UFC 185: Pettis vs. dos Anjos Date: March 14, 2015 Location: Dallas, Texas Venue: American Airlines Center Broadcast: PPV UFC Heavyweight Contender Alistair Overeem One of the most dominant heavyweight fighters in recent years, Alistair Overeem (38-14, 1 NC) was the last true Strikeforce heavyweight champion, the Dream heavyweight champ, the prestigious 2010 K-1 heavyweight Grand Prix champion as well as being a veteran fighter of Pride and many other organizations at light heavyweight. The 34-year-old has nearly done it all, and since making the move to heavyweight, had become nearly unstoppable before losing to Antonio Silva in a shocking upset at UFC 156. In his UFC debut, Overeem disposed of former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in under two-and-a-half minutes en route to a TKO victory at UFC 141. Poised to take on former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos for the title, his plans for gold were thrown off the rails by a failed drug test. Overeem spent a year away from the sport due to a suspension before getting knocked out by Silva, and after that he was knocked out by Travis Browne in a fight he was winning. He bounced back with a win over Frank Mir at UFC 169, then was knocked out yet again by Ben Rothwell. He got back on track with a knockout win over Stefan Struve, but he needs to show more consistency and build himself a win streak before he gets another title shot. He’ll get the opportunity to make it two in a row when he takes on Roy Nelson at UFC 185, and it should be a great fight between two big heavyweights when it goes down. UFC Heavyweight Contender Roy Nelson Winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10, outspoken, big-bellied heavyweight Roy Nelson (20-10) may be undersized and seemingly out of shape, but he is a student of the MMA game and always exciting. His grappling credentials are never to be questioned – he is an instructor and Renzo Gracie black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, plus he has insanely heavy hands that have delivered five Knockout of the Night bonuses. He also has a chin made of granite. A formula for MMA popularity if there ever was one, UFC president Dana White realized the 38-year-old Las Vegas resident is ratings gold and cast him as a coach opposite fellow heavyweight contender Shane Carwin in TUF 16, a fight that never happened due to Carwin retiring from the sport because of a bad back. Nelson then lost to Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier in back-to-back fights, but he bounced back with a brutal KO of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC Fight Night 39 to earn a fight with Mark Hunt at UFC 185. However, he was surprisingly knocked out in that fight, and you have to wonder if his chin is finally starting to give out. He’ll now take on another hard hitter in Alistair Overeem at UFC 185, and while it’s a dangerous matchup for Nelson, it’s also a winnable one, and it will be interesting to see what happens when these two collide in the cage this March. Opening UFC 185 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Overeem a -190 favorite (bet $190 to win $100) while Nelson opened as a +150 underdog (bet $100 to win $150) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. This is a very fun fight between two hard-hitting heavyweights that is very unlikely to hit the judges’ scorecards. Both men have incredible power in their hands and both men have been knocked out before, so I really don’t think this fight is going the full 15 minutes. If he fights up to his potential, Overeem should win this fight because he is the better all-around fighter in this matchup, but he has to fight smart and protect his chin. We know Overeem’s ability to take a punch is questionable at this point in time, and we know Nelson has big-time power, so he could very well win by KO. However, Nelson is slow and old, and Overeem could very well light him up and possibly even get the finish himself. The cardio is the x-factor in this one as neither guy has great cardio and both struggle in the third round, so it will be interesting to see who has the edge in their gas tank come round three. It’s a tough question to answer, and all told it’s a tough fight to call, and that’s why you see the line so tight.
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