Before Overeem's victory over Brock Lesnar last night, there was already a definitive buzz surrounding the idea of a fight with Junior dos Santos. As such, many people were already picking Alistair. However, I think that going into this fight, Overeem has a lot of questions to answer.
First of all, how will he deal with Junior's speed? It's no secret that Overeem takes a slower, more plodding approach to striking. Additionally, he isn't much of a volume puncher. While he does have some serious explosiveness in his combinations, he seems to always be looking for that one big punch, kick or knee. These are all flaws that JDS would be happy to exploit. He's faster on his feet than Overeem is and he has both vicious one punch knockout power, as well as some blazing combinations.
Next, will his striking defense be good enough to avoid Junior's technically solid boxing? Overeem's turtle like approach to striking defense works very well in kickboxing, but in MMA, many strikers who are inferior on paper have managed to repeatedly find his chin. when he is being pressured, he also has a tendency move backwards and put himself in even more dangerous positions. If Junior is able to find his chin or put him against the cage, the fight will be over very quickly.
On the flip side, Junior has shown that his striking defense is considerably more solid. He knows how to use head movement to avoid his opponents strikes, and if he is put in a dangerous position, he will circle away from his opponents power and utilize the cage to get back to safety.
Finally, will his conditioning hold up? He has shown some issues with cardio in the past. In contrast, Junior seems to have anything but cardio issues. In the later rounds, he doesn't seem to slow down the way Alistair does. While it seems unlikely that this fight will go the distance, stranger things have happened, and conditioning could end up being the deciding factor.
What do you guys think? What do you see Alistair's path to victory being in this fight?