“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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