Today’s news that Alistair Overeem and Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva are matched for February means that an original semi-final of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix will be played out at last.
The two were originally set to meet in September 2011 but Overeem pulled out (supposedly with an injury but he then signed with the UFC) and Silva instead fought tournament alternate Daniel Cormier, losing by KO.
Silva was hoping the fight could happen at a UFC event in his native North-East region of Brazil next year - “It would like a dream coming true to fight in that region, even more versus Overeem. We'd need a big soccer stadium for the event. Big and strong to bear our weight together,” he says.
But he is happy enough that he is getting the chance to face Overeem at last and the fact that Overeem was, until this fight was announced, the lead contender surely bodes well for Silva if he wins. Champion heavyweight Junior Dos Santos defends the belt against Cain Velasquez on December 29 and Overeem was thought to be next in line. Now he needs to beat Silva.
“He is ranked third in the weight class. If I beat him, I automatically become the third, right?” Silva grins.
“But I don't worry about rankings. I fight my fights, train and show my value in the Octagon. I was already a victim of ranking - I fought Cormier, who was not counted in the ranking at all at that time, lost and went to the back of the line! That’s how it goes.”
The fight is set for the big Superbowl weekend card taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday February 2.