Overeem and Werdum’s standup: “Smells like Napão vs. Cro Cop to me”

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After getting bought out by the UFC’s parent company, Strikeforce remains very much on its feet, as does the roster of fighters employed by the organization. In the continuation of the heavyweight GP, Fabrício Werdum faces Alistair Overeem in June. The matchup doubling as a rematch (Werdum submitted Overeem at Pride FC in 2006) will pit an ADCC champion against a K-1 champion, in a clash of styles.

However, don’t be surprised if the Jiu-Jitsu black belt goes out on a limb and tries for a knockout on Overeem. André Dida, who helps with the Brazilian’s muay thai training alongside Coach Rafael Cordeiro, guarantees it’s a possibility. An MMA and K-1 fighter himself, Dida further comments on the greatest dangers posed by Alistair:

Dida training with Werdum in New York / Photo: Carlos Ozório

How can a Jiu-Jitsu specialist like Werdum hang standing with a K-1 champion?

As I too am a K-1 Max athlete, I’m very familiar with how muay thai fighters in MMA think. I suffer a lot with that when training because muay thai movement, posture and the way of striking is different from what you should do in MMA. I’d say that if the muay thai representatives face an aggressive, attacking fighter, the fight evens out. In MMA one punch can decide the whole thing, so the chances are even for both.

What are you guys doing to prepare Werdum for any surprises?

We’re doing really specific work so he’ll not get surprised by anything. It’s simple and easy work, because Overeem has a lot of fights under his belt. He tends to approach in the same way, and I’m sure not much is going to change this time around. Werdum is also training a lot of wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu is his main skill, so it will be easy to put together a strategy. Look, this fight smells like Napão vs. Cro Cop to me. When no one expected it, Napão got the knockout. Werdum has heavy hands, hits hard, has good kicks and has great fighting spirit, which lets him fight on even terms in MMA.

But what is most dangerous about Overeem’s striking?

He’s dangerous at long range. He’s a dangerous fighter, there’s no way to deny it. He’s currently the champion of Strikeforce and K-1, the biggest event in the world when it comes to striking. The standup game is his cup of tea. But, like I said, if he puts the pressure on and doesn’t let him get ready, (Werdum) can surprise him. However, I feel he can make things hard at medium range, and that’s precisely what we’re working on to make sure doesn’t happen.

What about you, Dida, when will you return to MMA?

God willing, Strikeforce is the next event I should be fighting at. But I believe it’ll only be a few months from now. I’m teaching; I just finished moving, so I have to get my life in order. When everything is stable, I’ll get back to being a fighter.

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