UPDATED: Todd Duffee Likely To Get Crack at Alistair Overeem at Dream’s Dynamite!!

December 24, 2010
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Todd Duffee UFC 114

Todd Duffee at UFC 114 weigh-ins

A day after Dream officially announced that Strikeforce and K-1 World Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem would fight on its Dynamite!! 2010 fight card, all signs are pointing toward former UFC fighter Todd Duffee as his opponent.

Dream still lists Overeem with an opponent to be announced, but MMAFighting.com says that multiple sources have confirmed that both Overeem and Duffee’s camps have agreed to the fight.

MMAWeekly.com sources on Friday verified that Duffee and Overeem is agreed to and both parties are moving ahead, but that Duffee has yet to receive a contract and likely won’t until after Christmas Day. With Dream’s recent track record in being slow to pay foreign fighters, several payments delayed for months after the fights, it’s likely that Duffee’s camp would want some sort of guarantee, such as his show money paid up front or at least put into some sort of escrow account.

Overeem (33-11) has won eight of his last nine bouts, with his fight against Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic being declared a no contest. He won the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix kickboxing title earlier this month, but has been under heavy scrutiny for the sparse defense of his Strikeforce heavyweight championship.

Alistair Overeem kneeing Paul Buentello to win the Strikeforce heavyweight title.

Alistair Overeem kneeing Paul Buentello to win the Strikeforce heavyweight title.

Overeem won the Strikeforce title by stopping Paul Buentello with knees to the body in November of 2007. He has defended the belt only one time since, scoring a technical knockout over Brett Rogers in May of this year. There has not been any solid information declaring when his next title defense will take place.

Scoring six knockouts in the first six fights of his career, Duffee (6-1) was one of the most highly touted prospects on the UFC roster. Following the most unlikely of comeback knockouts at the hands of Mike Russow at UFC 114, Duffee was unexpectedly cut loose by the promotion.

UFC president Dana White later said that Duffee’s termination was due to an attitude problem.

Duffee’s manager, Alex Davis, in November, told MMAWeekly.com that he expected his fighter would return to the Octagon at some point.

“I think Todd at some point will be back in the UFC,” Davis said. “I think that’s what he wants.”

A win over Top 10 ranked Alistair Overeem would be a huge step in that direction for Duffee, but possessing less than a quarter of Overeem’s experience, particularly in big fights, it is no small task laid out before him.

(UPDATED at 12:15 p.m. PT on Dec. 24, 2010 – MMAWeekly.com sources confirmed the fight, but also that a contract for Duffee has not yet been delivered.)

  • JoeDan

    Wow, life sure is different outside of the UFC… I thought Strikeforce was bad, but I would be awfully aggravated as a fighter if 8 days before the event my fight still wasn’t confirmed….

  • It has always baffled me that this happens, but it has always been a common practice in Japan from the first days that I started covering this sport years ago.

  • ShockednAwed

    Ken, is it likely the fighters themselves are in-the-know earlier, with just the official word being kept quiet to keep fans interested? Or is Duffee really walking around with his fingers crossed until he gets a phone call?

    Then having asked that question, since I know nothing of the MMA culture in Japan, how excited are they going to get about Duffee as a main-eventer anyway? When Assuerio Silva’s arguably his ‘biggest’ scalp, don’t DREAM worry about a “Who and why?” reaction from the fans? Or is this simply not something they need to worry about?

  • There are times that the fighters know ahead of time. Often times in Japan, one fighter knows before the other does. They sometimes have multiple opponents lined up before declaring which one will get the fight.

    In this case, what is likely happening is that the fight has been agreed to in principal by both Overeem and Duffee, but Duffee’s camp is probably still working out the details of his contract, especially the payment since Dream hasn’t exactly been prompt in paying many of the foreign fighters it has booked lately.

    Duffee is definitely not the draw. He isn’t really going to excite fans in Japan. Overeem is the draw. He is very popular over there and just won the K-1 World Grand Prix, so he’s riding high right now in Japan. Dream isn’t likely very worried about what fans think of Duffee, they want Overeem on the card, because Overeem will draw regardless of who he fights.

    Sakuraba is on this card fighting Marius Zaromskis for his welterweight title. Does Sakuraba deserve a title shot? No way. He has lost his last two fights and is 2-4 in his last six. But Sakuraba is a legend in Japan, Dream is fading fast, and Sakuraba will draw fans whether he deserves it or not.

  • I hope he and his management team are smart enough to ensure that his purse is secured ahead of time. Waaaaaaay too much nonsense going on with guys not getting paid in Japan (and other places) lately. I’d hate to see another fighter get burned.

  • Just read on another site that Lashley was the first choice to fight Overeem but he was asking for six figures. They’re saying Duffee has agreed to a $60,000 purse with an undisclosed win bonus.

  • ShockednAwed

    Thanks boss! I see… I’ve long thought Sakuraba was Japanese MMA’s version of Ric Flair. 😀

    • That’s a perfect comparison! Let’s just hope Saku isn’t still going at it when he hits his 60s.

      • ShockednAwed

        Guess that’s all up to his relationship with the Tax Man! Whoooooooooooo!!!

        Merry Christmas Everyone! 😀

  • omcclave

    the Japanese do this so that their superstars like overeem and Japanese born fighters have a better performance against short camped opponents, it makes for better knockouts and also makes there superstars seem more legit. so mma weekly can over rank guys like shinya aoki. look at josh thompson getting thrown into a fight with Kawajiri with only a three week training camp its a joke.

    • ShockednAwed

      I get your point, but Thompson et all would still have to agree to the bout, right? They’re not getting in the ring at gunpoint.

      As for the rankings, and I don’t work for MMAWeekly or any other MMA website, but they just reflect reality – it’s not their fault if the promotions ‘set-up’ weak matchups for the records they’d like to pad.