chin has held up. Plus Duut isn’t the most durable guy in the world, so it’s possible that Ilunga could knock him out. But I don’t see that happening. Duut is just too powerful and Ilunga isn’t the same fighter he used to be. Hopefully the fight is as great as the last one was, but don’t expect it to go to a 4th round this time. Ilunga’s on a slippery slope, and Duut’s about to cause an avalanche.

Prediciton: Michael Duut by 3rd Round KO


Rico The King of Kickboxing Verhoeven

Rico ‘The King of Kickboxing’ Verhoeven – Credit: GLORY Kickboxing

Rico Verhoeven vs Jamal Ben Saddik

Despite being the main event this was one of the easier fights to pick. Rico has looked unstoppable lately, and as much as people hate to give him credit for anything, he really is the best heavyweight in the world right now. That doesn’t mean a whole lot considering how weak the division is at the moment, but Rico is champion for a reason.

The rest of the heavyweights just aren’t on his level. ‘Big Ben’ included. Jamal’s last fight against Guto Inocente was a total snoozefest, and if not for his rivalry with Rico he probably wouldn’t even be in the title picture. Badr Hari better get his act together cause Rico’s running out of opponents.

The only advantage I see Jamal having is his power. Rico is faster, more precise, and his striking is more diverse. Again, this is a heavyweight contest so anything can happen, but Jamal hasn’t KO’d a world-class opponent since he fought ‘Braddock’ 2 years ago. Since then, Rico has knocked-out Benjamin Adegbuyi, ‘Braddock’, Bigfoot Silva, and broke Badr’s arm earning him a TKO victory. Rico’s the better fighter, simple as that. And no amount of chest hair is going to change that.

Prediction: Rico Verhoeven by 5th Round KO

All images used in this article are accredited to GLORY Kickboxing

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading


UFC 218: Holloway vs Aldo 2 Main Card Predictions and Analysis



Image result for holloway vs aldo

The passing of the torch. A usual occurrence in combat sports. There comes a time when the old guard has to step down and let the new generation take its place. UFC 218 is all about the passing of the torch. Holloway-Aldo 2, Overeem-Ngannou, Alvarez-Gaethje, the card is chock full of young hungry fighters looking to make a statement against their aging counterparts. But don’t expect the old lions to give up without a fight. Aldo is still a world-class striker and Eddie’s still got some tread on the tires. And at the age of 37, Overeem is still one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world today.

Max Holloway is a perfect representative of the new generation. He’s scrappy, well-rounded, and will fight whoever you put in front of him. He’s got the fire. So do Ngannou, Gaethje, and the rest of the young guys. Aldo hasn’t had that fire in a long time. Sure he’s still a great fighter,‌ but in his last few fights, he’s lacked that burning passion he used to have. Aldo has all the tools to beat Holloway, but does he have the drive? Does the fire still burn, or was it put out long ago? That’s what we’re going to find out come Saturday.


Tecia Torres vs Michelle Waterson

This is such a weird fight. Torres’ climb to the top has been impressively mediocre. She has wins over quality opponents like Angela Hill, Felice Herrig, and Paige VanZant. However, with just a single finish to her credit, Tecia hasn’t given the fans a reason to pay attention to her. Waterson is the complete opposite. She has only gone to decision twice and is one of the more popular fighters in the division. However, injuries and losses have prevented Waterson from gaining any real momentum.

As far as the fight goes I really don’t know what to expect. Waterson is fairly inconsistent and Torres is so consistent it hurts. My assumption would be that Waterson has the better ground game, so if anyone’s going to take it to the mat it will be her. Torres has the better overall stand-up game but doesn’t possess the same finishing ability of the Karate Hottie. My guess is that this one stays on the feet with Torres pushing the pace early, then getting caught by a powerful strike from Waterson that puts her down for good.

Prediction: Michelle Waterson by 2nd Round TKO


Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje

How the hell did Cejudo-Pettis get billed higher than this? Alvarez vs Gaethje has the potential to be the Forrest-Bonnar of the modern era. Both men are aggressive brawlers on the feet and strong wrestlers on the mat. I’d give the submission edge to Eddie, but that’s about it. Gaethje’s striking game is more diverse than Eddie’s is, and his youth is definitely something to consider. With 34 fights to his credit, Alvarez is certainly no spring chicken. He’s not nearly as durable as he used to be, and against a dangerous scrapper like Gaethje, that’s not a great quality.

I really wanted to go with Alvarez on this one, but facts are facts. Gaethje is younger, tougher, and most importantly, better for business. Eddie already lost to the biggest draw in the game. Money-wise he doesn’t have much to offer. Gaethje, however, is a promoters wet dream. He’s durable, dangerous, and damn fun to watch. Basically, everything Eddie used to be. Why does any of this matter? Because the judges work for the UFC. If the UFC brass wants Gaethje to win, then he will. Simple as that. Is it right? No, but business is business. And Justin Gaethje is good for business.

Prediction: Justin Gaethje by Split Decision


Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis

This feels like too big a step up for Sergio, which is weird considering he’s ranked #4 and Cejudo is ranked #2. After Cejudo’s fight with Mighty Mouse, I wrote him off as nothing more than a sacrifice to the flyweight king. But his close fight with perennial #1 contender Joseph Benavidez and his vicious knockout over veteran submission artist Wilson Reis have shown me that Cejudo is more than just a big-headed wrestler. Henry is one of the best. If anyone in the division is taking the belt off Mighty Mouse it’s him.

Sergio is a talented kid, no doubt. Give him a few more years to develop and he could be champion one day. Unfortunately for him, the UFC doesn’t have time for that. They need flyweight contenders. If that means a few prospects have to bite the dust then so be it. I just hope Sergio doesn’t get completely outclassed and is able to make a good showing, but against a guy like Cejudo, I’m not holding my breath.

