The UFC will hold their first event in the Netherlands when they take the Octagon to Rotterdam on May 8. Netherlands' own Alistair Overeem will take on Andrei Arlovski in a heavyweight match to headline the event.
Overeem will almost certainly get a title shot with a victory in this bout, as the Dutchman enters Rotterdam as a Sportsbook of three-straight fights, including a victory over Junior dos Santos. Arlovski needs a win against Overeem to prove he still belongs near the top of the heavyweight division.
These two are some of the most experienced fighters in MMA today, with Overeem starting his professional MMA career in 1999 and Arlovski making his UFC debut in 2000. So there is no doubt that these two have seen almost everything that can be thrown at them.
The many years of wear and tear have taken their toll on both fighters, as Overeem and Arlovski both have pretty weak chins at this point. Both of them have developed defensively as they have aged in an attempt to hide their glass jaws, thanks in large to the training of Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.
One of the biggest wildcards in this fight will be Jackson and Winkeljohn. The two legendary trainers have decided to be in Arlovski’s corner as oppose to Overeem’s, with both fighters training at Jackson-Wink. Obviously this could give Arlovski an extra advantage, as his cornermen will have intimate knowledge of his opponent.
Overeem is the more well-rounded fighter, as he has rounded out his ground game to support his elite-level striking. ‘Reem is at his best when his is showing his versatility in his striking, with his knees being particularly deadly. However, Overeem has been known to look lackadaisical in the Octagon, something he has managed to avoid since moving to Jackson-Wink, but it’s still worth noting.
Arlovski will be looking to move in this fight. ‘The Pitbull’ should be looking to throw quick two or three-punch combos and getting out of his opponent's range. Arlovski has still never really developed a great repertoire though, as he can be kind of predictable in his offense.
Overeem has never gone five rounds in his career and Arlovski has just once - against Tim Sylvia in 2006 - and have only gone to the judges scorecard a combined 15 times in 80 career fights. The long and short, this is a typical heavyweight fight that either Overeem or Arlovski can win with one punch.
Rest Of Main Card
Heavyweights will also be under the spotlight in the co-main event when Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva takes on Stefan Struve. Neither of these men have been particularly good recently, as Bigfoot has one win in his past six fights and Struve is 1-3 in his past four. The odds of this fight going the distance is next to zero, with the two going to the judges a combined six times in 61 career fights. Bigfoot will be looking to knock Struve’s head off, something that has been easily done before, and Struve will be looking to use his abnormally long limbs to secure a submission.
Albert Tumenov and Gunnar Nelson clash in a welterweight fight that has fight of the night potential. Tumenov has garnered a cult following thanks to his brutal knockouts, with 11 of his 17 career wins coming via T/KO. Nelson, is one of the best submission artists in the world with the BJJ black belt winning four of his UFC bouts via sub.
Undefeated Danish fighter Anna Elmose will make her UFC debut against Germain de Randamie. Elmose, who has not fought since May 2015 due to some injuries, is 3-0 with all three victories coming via KO and all before the third round. De Randamie is 2-1 since joining the UFC with her lone loss coming against Amanda Nunes. Expect ‘The Iron Lady’ to stand up with Elmose, as the Dutch fight has an experienced Muay Thai background.
If you’re looking for excitement, then Nikita Krylov vs Francimar Barroso is for you. Krylov has never once made it to the judges scorecard in his 23 career fights. The Ukrainian enters Rotterdam on a three-fight winning streak, all of which came within the first round. Since joining the UFC Barroso has seemed to fight more conservative and outpoint his opponents, but he is a deadly finisher when he wants. Barroso is at his most entertaining when chaining submission attempts together on the ground.
Undefeated strawweight prospect Karolina Kowaliewicz will take on Heather Jo Clark to open the main card. Kowaliewicz is a high-output striker that excels when working stinging combinations. That being said, the Polish fighter does not possess much in the way of striking power and would rather pick a fighter apart. Clark is a solid, all-around fighter and comes into this bout after winning her first UFC appearance against Bec Rawlings.