Tonight we have The Ultimate Fighter 26 finale, but tomorrow is UFC 218 which is stacked with ridiculous fights. Sandwiched between the main event between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo and the violent scrap of Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez, will be an slobberknocker between Alistair Overeem and Francis Ngannou. It will be a battle between a calculated veteran and a young, explosive contender. Absolute MMA legend Bas Rutten does an in-depth breakdown the heavyweight match-up.
“We know [Francis Ngannou] can hit, but if you look at his record, yes, he’s 10-0, he’s never been finished, but in the UFC – and I’m not taking away from anybody, everybody in the UFC is good, but if you look at the records that they have, the guys he’s fighting, these are not guys that [Alistair] Overeem fought. Overeem fought literally the top guys on the planet in kickboxing and in mixed martial arts, so he fought the better competition. And that’s the only thing I’m concerned about. Trust me, Ngannou, when he connects, it could be over because we know that Overeem doesn’t have the strongest chin for heavyweight, and he’s got an incredible punching power. […] If Overeem goes back to the way he was fighting when he did really well, and that is keeping in mind that his chin is not the strongest and that means single shots, not single kicks, single shots, you have one hand at the defense at all times, then I think he might win this fight. But the killer is here, does he get hit? He only needs to get hit once against a guy like Ngannou because he’s got so much power.”
— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) November 30, 2017
“Now, Ngannou, because he never went down, he comes in with a lot of confidence, but if he in his mind would really break it down and sees that Overeem fought the top K-1 guys on the planet as well, he’s a really good striker, maybe he wants to go for a takedown in that particular moment. And I know they can say, ‘but he’s a great striker as well,’ I understand that, but if you know you’re better on the ground and you can take him down, why won’t you bring him there? […] I think [I’d go] with Overeem – and he’s been doing good, his only loss in his last five or six, seven maybe even, was against Stipe, the rest he was back on track. So yeah, it’s that getting hit thing. That’s the thing with Overeem. If he gets hit, that could be trouble for him, and that’s the only thing. Otherwise, I would think that Overeem [wins] maybe because he has better skill, then he would win this fight.” — Bas Rutten via Submission Radio.
Bas Rutten gives Alistiar Overeem the edge, but admits that if Francis Ngannou’s world-record punching power connects then it could be a bad night for the Dutch kickboxing vet. Although, he doesn’t rule out Overeem taking the fight to the ground. Other than a spur of the moment Kimura over Anthony Hamilton, Ngannou hasn’t been tested there. By years of experience alone, Overeem could have the edge there and may find a path to victory with his ground game. Or, you know, they could just slug it out and see who falls first.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/1/2017.