UFC 213: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 (July 8th) has two big headliners: a championship bout between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, and a title eliminator between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker. You can read about those fights here, but for now, let’s look a little lower down the card.
We’ve got a heavyweight showdown between two MMA legends, Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem. And former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis makes his return to 155 after an unsuccessful venture into featherweight.
Fabrício Werdum (+100) vs. Alistair Overeem (-130)
Fabrício Werdum (21-6-1) and Alistair Overeem (42-15) have faced each other twice before, and now they’ll settle the score with a trilogy fight. They may be in their late 30’s, but both fighters are still among the top contenders for the heavyweight title.
They first met over a decade ago at the now-defunct Pride Fighting Championships, where Werdum submitted Overeem in the second round. They met again at Strikeforce in 2011, and Werdum tried to replicate the first fight, goading Overeem to meet him on the mat where he could utilize his superior jiu-jitsu skills. It was ultimately unsuccessful, as Overeem went on to win by decision.
With the fighters sitting on one win apiece, this is their chance to put the rivalry to rest. Also, it’s a chance to land a shot at matching up against heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, a fighter both lost to last year.
Werdum is the superior competitor on the mat and Overeem is the heavier striker. Werdum hasn’t looked too good in his last few fights, getting knocked out by Miocic in the first round and pinching a sloppy win against Travis Browne. It’s no secret Overeem is on the decline, but he’s at least still got his best weapon: unbelievable knockout power.
Pick: Alistair Overeem (-130)
Anthony Pettis (-240) vs. Jim Miller (+190)
Anthony Pettis (19-6) is a former lightweight champion, but those days are well behind him. After losing his title to Rafael dos Anjos, Pettis has lost four of his last five bouts. He tried his luck at featherweight, but after missing weight for an interim title shot against Max Holloway, he decided to go back to lightweight. He takes on the busy Jim Miller (28-9) in his return.
Miller is a tough competitor but he’s not among the best in the division. Pettis may have a few recent losses to his name, but his defeats have all been to former champions and title contenders — Rafael dos Anjos, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, and Max Holloway.
Against Miller, he’ll have a much easier time. This is a chance for Pettis to redeem himself and remind fight fans why he was once considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
Pick: Anthony Pettis (-240)