So much is on the line in the opening round match up between Alistair Overeem vs Fabrico Werdum. The reigning ADCC and K-1 champions will be fighting. This is the first time such a bout will be held. The significance of this contest cannot be understated. The ADCC and K-1 tournaments mark the most prestigious and highest level competitions in ground and stand up martial arts in the world. Further, this is no mere striker vs grappler match, as both fighters have accomplished games in the other phases. Werdum has an underrated Chutebox originated Muay Thai attack, and Overeem has nearly 20 MMA submissions and has indeed won European ADCC qualifying events in his own right. This bout carries the flags of very prestigious and revered Brazilian and Dutch martial arts traditions.
Not only does this mark the most significant striker grappler contest in history, this fight also determines the lineal champion of MMA ; The mantle Werdum took from Fedor Emelianenko's fingers after he nearly choked him unconscious. There is a compelling argument that the winner of this bout will be the number 1 HW. Many feel that defaulted to Cain Velasquez due to Emelianenko's loss, but the case for this contest holding this significance is strong none the less.
In addition, Werdum and Overeem have history, with Werdum having a win over the Reem via submission in the opening round of the last great HW tournament to be held before this(with a respectful nod going to the UFC's unofficial tournament two years ago). Overeem has said publicly he no longer issues challenges to fighters, and it is up to them to challenge him, but privately he told Scott Coker he wanted this bout. He wants to avenge the loss. Werdum's win over the Reem is held in much less regard these days because that bout was a long time ago and both fighters have changed dramatically in that time frame. Werdum's win over Fedor was so shocking many cannot resolve it as anything other than a fluke. While Overeem chases revenge, Werdum chases validation.
This in my view is the most exciting and significant HW fight of the year planned thus far, edging out the return fight between former world Sambo, Pride, and Wamma champion Fedor Emelianenko and former EliteXC HW champion Antonio Silva, who represents the "new breed" HW's with size and skill, by a small margin, and also edges out the as of yet announced showdown between the last man to defeat Werdum, Junior Dos Santos and Lesnar Slayer Cain Velasquez by an even smaller margin.
And oh yea, the Strikeforce title will be contested as well.