Image licensed from USA Today Sports
Alistair Overeem will welcome newcomer Sergey Pavlovich to the UFC as they face off during UFC’s trip to Beijing, China.
Overeem is coming off two vicious knockouts against Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes, both of whom will also be competing on this card. Overeem has never been known for his durability, however, it has become an even bigger concern for the Dutchman in recent years. Additionally, Overeem’s athleticism has been slowly declining as well but this to be expected with the number of fights he has had.
Pavlovich will be making his UFC debut after having run through the Russian regional scene, picking up the Fight Nights Global heavyweight title on his way. Unlike many young fighters who sign with the UFC, Pavlovich has already faced a solid level of competition. He has also been the distance several times, including a 5 round decision win over fellow top prospect Mikhail Mokhnatkin. Obviously, Pavlovich may have to deal with the infamous ‘UFC jitters’ when he steps into the UFC octagon for the first time even though he has already fought in front large crowds.
Paths to Victory
As we have already discussed, Overeem is not the most durable fighter, therefore, he has adapted his game to work around this. The Reem now tends to be more careful and sticks to kickboxing from the outside where he can avoid big shots from his opponent and use his kickboxing pedigree to score points.
Overeem will be smart to utilise a similar strategy in this fight because Pavlovich possesses knockout power and a very impressive killer instinct. One mistake for Overeem may cost him the fight and therefore he has to minimise Pavlovich’s opportunities to land a big shot. Overeem is clearly the more technical kickboxer and should be able to win a slow-paced kickboxing fight if he is able to stay out of danger.
Pavlovich is a young, athletic heavyweight with a lot of power. The smart game plan for the Russian would be to come out strong and look to put pressure on Overeem. Obviously, this opens up the opportunity for Overeem to land a counter but it will also greatly increase Pavlovich’s chances of getting the knockout. Should Pavlovich utilise a pressure-heavy style in this fight, it is possible that it will tire out Overeem if he moves a lot in order to avoid a brawl.
Pavlovich does have a tendency to find himself in slow kickboxing fights at times. For example, against Alexei Kudin and Mikhail Mokhnatkin, Pavlovich was content to stay at range and not press the issue. This is exactly the type of a fight that he would want to avoid as Overeem is the more technical and experienced kickboxer of the two and will likely be able to score more points in a slow-paced fight.
Overall, I believe that the two most likely outcomes in this fight are Pavlovich winning by knockout or Overeem picking up a decision in a slow-paced fight. Pavlovich has already demonstrated a tendency to be patient and not do much when the opponent is unwilling to open up and thus I believe that there is a good chance that it happens again in this fight. However, betting on Overeem by decision would also be risky because in a slow-paced fight with not much output the judges could prefer Pavlovich’s pressure over Overeem’s striking on his back foot.
Recommended Play: Fight Goes Over 1.5 rounds @ -110 at 5dimes.
Free Ultimate Guide to MMA Betting
Free Ultimate Guide to MMA Betting
You want to win? This guide was created for you as The Bible for the MMA Sports Bettor. The most compherensive collection of strategies, tips, and techniques to consistently grow your bankroll.Download it now!
You want to win? This guide was created for you as The Bible for the MMA Sports Bettor.
Download it now!