Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris are meeting at the UFC Fight Night 172, or as others call it UFC on ESPN 8. It is another event (third in a row) organized by Dana White and the most prominent MMA organization in Jacksonville, Fla. Overeem and Harris were scheduled to face in December last year, but the latter had personal issues that forced him to retire with Jairzinho Rozenstruik jumping in a defeating the veteran Dutchman. Some believe that the winner of this match would earn the right to participate in a title-eliminator. Whatever the situation is regarding that question is
Overeem (+125) enters this one as an underdog. He had mixed results in the last three years. After losing to Stipe Miocic at the UFC 203, in a title-fight, he would beat Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt. However, afterward came two knockout stoppages against him vs. Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes.
At one point it seemed that Overeem (45-18, 1 NC) might bounce back, as he defeated Sergei Pavlovich and Alexey Oleynik both via TKO, earning a chance to fight for the title-eliminator against Harris. As we said, that bout was canceled, and Rozenstruik jumped in. Throughout the entire fight against Bigi Boy, the Dutchman was dictating the tempo and was better on all scorecards. One moment of distraction saw Rozenstruik sending a vicious hook that sent Overeem to the canvas four seconds before the end. We still remember his torn lip after that punch.
This is one of the latest chances for the Demolition Man to get back into the title stories and to earn himself another opportunity to fight for the belt. He is still strong and powerful, although without the stamina as before. We’ll see how he acts against an equally strong guy who is in excellent shape.
Harris (-150) won his previous four matches. The one against Andrei Arlovski, whom he defeated via split decision, was later overturned to a no contest. Harris (13-7, 1 NC) was positive for some illegal substances. In the meantime, the 36-year old defeated Daniel Spitz, Sergey Spivak, and Aleksei Oleinik.
The last two fights lasted for 62 seconds combined. His ferocious hits are his biggest weapon and so far, all of his 13 victories came after a KO. The Vault (as the fans call him) has an unreal physicality, and we just can’t wait for this battle to start.
He is not very skilled when it comes to defense, but if he drags you into his rhythm, the chances for surviving his bursts are pretty slim.
One thing is sure here. This fight won’t reach the decision. Having in mind all the circumstances and the fact that both of these guys are fantastic strikers and have a diverse arsenal of offensive weapons, we can’t imagine seeing one of them having some special tactics for the upcoming event.
It will all come down to severe punching and open exchanges. From our point of view, even though he is an underdog, Overeem is closer to victory. He has more defeats than Harris lately, but against much tougher rivals. For those who like riskier bets, go with Overeem wins via stoppage, it will increase the odds significantly.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.