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Alistair Overeem: Real Threat in K-1

The K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 is the year's biggest kickboxing event, and as we get ready for the December 5 show, we have K-1 announcer Michael Schiavello offering his commentary on each of the fighters. His thoughts on Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, an MMA fighter taking kickboxing by storm, are below.

By Michael Schiavello

Nickname: The Demolition Man, Ubereem
Nationality: The Netherlands
Age: 29
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 250
Stance: Orthodox
Gym: Golden Glory, Holland
Career Record: 2-3, 2 KO (striking), 31-11-1 11 KO (MMA)
K-1 Record: 2-2, 1 KO
Notable Wins: Badr Hari KO, Peter Aerts DEC
Strengths: Aggression, body strength, knees to body
Weaknesses: Inexperience, leg checking
HDNet K-1 Ranking: 5
Probability of quarterfinal win vs. Ewerton Teixeira: 60%

The man dubbed by fans as "Ubereem" is a household name in the world of Mixed Martial Arts who has become a household name to K-1 fans in the last 12 months following emphatic performances against the organization's three biggest names.

With wins over former heavyweight champion Badr Hari and former triple Grand Prix champion Peter Aerts, and a decision loss to current GP champion Remy Bonjasky, many fans rate Overeem as a genuine contender to throw K-1 into disarray and win the GP title in his first attempt with only four K-1 fights under his belt.

While Overeem's efforts against Hari, Bonjasky and Aerts should be highly commended, we should not overlook the inside story on each of these fights.

At Dynamite last New Year's Eve, Overeem manhandled a Hari who had not trained for three weeks. Who had been knocked down twice in one night over three fights at the Grand Prix. A Hari who was red-carded in the GP final, had his entire purse deducted, and whose life was thrown into complete turmoil. In short, Overeem trounced Hari at the perfect time when Hari's life was in tatters and he was ripe to be beaten.

Next up against Bonjasky, many thought Overeem was winning the fight until Bonjasky scored a soft knockdown in the final round to put the judges over on the scorecards. It was a stellar effort from Overeem against the GP champion but take into consideration that Bonjasky was carrying a knee injury that rendered his trademark leg, body and high kicks off his back leg virtually useless.

Against Peter Aerts in the Final 16 in September, Overeem opened up ferociously and drilled knees into Aerts's midsection, breaking the veteran's ribs in the first round. It is testament to the heart of "Mr K-1" that he fought on with a broken rib that severely affected his mobility and range of attack for the remainder of the fight.

All this said, however, Overeem has now proven a very real threat against K-1's three biggest stars and positioned himself as a must-watch contender for the Grand Prix crown come December 5.

What makes Overeem such a dangerous competitor is size and aggression. Add to that mix his impressive striking skill set (unlike a Bob Sapp who is strong and aggressive, Overeem actually throws crisp hand combinations and not maniacal swinging haymakers, and has very good use of knees to the body on the inside) and you have a brutal monster who comes to hunt down and hurt opponents. His aggressive, walk-through style is a throwback to the golden days of K-1 when the likes of Mike Bernardo, Sam Greco, Mirko Cro Cop and a young Ray Sefo would titillate audiences with their electrifying knockout style that opted for balls-to-the-wall aggression (mixed with technique) over defensive preservation.

With trainers Cor Hemmers and Ramon Dekker by his side, Overeem has two of the world's finest honing his striking skills in the gym and directing traffic in his corner.

Though many fans believe Teixeira will be easy pickings for Overeem in the quarter-final stage, I think the Brazilian poses some very serious problems. Teixeira is an incredibly durable and thick-bodied man who is conditioned for enormous punishment to the body from his Kyokushin days (in Kyokushin you cannot punch to the head, only to the body). He is also a crisp counter fighter particularly with a trigger-happy right hand that will play havoc on Overeem's walk-through style – a style Teixeira's leg kicks should slow down.

In a draw of gripping quarter-final match-ups this is possibly the hardest one to call. On recent form fortune favors Overeem's bullying style. But Teixeira is the type of fighter who makes every opponent look average. Will he be the first in K-1 to make Overeem look anything but an uber wrecking machine?


In 1995 Alistair's older brother, Valentijn Overeem, fought Remy Bonjasky in Remy's first ever professional fight. Remy stopped Valentijn in the second round. Valentijn still competes, his last kickboxing fight being a TKO loss to Nikolai Onikienko at Glory 11 on October 17.

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