(Overeem and Silva [2nd and 3rd from left], back when they were just a couple of hungry up-and-comers, competing in something called a ‘Strikeforce’. / Photo via FCFighter.com)
The UFC has confirmed that heavyweight behemoth Alistair Overeem will return to the Octagon at UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar (February 2nd, Las Vegas), where he’ll face Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. According to UFC.com, the bout “has been scheduled pending licensing approval of Overeem by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. That decision will be finalized in early 2013.”
Overeem’s most recent appearance was at UFC 141 last December, where he smoked Brock Lesnar in the first round. Following that fight, Overeem was booked to challenge Junior Dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight title, but failed a random NSAC drug test in stupendous fashion, and was barred from licensing for nine months. Overeem blamed the test result on “an anti-inflammatory medication that was mixed with testosterone” prescribed by his doctor, which ranks just below Antonio Silva’s “I took a testosterone-booster for my acromegaly” excuse on the believability scale. (Yes, the winner of this fight will be a former steroid suspect, and so will the loser.) Overeem will be able to re-apply for licensure in Nevada next month.
As for his opponent, Antonio Silva rescued his career in October with a first-round TKO of Travis Browne, which followed back-to-back knockout losses. But the win was somewhat controversial; would Bigfoot still have been able to beat Browne if “Hapa” wasn’t hobbled by a hamstring injury early in the fight?
Overeem and Silva were originally slated to face off in the semi-finals of Strikeforce’s heavyweight grand prix. However, Overeem was removed from the tournament (and booted from Strikeforce altogether) when he refused to compete due to nagging injuries. Daniel Cormier replaced the Reem, beat Bigfoot’s ass, went on to win the tournament, and probably made a couple of ballsy gamblers rich in the process.
We’re hoping for a good, competitive scrap between The Reem and The Chin, but this matchup looks tailor-made to put Alistair back in the spotlight, and re-establish him as the UFC’s #1 heavyweight contender. Anybody else see it differently?