UFC 185 Date: 03/14/15 Arena: American Airlines Center City: Dallas, TX Heavyweight bout: Alistair Overeem (-190) vs Roy Nelson (+165) Fight Breakdown: Heavyweights are set to collide in Dallas for the main card of UFC 185. Looking to make it two in a row inside the Octagon, PRIDE and Strikeforce veteran Alistair “The Reem” Overeem takes on The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 winner, Roy “Big Country” Nelson, who looks to return to the win column following a devastating knockout against Mark Hunt. “The Reem” is the betting favorite in this contest at -190 ($190 to win $100), with “Big Country” being a +165 ($165 to win $100) underdog to win at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Alistair “The Reem” Overeem (38-14-1 NC MMA, 3-3 UFC) has had a rough track record thus far in the UFC. He has looked dominant in every fight he has been in, even in his losses, as he was getting the better of his opponents until getting caught and knocked out. His chin remains his biggest weakness, and against Nelson, he will need to rely on his fight IQ to not get caught by his heavy right hand. Overeem is an excellent striker who comes from a Muay Thai background and has developed a solid grappling game, as well. He is always a knockout threat, but is also capable of simply outpointing his opponents with his superior technical striking. He is a well-conditioned heavyweight who will be capable of going the three round distance against Nelson on Saturday night, if necessary. Coming off a first round T/KO win over fellow Dutchman Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve in his latest outing, “The Reem” will be looking to make it two in a row against “Big Country” in Dallas, and he has his sights set on UFC gold. That said, I don’t think he is looking past Nelson or taking him lightly at all. This is a very important fight for Overeem, and I expect he will treat it as such. Roy “Big Country” Nelson (20-10 MMA, 7-6 UFC) last saw action at UFC Fight Night 52 in Australia six months ago, where he suffered a second round knockout at the hands of Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt, marking his first T/KO loss since a 2008 bout against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski. Now, following the sour defeat and half-a-year away from action, Nelson is eager to get back into the win column, and he will be aiming to do so with another highlight-reel knockout. The 38-year-old is known for his hard right hand, which is a vicious weapon that has put out the likes of Antonio Rodgrigo Nogueira, Matt Mitrione, Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, and Mirko Cro Cop, Nelson and his right hand have proven to always be a threat against anyone in the UFC’s heavyweight division. The Ultimate Fighter season 10 winner excels in the grappling department, as well, owning a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and five professional mixed martial arts victories by way of tapout. That said, he has not submitted an opponent since 2006. Nelson’s cardio seems to be hit or miss, but he is generally able to tough it out for 15 minutes, even if he is gassed. I expect him to have enough in the tank to go a full 15-minutes against Overeem on Saturday night, should the fight hit the judges’ scorecards for a decision. Nelson has been training at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, FL, so I would not be surprised to see improvements with his cardio, and perhaps other departments. Although, considering he is nearing 39-years of age, it is tough to expect much from the old dog. Gabe’s Thoughts: I think Nelson’s only chance to win this fight is by knocking Overeem out, and if Overeem plays it really smart, he could avoid Nelson’s dangerous right hand. More often than not, I think he manages to use his range well and outwork “Big Country” on the feet for the majority of 15 minutes of action en route to winning a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards. I would not blame anybody for playing Overeem at his current betting tag of -190, however I personally see more value in the total of Over 1.5 rounds at +100 and will be making my move there. To conclude, I think Overeem can be successful in doing to Nelson what Fabricio Werdum was able to do, and I believe Overeem will find more success doing so. This could very well be a boring three round fight, but when it’s all said and done, I think we’ll be seeing “The Reem” standing in the center of the Octagon with Bruce Buffer announcing his name and the referee lifting his arm. Gabe’s Call: “The Reem” by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Over 1.5 rounds (+100) 2.5u to win 2.5u
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