Heading into his bout with Alistair Overeem at UFC 156, all the talk was about the Dutch striker’s next fight, which in all likelihood would be a showdown with heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. Overeem walked in a huge favorite, and a lot of people were betting that he’d put Silva out inside of about two minutes.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva had other plans.
A slow paced first round resulted with neither fighter gaining much of an upper hand, but in the second Overeem to the fight to the mat and started to unload some heavy shots on Silva. The fighters eventually made it back to the feet, and just before the final horn sounded, Silva tagged Overeem with a couple solid shots, letting him know the fight wasn’t over just yet.
As the third round began, Silva came out aggressive firing big, heavy shots at Overeem, backing him up before firing a quick head kick.
Silva’s power started to show as a series of right hands slipped through tagging Overeem near the eye, followed but a nasty uppercut that cracked the former K-1 Grand Prix champion’s jaw. The big Brazilian launched another right hand followed by another, and another and Overeem soon crumbled to the mat.
Referee Herb Dean literally had to pull Silva away as he towered over top of Overeem, shouting down at the former Strikeforce champion after a heated exchange between the two during a media event on Thursday.
“The fight (is) won inside the cage, not outside,” Silva said after picking up his second win in the Octagon. “He talked a lot of s—t outside. I believe in myself, I believe in my coaches. I’m so happy.”
Overeem played with fire in the fight as he lowered his hands and invited Silva to strike with him, knowing that on paper he was the superior stand-up fighter. Unfortunately playing with fire can get you burned, and Silva lit the match and torched Overeem at UFC 156.
“I told him at the press conference I’m going to make you respect me, brother,” said Silva.
The win will undoubtedly launch Silva into elite status in the UFC’s heavyweight division, while Overeem who sat out the last year and returned with a title shot looming, now tries to pick up the pieces after a devastating loss to kick off 2013.