UFC on FOX 13 Fight Breakdown: Alistair Overeem vs. Stefan Struve

Alistair Overeem One of the main card bouts at UFC on FOX 13 is a three-round heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Stefan Struve. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Overeem is a -300 favorite (bet $300 to win $100) while Struve is a +250 underdog (bet $100 to win $250). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Reem at -245 and Struve at +175, and so far the bettors are all over the favorite, Overeem. This is a tough fight to call but I lean towards Overeem, although I think the line is out of hand at this point. Here’s why. Overeem (37-14, 1 NC) was once of the most-feared heavyweights in the world but has gone on a losing streak since making it to the UFC. The 34-year-old Dutchman is 2-3 in the Octagon with a knockout win over Brock Lesnar and a decision win over Frank Mir, and knockout losses to Bigfoot Silva, Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell. Overeem is a huge heavyweight who has a lot of power. He has 15 wins by knockout in his career overall, so no doubt he’s dangerous on the feet. He is also underrated in the grappling department, with a solid wrestling game and a terrific submission game to boot (19 career subs). On paper he’s one of the best fighters in the division but he has one weakness, and that’s his chin. Overeem has been knocked out nine times in MMA (plus a few other times in kickboxing) including in all three of his UFC losses. Some have questioned if he can take a punch anymore, and it’s justified to ask that question. If he can dodge his opponents’ strikes, then he’s a hard guy to beat, but if he gets clipped on the button he can go down, and fast. Overeem is a stud, but he needs a big win in the division and one over Struve would do just that for him. Struve (25-6) is one of the top heavyweights in the UFC but health issues have held him back, and he hasn’t fought in nearly two years. The 26-year-old Dutchman is 9-4 in the UFC with wins over the likes of Stipe Miocic, Lavar Johnson, Pat Barry and Dave Herman, with his losses coming to Mark Hunt, Junior dos Santos, Travis Browne and Roy Nelson, all my T/KO. At 7′, Struve is the tallest fighter in the UFC history. He has started to use his reach more effectively in his last few bouts, which is nice to see, but overall he doesn’t take advantage of his 84″ wingspan. He only has seven knockouts, but knocking out a guy like Miocic shows he definitely has power. But it’s the submission game where Struve is at his best, having won 16 fights via tapout in his MMA career. While offensively Struve is gifted, on the other hand his defense is very subpar. He gets hit hard in all of his fights and he’s been knocked out five times in his career. He definitely is a dangerous fighter, but it’s those defensive deficiencies, combined with a long layoff, and there’s a lot of question marks surrounding him heading into this matchup, one where he is a big underdog to come through. But remember, he’s come through before as the dog, and it’s hard to count him out because of his big heart and toughness. This is a really exciting fight, and one that will likely not last the entire three rounds. I could see either fighter getting the knockout or submission as both are ultra talented offensively yet also defensively inept. More times than not I think it will be Overeem getting a knockout, but with his chin issues, it’s hard to bet on him as a high-juiced favorite. At the same time, how can you bet on Struve after all of his health issues and his long layoff? This is a fight that could go either way but I have to go with Overeem here. I would recommend passing for a bet on the moneyline and instead target an Overeem wins inside the distance prop, and if it’s at good plus money, a Struve inside the distance prop as a hedge. But I think it’s safest to just pass this one and target other fights on the card.

Written by Adam Martin.

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