From JDS to Mark Hunt: Breaking down future Heavyweight match-ups


Recent developments in the UFC’s schedule for 2012 have shown that the Heavyweight division will be full of many exciting matchups. With UFC 146 featuring an all-Heavyweight main card, the coming months will cause dramatic changes to the Heavyweight landscape of MMA. Coupled with the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix final featuring Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier, these developments prove that the heaviest of weight classes is ready to step to the forefront of Mixed Martial Arts. Here are the five most prominent bouts and how their significance will affect the Heavyweight division for the rest of 2012.

Junior dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem (UFC 146, May 26th): Obviously at the top of the heap is the blockbuster championship bout between the champion dos Santos and the massive Overeem. Both fighters won their last fights in impressive fashion. On paper, the bout brings two highly technical strikers who have the rarely-possessed power to match. While everyone expects this to be a match of striker vs. striker, both fighters have underrated ground games that seemingly do not come into play too often. The fight will headline UFC 146 on May 26, and should be exciting for all fans of MMA. The winner will face a challenger that is most likely the winner of the co-main event that evening.

Frank Mir vs. Cain Velasquez (UFC 146, May 26th): This aforementioned bout features two former champions who are looking to hold the championship belt once again. Mir is riding high on a 3-fight win streak, with his last victory being a gruesome submission over “Minotauro” Nogueira. Across the cage, Cain Velasquez will look to regain his winning ways after suffering a knockout at the hands of dos Santos in a mere 64 seconds last November. Both fighters are near the top of the division, and it will be very interesting to see how the elite submission skills of Mir will compare to the brutal wrestling and ground-and-pound of Velasquez. The winner will most likely become the number one contender for the belt.

Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier (Strikeforce 40, May 19th): While the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix has lost much of its luster after the Zuffa purchase, this fight still has some implications on the Heavyweight division. Barnett, a seasoned veteran, has not been challenged as of late. Cruising to two recent submission victories over Brett Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov, he is looking to regain the UFC belt that was once stripped from him. Cormier, on the other hand, is an up-and-coming fighter with a ton of potential after knocking out Antonio Silva in his last bout.  The winner will most likely eventually make his way to the UFC with a good amount of momentum on his side.

Antonio Silva vs. Roy Nelson (UFC 146, May 26th): This is a fight that, while not possessing any immediate title implications, should gauge the readiness of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva for top UFC competition. Roy Nelson has been on a bit of a snide lately, but has shown that he is always ready to take on the best Heavyweight fighters and absorb their most powerful shots. Should he defeat Nelson convincingly, Silva could prove that he is a top-tier fighter.  He held a great amount of momentum after his brutal stoppage of Fedor Emelianenko last year, but lost a bit of the hype after being knocked out by Daniel Cormier in the first round. A slugfest should ensue, and a win by Nelson could prove him relevant once more.

Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt (UFC 146, May 26th): In a very interesting and unpredictable fight, the six-foot-eleven “Skyscraper” will meet Hunt, a former K-1 veteran, at UFC 146.  Struve looked impressive after a slow start at UFC on Fuel TV 1, earning the finish over Dave Herman with a Round 2 TKO. Hunt has also looked very effective in a resurgence of sorts, scoring a brutal KO of touted kickboxer Cheick Kongo at UFC Japan last month.  Both fighters love to stand, but one has to wonder if Struve’s excellent ground game will come into play here.  Either way, an exciting bout with possible future title implications should ensue.

  • If Barnett loses, I doubt he’ll be in the UFC.

  • Agreed. But he will be Cormier’s toughest test to date.

  • Super quick, powerful boxer VS. K-1 World Grand Prix Champion

    Top level BJJ former HW champ VS. Amazing well rounded former HW champ

    Best catch wrestler in MMA VS. Olympian wrestler

    Well rounded giant VS. Very well rounded fighter, top jits players

    Young prospect who never goes to dec. VS. Former k-1 World Grand Prix Champ

  • We got ourselves one hell of a card!

