UFC Fight Night 176 brings the heat with a hard-hitting heavyweight tilt. The accomplished, Alistair Overeem squares off against streaking Brazilian, Augusto Sakai. Both athletes have a lot in common, preferring to fight orthodox and like to keep it standing. However, Overeem likes to switch to southpaw depending on where he feels it will be utilized best. ‘The Reem’ has evolved over time by switching camps and learning new styles. While Sakai focuses on the consistency of his striking prowess. Highlighted in his Contender Series debut, Sakai demonstrated how to weaponize pace.
Interestingly, Overeem is a master at weaponizing pace and controlling real estate. UFC Fight Night 176 will be packed with explosive counter-striking, which always makes for an exciting event.
Styles Make Fights
A champion in every organization except the UFC, Overeem’s Dutch kickboxing style has confused heavyweights for decades now. He is such a methodical fighter. In fact, his diversity of shot selection pairs perfectly with his ability to fight at his own pace.
While known for his devastating knockouts, his ground game is equally dangerous with seventeen submissions under his belt. In contrast, Sakai mainly conducts business on the feet with no submissions on his record. Also well-rounded, if he maintains distance and can string combinations together fast and early, that may be his best recipe for victory. Age is a relevant factor for Overeem, but there is a wide discrepancy in skills while standing and grappling.
UFC Fight Night Spoils
Hovering around the top ten, a solid win for either man propels them into the title mix. Of course, it would have to be dramatic to get current heavyweight king, Stipe Miocic‘s attention. More than likely a win for either man will lead to a top-five opponent. It is unclear if Overeem wins since he has competed with most of the top ten. He also has a KO loss to champ Miocic back in 2016. On the other hand, should Sakai secure the win there are many opponents available to slot him into the top rankings. No matter the result, the path to the heavyweight title is held up by killers like Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes. UFC Fight Night 176 will shed light on the hierarchy of the heavyweight division, and provide clarity for what is to come at the top of the heap.