Prediction: Henry Cejudo by Unanimous Decision


Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou

Call me crazy, but I’m still not completely sold on Cheick Kongo with dreadlocks. His only quality win is a knockout over what’s left of Andrei Arlovski. Overeem, on the other hand, has fought nothing but quality contenders in his climb back to the top, with his only loss coming against reigning champion Stipe Miocic (although some would argue they saw the tap). On paper, this is Overeem’s fight to win. Unfortunately, paper is what Overeem’s chin is made of.

Ngannou may not be as technically sound as Overeem is, but he hits just as hard, maybe harder. One good shot from the Predator and Overeem could drop like a sack of horse meat. Combine that with Overeem’s uber-cockiness and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Picking Overeem is always a gamble, but I’m willing to roll the dice on this one. It’s not gonna be pretty but Overeem’s in-and-out kickboxing and “run like hell” defensive style should be just enough to win this.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem by Unanimous Decision


 Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo 2

Holloway TKO’d Aldo about 6 months ago. Max is in the best form of his career. Aldo is taking the fight on short notice. I really can’t think of a good reason to pick Aldo on this one. Sure his striking is still some of the best in the division, but at this point, he’s writing checks his body can’t cash anymore. His chin has degraded significantly and his patented leg kicks are nowhere to be found. It pains me to say this because Aldo is an incredible fighter, but it’s starting to feel as though the sport is passing him by. Aldo is the past, Max is the future.

Despite just winning the title this summer, Holloway has effectively cleaned out the division. Swanson, Lamas, Stephens, Pettis, all fell to the young Hawaiian. Hell, since his loss to McGregor nobody’s even come close to beating Holloway. This doesn’t mean Max is invincible though. Frankie is still a huge threat to Max’s title, and those who sleep on Aldo are often put to sleep themselves. The road ahead of him is not an easy one, but something tells me Max is going to do just fine. It is what it is.

Prediction: Max Holloway by 2nd Round TKO

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading


GSP vs Robert Whittaker is Easily the Best Fight to Make at Middleweight



GSP became the new middleweight champion of the UFC this past weekend, and many questions have been asked his way. Is he officially the greatest of all time? Who does he fight next? Does he stay at middleweight?

The G.O.A.T. conversation will never be settled completely. There will always be separation in opinions between Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, GSP, Demetrious Johnson, Fedor Emelianenko, and some even say Conor McGregor is the greatest, simply due to the fact that he is the first ever UFC champion to hold two belts simultaneously. Regardless of how that conversation is driven, the biggest question that should be the only concern at this point is the immediate plans for the new middleweight champion.

Where does GSP go next, and who does he fight?

Well, the fact of the matter is, it would not make sense for GSP to go down to the welterweight division again. 170-pounds is alive and kicking at the moment, with new stars emerging such as Darren Till and Mike Perry, to return of veterans like Carlos Condit, and also new additions to the division like Rafael dos Anjos. St-Pierre would have to stay extremely active in order to keep the division flowing.

At the age of 36 and having just returned to MMA last weekend, St-Pierre is unlikely to stay as active as he used to be when he was the king of the welterweight division. Plus, would it really make much sense for him to get on his old diet again in order to make the welterweight weight limit? He looked massive last night, all bulked up, and even seemed like the bigger fighter against Bisping, who used to fight at 205-pounds.

On the other hand, if he decides to stay at middleweight, which is what UFC president Dana White stated would happen yesterday, then there is one clear path for him to take and based on his statements on his contract, will be forced to take: Robert Whittaker.

Whittaker won the interim middleweight belt earlier this year against Yoel Romero at UFC 213, which was a razor close fight that went to Whittaker at the end of 5 rounds. Since then, Whittaker has been sidelined due to the injury he suffered during the fight, damaging his ligament in the left knee.

4 months later, he has seemed to have healed up perfectly, as he was in the arena for the madness last night and even answered a few questions from the media, stating that he is healthy now. The fight against Whittaker would be the best that the UFC could put on at this point in 185-pounds division on a few different levels.

GSP and Whittaker have a lot in common. Starting with the most obvious, they both used to fight at welterweight. Which means that neither fighter will have a massive size advantage. This brings the match up nearly even as far as physicality is concerned.

Then comes the match up itself. St-Pierre and Whittaker both represent the very definition of being ‘well-rounded’. Whittaker, although not an offensive wrestler, proved that his defensive wrestling was second to none in his fight against Romero, a former Olympic wrestler. And while GSP is not necessarily the best wrestler in pure wrestling, his ability to wrestle in MMA is phenomenal due to his timing and fight IQ, which makes this fight even more intriguing to find out whether Whittaker can defend GSP’s takedown attempts.

This fight also represents the UFC an opportunity to see a birth of a superstar. Whittaker, while not a huge talker, is a very marketable fighter especially over in Australia and New Zealand. If he is able to defeat GSP, who’s arguably the biggest draw in the history of the company, it would boost Whittaker’s popularity up an extraordinary amount. And being only 26 years old, Whittaker has the tools and potential to be a dominant champion, much like St-Pierre in his “prime”.

Booking this fight would also clear up the confusing state of the middleweight division. With Bisping’s reign as the champion coming to an end, some hope was born for other contenders in the division. Fighters like Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Yoel Romero, Jacare Souza were having an extremely hard time getting a hold of Michael Bisping during his reign, and with a new champion now and possible unification of the belts soon, the contenders will have a goal to work for again.

The fight is one of the best fights that UFC could put on for the fans right now and one that can happen as early as February of 2018, which is when the UFC returns to Australia with a PPV. If it can come to fruition, then it will easily be one of the best fights of the year and one that all the fans can count the days down to.

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading