UFC 203

Miocic vs Overeem

Picks, Parlay, and Predictions

Cleveland’s First Champion Comes Home to Trash Town
 

PICKS

Miocic x Overeem
Browne x Werdum
Gall x CM Punk
Rivera x Faber
Andrade x Calderwood
Eye x Correia
Lentz x McBride
Tavares x Magalhaes
Medeiros x Spencer

PARLAYS

QUITE CAVALIER EDITION

Browne (+180)
Punk (+300)
Rivera (-125)
Eye (-140)
Lentz (-400)
Borg (+105)
$1.00 to win $87.56

CLEVELAND ROCKS EDITION

Miocic (+110)
Eye (-110)
Tavares (-165)
Medeiros (+100)
$2.03 to win $24.11

PREDICTIONS

Heavyweights and Heel Turns

Stipe Miocic x Alistair Overeem for the Heavyweight Championship

Throughout the entire history of the UFC, the heavyweight belt has never been successfully defended more than twice. That fact highlights the rock’em-sock’em nature of the division. Turns out it’s pretty easy to clean someone’s clock out when you’re an athlete bordering on 300 pounds.

Stipe Miocic is still relatively new to the sport, considering the history behind the most of the heavyweights, but he’s added plenty of notable names to his hit list. He’s got sharp boxing and the power to drop you dead. Stipe also has a little bit of wrestling on his belt, which comes in handy when he wants to switch things up. Miocic’s rise to the title wasn’t necessarily meteoric but he snagged the belt in maniacal fashion – demanding his shot at the champ, going into enemy territory, and capturing it in under three minutes. He’s blue collar and a part time firefighter and he reminds me of Al Bundy. Don’t love him, don’t hate him.

If Stipe Miocic has great striking, Alistair Overeem has excellent striking. He also has a dangerous ground game that’s usually swept on the rug. Not a huge surprise, considering The Reem is coming up on 90 professional fights, split between MMA and kickboxing. Nothing is new to him except the drug testing policies. I think this is incredibly even so I’ll dive into my personal conspiracy theories for the tiebreaker. Overeem shouldn’t be a heavyweight - he had too much “horsemeat”. I feel like his chin is on the downswing partially because all the fights but also because he wasn’t built to take punches from these enormous guys. Stipe can be confused on the feet, we saw JDS do it, but he’s never out of the fight. Whoever connects first probably takes it but it might take Overeem an extra shot. Advantage: Stipe.

Fabricio Werdum x Travis Browne

We have an interesting rematch here in the co-main slot. Back in 2014, Travis “Hapa” Browne was one of the first victims of Werdum’s much improved striking game. He got put through the wringer and ended up on the wrong side of a 25 minute decision with a few extra broken bones. Travis has had a spotty record ever since, but that’s to be expected against the UFC’s heavyweight elite. Now, Hapa is coming in on one month’s notice and looks eager to avenge the loss. He’s always been surprisingly fluid for a giant, but it’s a bummer that he will have to rely on his stand-up and his power – the same tools that failed him last time. Luckily, a lot can change in two years.

Fabricio Werdum is MMA royalty. He’s had memorable stints in every major fight promotion and his Brazilian jiu jitsu credentials speak for themselves. Not only has Werdum been fighting professionally for over 14 years, but he’s never stopped evolving. Under the tutelage of Rafael Cordeiro, the BJJ expert has also become quite a calculated, wily offensive striker. Unfortunately, it looks like his defense still needs work. Fabricio had his hands on the UFC title for a hot minute until Stipe Miocic used his hands to starch him inside the first round. From my couch, it looked like Werdum had fallen in love with his striking and forgotten about his true strength - jiu jitsu. If Hapa doesn’t want to wrestle, and he won’t, it’s going to be tough for Fabricio to force him to grapple. I see this fight taking place on the feet, putting Werdum at a disadvantage even though it worked out for him last time. They both suffered KO losses only a few months ago, but Travis looks hungry and his power will likely make the former champ hesitant. Browne was frustrated in their first fight and he’ll know what to expect now. Werdum’s muay thai is no longer a secret and instead of being surprised by it, Travis will take advantage of it with his much heavier hands.

Phil “CM Punk” Brooks x Mickey Gall

CM Punk takes this with a GTS after a real slobberknocker to put Gall out, flat on the mat for the three count. Wait, what’s happening? BAWH GAWD, NO! IT’S A REAL FIGHT!

Not sure what I’m expecting here. I appreciate Brooks’ enthusiasm and obvious dedication to proving himself as an MMA fighter, but I can’t think of a tougher division to dive into at 38 years old. His professional wrestling career put a lot miles on his body and he doesn’t have the NCAA wrestling credentials of, say, a Brock Lesnar. That puts Punk at a sizeable disadvantage against a 24 year old with a clear commitment to his craft. We haven’t seen much of Mickey Gall, and even less of Brooks, but he looked fluid and dangerous in his debut and has conducted himself like a professional ever since. It’s a weird match-up in every way but that’s the beauty of this sport. These matches are interesting and it’s important to contrast the norm. If I had to guess, Gall takes it to the ground early and snags a sub. He knows anyone can throw bombs and it’s much harder to bluff your way through a grapplefest – look for him to take the back early.

For every James Toney there’s a Herschel Walker and for every Dada 5000 maybe there’s a Phil Brooks. Love him or hate him, Punk showed up. Everybody loves a good fight and I hope they both put on a show.