Home Science Education Alistair Overeem: A King Reinvented

Alistair Overeem: A King Reinvented

Technique Analysis: Alistair Overeem's Stance, Posture, and Engagements

Photo via fighterxchange.com

A King Reinvented” is a follow up to the “The King Who Defeated Himself” series (Part I, Part II, Part III). Part I discussed what Alistair Overeem did to defeat Brock Lesnar. Part II discussed how Overeem used a very similar approach against Antonio Silva, which inevitably got him knocked out. Part III examined how Overeem return to his usual stance and strategy, but it was exploited by Browne.

In this piece, we’ll examine how “The Reem” reinvented many aspects of his game.


Against Lesnar and Silva, Overeem would keep his posture squared with hands-down to engage in clinch off the underhook. This made him look especially good against Lesnar (and Silva for a while).

In his fight against Browne, Overeem didn’t dare to attempt such strategy, and returned to a “Peek-a-Boo[ish]” squared-stance with higher-guard in order to press forward. However, Overeem’s forward-head posture, pace, and selection of strikes — combined with Browne’s toughness and front-kick — led him into defeat.

Overeem usually looked like this. Standing squared with his center-of-gravity forward allowed him to push his opponents back into corner. He’d cut his opponents off with hooks and knee them when they choose to punch. In MMA he’d stand lower and pin opponents against cage.


Frame #1* forward and backward movement

This stance is adopted by punchers who emphasize on straight-strikes that threaten the center-line (e.g. Junior Dos Santos, Eddie Wineland, Georges St-Pierre, Rory McDonald). The lead-shoulder and hand is pointed at the opponent, allowing it to be much closer than it would in a “Peek-a-Boo” stance. The rear-hand is loaded for a cross.

This stance is much more capable in keeping the opponent away with long-range punches, allowing Overeem to play with all sorts of straight strikes. [Another GIF]

To throw a left-hook, Overeem would need to adjust by throwing the right-hand first or feinting the right to load the left-hook.  [GIF 1] [GIF 2]. For the most part, Overeem kept his head in a neutral position — but also, with the lead-hand forward, it’s much more likely to slap-down or deflect a front-kick.

Shoulder Deflection:

Against Antonio Silva, we saw Overeem pull straight back (almost getting hit quite a few times). While this can be an option, he didn’t look to counter nor add an extra layer of protection by placing the shoulder in the line of attack. This made the tactic purely defensive, and porous at times. In this bout against Mir, Overeem looked to do both (and pull at an angle).

Squaring Up:

There are times where Overeem would square up (a) near the cage for lateral movement — to move out (b) throwing a right-hook to engage in clinch.

Knees Without Cage:

Mir clearly prepared for clinch engagements on the cage — successfully defending and escaping it a few times. But in open engagements, Mir was lost — he did not keep posture and as a result was punished for it.

Knock-Down Engagement

Angle #2

Whole thing in sequence

Control on the Ground: Create & Go For Openings

A lot of this fight was spent on the ground, and rounds 2 & 3 was rather monotonous. But key emphasis — Overeem was very selective of his shots: a lesson learned the hard way against Browne. Overeem spent a bulk of round 2 and 3 in full & half guard…

This sequence in round 1 though, was particularly neat.


The “fencing” stance kept Mir away when “The Reem” would want to, which allowed him to conserve his energy. Overeem didn’t care to bully Mir on the cage. Rather, he kept Mir at bay for selective clinch engagements.

These are rather significant changes to Overeem’s game — allowing him to be more “economical”. In his bout against Silva, Reem gassed out because he was muscling around a 300 pound giant in the clinch. In the bout against Browne, Reem gassed out because he got too excited and didn’t pick his shots.

But in this bout, Overeem had more tact and was careful to do neither; he picked his shots even when his opponent was hurt, and made sure to correct his mistakes. With all these changes in style and strategy, the future should be interesting.

As always, thank you for reading. To stay updated, you can follow Lawrence Kenshin on Twitter or add him on Facebook in the links below.