Top 10 heavyweights Alistair Overeem 45-18, 23 KOs, 17 SUBs, and Walt Harris 13-7, 13 KOs will meet at UFC Fight Night 172 on Saturday, May 16 at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The card airs live starting at 9 pm ET.
Any UFC heavyweight looking to become a legitimate top guy must get through Alistair Overeem first. As the division’s top stepping stone, The Demolition Man is a big name and a tough fight - but his shattered chin offers opponents a clear path to a top 10 ranking. Right now, he’s the guy that every up and comer should be calling out - like a heavyweight version of Michael Bisping.
Case in point: the last four fighters to beat Overeem are Jaizinho Rozenstruik, Curtis Blaydes, Francis Ngannou, and Stipe Miocic. Miocic is the champ, Ngannou and Rozenstruik just fought for a title shot and Blaydes is on a very short list of worthy title contenders. This Saturday UFC Fight Night 172: Overeem vs. Harris, Walt Harris will hope to join esteemed company when he meets Overeem in the main event of a solid Fight Night offering.
Overeem is looking to bounce back from a horrible loss to Rozenstruik - the Dutchman was knocked out with just four seconds left in a fight he was comfortably winning. His top lip was grotesquely split open by Bigi Boi in one of the most visually graphic injuries in recent memory. Luckily, it just required some stitches, but it was super nasty.
Harris could do some serious damage to Overeem’s career. The American unranked and relatively unknown, so a win could knock the legend out of the top 10 entirely. Harris could also notch his fifth straight win and capitalize on the momentum of a 12-second win over Alexei Oleinik in his last outing.
Early UFC Fight Night 172 odds at Betcris opened with Harris as a clear favorite, but let’s look that the online sportsbook and break down your best betting options. Live UFC betting is available during the fight if you’d like to bet on live line updates.
|UFC Fight Night 172: Overeem vs. Harris Odds
|Alistair Overeem +127
|Walt Harris -160
|Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +305 / -425
Significant Striking Stats
- Strikes landed per minute: Overeem 3.65 / Harris 2.96
- Striking accuracy: Overeem 73% / Harris 38%
- Strikes absorbed per minute: Overeem 4.69 / Harris 2.68
- Striking defense: Overeem 59% / Harris 61%
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- Takedowns per 15 minutes: Overeem 0.6 / Harris 0.35
- Takedown accuracy: Overeem 25% / Harris 33%
- Takedown defense: Overeem 73% / Harris 76%
- Submissions per 15 minutes: Overeem 0.3 / Harris 0.18
Honestly, it’s hard to peg Harris’ ceiling. He’s finally starting to put things together at 36 years old, but for a while, he looked destined to wash out of the UFC without making a peep. This current streak is nice, but Harris has yet to beat anyone above the middle tier. Even though Overeem isn’t close to the monster he used to be, Harris will need to raise his game to a level we haven’t seen inside the octagon just yet.
For the past five years, Overeem has largely remained the same fighter despite changing numerous camps. He’s arguably the best pure Muay Thai striker in the division, has one hitter-quitter power but one of the most famously vulnerable chins in the sport. At this point, opponents can pick and choose how to hunt for the fight-ending shot. Rozenstruik just waited for a perfect flurry. Ngannou and Blaydes came out aggressive and put him on ice early.
UFC Odds Pick: Overeem to win inside the distance at +210
We understand if you’re scared to bet on Overeem - we still are. But this is still a dude that has easily put away middle-class fighters recently. Harris’ size and speed could be a problem, but Overeem is far more skilled on the feet and should find a way to control the exchanges. Surviving five rounds without getting knocked out seems like a tough ask, but he was four seconds away from winning a decision against Rozenstruik.
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