Fans were not impressed with much of last night's Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum card. The headlining bout between Dutch K-1 kickboxing champ Alistair Overeem and Brazilian jiu jitsu champ Fabricio Werdum devolved into a lot of butt-scooting, guard laying and gassing out.
Overeem explained the frustrating performance in a post-fight press interview on Showtime:
"Considering that Fabricio is the best grappler in MMA, the game plan was to not go into his game. I consider myself, with the K-1 title, the best striker in MMA, so I wanted to keep it standing. He made so many takedown attempts. It was a little frustrating to me, because I couldn't finish him in that first [round], and I also couldn't deliver the fight that I wanted to deliver to the fans."
"We worked a lot on my cardio. I wasn't worried about that," said Overeem. "He just did not want to stand and bang with me, and I expected that. He had a lot of words before the fight, so it's a pity. My apologies to the fans."
"Once I got on top of him, it became a matter of making him drown underneath me - taking his wind, taking his spirit, taking his energy, and doing it without any sort of injury," he said. "Because this is a tournament. I have another fight, and I have another fight after that. So it's important to be very tactful and very strategic about you take these guys out."
"I just decided not to open up," he said. "I decided to keep it there, conserve energy, and ride heavy, heavy, heavy. Drive those hips through, take his guts, take his wind, and it's a small thing. It's not something that's visible, and you can't really see it to understand it.
"If I did open up, he's going to open up, too. Yeah, I could probably catch him in something. But why take that opportunity with a big, explosive guy like that? Let him get thrashing about, and who knows what can happen."
There you have it. In Overeem's case, the claim that his conditioning wasn't an issue is pretty far-fetched. He was visibly gassed in the post-fight interview and spend the last half of the fight bascially lying in Werdum's guard. Fortunately for him, Werdum was even more exhausted and the submission specialist was unable to get anything going from his back.
As for Barnett, it's hard to argue with his performance. He took his time, but he also got a definitive second round submission and took no damage in the process.