When we last left our heroes...Imagine a Martin Scorcese movie being interrupted by a five minute scene from Dr. Giggles, and you come close to figuring out what it feels like to have this fight inexplicably crammed into a main card packed with fighters who are all either moving up in the division, or who hold titles in their division.
Obviously it's ludicrous to stick two fighters who have sniffed gold wherever they've been onto UFC Fight Pass, but they're on dramatic downward spirals right now, all of which is exacerbated by the faint stench of androgen.
Mir is on an 0-3 slope, and will be on TRT to help him break the spell. Usually the criteria for getting a Therapeutic Use Exemption requires the experience of health problems without the substance in question, but who has time for such nagging, irrelevant questions?
Here's Kid Nate, Dallas Winston and Connor Reubusch giving their analysis of this fight on the MMA Vivisection:
In the other testosterone fueled corner is Overeem, who hasn't looked the same (literally) since getting popped for a 14-to-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio in 2012. He lost both of his last two bouts to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne via KO.
I keep trying to recount their current histories, but it's hard to stray away from the discussion on PED's, testosterone, anthrax, or whatever. Whatever both men's faults, their losses are not chemically imposed. Both fighters still crumble when pressured by capable, hungry opponents.
What both men can do: We know what Mir can do on the ground, but is it possible for him to win on the feet? It wouldn't be the first time he beat a K-1 World Grand Prix Champ on the feet.
While Mir tends to look overmatched standing, he does little things right that allow him to threaten with his own offense; it's a strange paradox that I have yet to figure out. I suspect it comes from his ability to appear versatile. He doesn't have a big punch, or a big kick, but he throws them, stays active, and is often able to find the right opening. In his last five wins starting with the first Nog fight, he's able to land efficient strikes. He keeps himself well positioned for his left hand from his southpaw stance which takes him farther than you suspect.
I really feel like this one should get ugly. Overeem, despite his losses, did what he's known for; winning early, losing late. Unlike Brown and Silva I don't expect Mir to hold up to Overeem's foot and fist scrutiny. Alistair still violates people in the clinch with knees that could kill a small horse; a fine outcome for Overeem who would enjoy his victory with a knife and fork.
While Overeem doesn't do much off his back, his win at the ADCC European Trials in 2005 illustrates how dangerous he can be offensively. Even Mir might fall prey to Overeem's guillotine...
What both men can't do: Where to begin? Mir sticks his head down and looks to religious consultation when flurried on. He'll be eaten alive if he does this against Overeem.
The problem with Alistair is that he fights with a swagger with disappears quickly if he starts getting hit. I always found his win over Fabricio Werdum troubling. Overeem had the clear advantage on the feet, but Werdum would sneak in punches that while not earth shattering, kept rattling Overeem's confidence and eventually his ability to be efficient.
Werdum is actually a sneaky good striker, so I'm aware of the difference, but I wonder if Mir could accomplish something similar; sneaking in just enough punches to render Overeem inert until it's the 3rd round.
It's kind of a bizarre scenario, but outside of the Brock Lesnar bout, Overeem fights have been difficult to predict or understand.
Ultimately the reality is that for as many flaws Overeem has, Mir is the exact same guy who just doesn't do well going into the later rounds against a sustained attack. Overeem's attack is much deadlier than Mirs, so expect the beatdown to be quick, and fairly clean.
X-Factor: The guillotine. Both guys use it as a go-to submission, and it's the kind of submission where pedigree and background mean less when you can just power through a choke. I feel like Overeem would be more likely to land his since Mir absolutely needs this fight on the ground.
In-Fight Soundtrack: "They say 3 percent of the people use 5 to 6 percent of their brain / 97 percent use 3 percent and the rest goes down the drain"...thanks Todd Snider for making your song feel inexplicably appropriate for this bout.
Prediction: Alistair Overeem by TKO, round 1.