  • I feel that. I’m taking Alistair as well but it will be a great match.

  • On paper we have a great boxer with immense power, and we have the WORLD champ in K1 it should be a no brainer that Overeem is going to win but for some reason I feel like JDS is a huge danger. Still don’t know who to pick…

  • I’d actually say JDS’ greatest weapon is his uppercut, which is what made it horrifying when Roy Nelson ate about 70 of them.

  • reality is the fight with overeem vs jds could go anyway, but i would not hesitate to put money on jds. i know he will win. i said the same thing for his fight with cain, and every one was on cains nuts. if you look at reems losses, most of them are to aggressive strikers. Some people think hes changed, but you can only change so much, and wurdum re-exposed those weaknesses. adding muscle wont make your chin any stronger nor will it make youre pain tollarance any higher.

  • I agree.

    Both Cormier and Barnett should move up to the UFC.

    With those two fighters added to the HWs, the division will have a number of excellent matchups. Many fans have been waiting for this for a long time–and at last, we get to see Strikeforce HWs in the UFC–no more wrangling arguments about who could beat who–now the arguments will be settled properly–in the octagon.


  • Part of JDS’s boxing prowess is footwork. For a big man, he is light and quick on his feet. He can move in to strike and move out to avoid counters. Add to that skillset an excellent takedown defense and fast, hard hands–and Junior is quite a challenge for any HW.

    Overeem is the bigger fighter–with slower hands and feet, but powerful when he connects. He is an inch taller than JDS, and has a 4″ reach advantage, and typically weighs 25 lbs. plus more than JDS. If Overeem is smart, he will use his greater reach to his advantage by utilizing snapping jabs and kicks.

    Overeem will be seeking the clinch so he can fire those knee cannons, but Junior will avoiding clinches with footwork. Alistair must resist chasing JDS, that is why he should practice his jab and kicks. When a fighter is sticking and moving–nothing stops their combo attack better than a stiff jab.

    JDS probably wants to use his footwork, and stay on the outside of Alistair and pick him apart–waiting for an opportunity to swarm in with combos.

    Overeem probably wants to clinch ‘n knee.

    Both fighters will probably keep it standing.

  • cormiers probably safe with a loss, but if barnett loses his hype will white still want to give him another chance and make a hypocrite of himself?

  • gm1

    Win or lose, I dont think Dana will want him in UFC…He doesnt like Josh beacuse he has had issues with steroids on many occasions…

  • Even though Overeem’s bread and butter is kickboxing, when matched with strikers he seems to use his wrestling and ground skills. Overeem is highly skilled in every area and defniitely has more ways to win the fight, but the question with a specialist like JDS is is his one strength good enough to keep putting guys away?

  • Mannnn Barnett is way ****y and thinks he already won ….and I think
    Cormier has a great chance hard fast hands great wrestling and trains
    with great guys he has been the underdog in every fight and has talent,..
    think Josh is over looking the fight. David has been on a long layover…
    I think Josh, Rampage< and Sapp will all retire and move to Japan and
    be thier mega pro wrestling Stars…..Josh and Sapp already make good money in Japan

  • Probably the game plan of Overeem should be the takedown / clinch and go for ground and pound / submission. He needs to close the gap between him and JDS, even though he has the reach advantage. He could avoid all kinds of trouble and use his weight advantage and strength. Just keeping your hands up and counter won’t work against a guy like JDS. So, JDS should be prepared for the takedowns and Mai Thai clinching game strategy of Overeem. If Alistair isn’t pulling of this kind of game plan he will be knocked out for sure! My pick is on Alistair, on the ground via submission or ground and pound.

  • I’m still kinda wondering why half of the top talent from strikeforce moved to the ufc, while the other half stayed. But yo, watch struve, that kid is coming. If he doesn’t knock hunt, he’ll deffs sub him.

  • Dos santos is NOT a one dimansional fighter, why take more risk if no one can get past his punches !