UFC 203: Why Stipe Miocic Beats Alistair Overeem

The UFC takes up shop in Cleveland for the first time and they have a heavyweight main event befitting their inaugural event in Believeland. Ohio-born Stipe Miocic will look to defend his heavyweight title against Alistair Overeem.

It’s been a magical half-year for Cleveland sports and that is not going to change come UFC 203. Miocic will defend his gold against Overeem and here are three reasons why.

Counterpunching Expertise

Miocic has developed his striking skills through years of boxing and it shows through his technique in the Octagon. He also has an innate ability to slip and rip that you only get from extensive training.

But the most important aspect of his striking game is his counterpunching. Though he can be a bit still in the cage sometimes, Miocic feasts on aggressive opponents charging him. This was evident in his title-winning fight against Fabricio Werdum, as Miocic landed a perfectly placed right hand while the former champion charged forward.

Overeem has gotten more patient in the Octagon in his most recent fights, but he is a striker. He will want to push forward eventually and that will give Miocic the opportunity to chew up the Dutchman.

Legitimate Wrestling Ability

Miocic was a NCAA Division I wrestler at Cleveland State and has adapted those skills incredibly well in MMA. However, this skill is used as a secondary component to his style, as he does prefer to strike.

The threat of the takedown is used to make Miocic’s opponents hesitant in the standup game. Stipe will likely go to land a takedown early to get Overeem thinking, but after that, feints will be used to manipulate the challenger's movement.

That’s not to say Overeem is a bad wrestler, as he has a great grip and strength, but he will need to be prepared to challenge Miocic in that area. The threat will be enough to get Overeem to drop his hands and leave himself open to punches.

Overeem Is Hittable/Can Be Knocked Out

Overeem has holes in his defensive game. He has become more patient in his most recent outings to the Octagon, which he has done in large part to try to protect his chin. When you are fighting a skilled counterpuncher like Miocic, leaving any defensive openings is potentially lethal. I wouldn’t be concerned for Overeem if he had never really been knocked out, but nine of his 14 losses have come via KO.

That’s not to say Overeem can’t take a punch, but he has been knocked out in the first round in his past two losses.

Miocic will be patient. He will wait for his openings. Overeem will undoubtedly show his defensive liability and Miocic will capitalize.

Though I clearly pose a persuasive argument, Joe Osborne doesn't agree. Here is why he is taking Overeem at UFC 203.

UFC 203: Stipe Miocic vs Alistair Overeem
  • Stipe Miocic -145
  • Alistair Overeem +115
Odds as of September 7 at Sportsbook