UFC 156 Opening Odds: Heavyweights Alistair Overeem (-315) vs. Antonio Silva (+235)
UFC 156: February 2, 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada
UFC Heavyweight Contender Alistair Overeem (-315)
Profile: One of the most dominant heavyweight fighters in recent years, Alistair Overeem (36-11, 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 32-year-old has nearly done it all, and since making the move to heavyweight, has become nearly unstoppable. In his UFC debut, he destroyed former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in under two-and-a-half minutes. Poised to take on Junior dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight championship, Overeem's plans for gold were thrown off the rails by a failed drug test. He has spent a year away from the sport mandated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and now prepares for his return against Antonio Silva at UFC 156.
UFC Heavyweight Contender Antonio Silva (+235)
Profile: Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (17-4) rebounded from a disappointing loss in his UFC debut against Cain Velasquez via first-round TKO by knocking out Travis Browne in the first round at UFC on FX 5. Before falling to Velasquez, he lost to eventual Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier by first-round KO in the tournament semifinals on September 10, 2011. The 33-year-old Brazilian previously competed at super heavyweight early on in his career and won titles with Cage Rage and the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship in England. Silva handed MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko one of three consecutive losses in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinals by TKO and won the EliteXC heavyweight title against former UFC fighter Justin Eilers back in 2007 before testing positive for steroids.
Opening UFC 156 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Overeem a large -315 favorite (bet $315 to win $100) while Silva opened as a +235 underdog (bet $100 to win $235) according to the MMA odds. Overeem is obviously awaiting the Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez winner, and this seems like a logical matchup for him since he was originally scheduled to fight Silva in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Silva ended up losing in the semifinals to Overeem's injury replacement Cormier, who went on to win the tournament as an alternate. Overeem will likely look to follow the same gameplan Velasquez used to beat Silva, using his heavy hands to pound out a victory. Silva is an equally large opponent but was definitely intimidated by Velasquez and will need to show no fear inside the Octagon to stand a chance. Meanwhile, Overeem has an extremely confident demeanor and will need to guard against becoming overconfident. Both men have the potential to score a knockout here, but Overeem has a big edge in terms of pure ability and fight experience.