Top contender and former EliteXC champion Antonio “Big Foot” Silva has recently been calling out the biggest names in a STRIKEFORCE heavyweight division which arguably is, top to bottom, the most talented and deepest in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Silva won’t yet get the fighters he’s most often mentioned – most notably, STRIKEFORCE champion Alistair Overeem or Fedor Emelianenko. But Silva gets perhaps the next best thing when he faces Alistair’s older brother, Valentijn “The Python” Overeem, in one of the principal bouts Saturday, Dec. 4, at Scottrade Center in St. Louis live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
The important heavyweight matchup rounds out the televised portion of a stacked, overloaded fight card that features MMA superstar Dan Henderson (25-8) of Temecula, Calif., against former STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight world champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral (36-8) of Brazil in a collision of world-class 205-pounders in the main event.
In other fights on SHOWTIME, Paul “Semtex” Daley (25-9-2) of Nottingham, England, meets power puncher Scott “Hands Of Steel’ Smith (17-7, 1 NC) of Elk Grove, Calif., in a battle of explosive welterweights (170 pounds), exciting local favorite “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (17-6, 1 NC) of Granite City, Ill., takes on 2000 Olympic Games silver medalist Matt “The Law” Lindland (22-7) of Oregon City, Ore., in a middleweight (185 pounds) scrap and football legend and unbeaten MMA fighter, the remarkable Herschel Walker (1-0), will be opposed by an opponent to be determined
The 6-foot-4, 31-year-old Silva (14-2), of Coconut Creek, Fla., by way of Brazil, is one of the most talked-about and feared fighters in MMA. His freakish size is matched with brute strength, startling speed, incredible agility and quickness and brutal ground and pound skills. Factor in that he is also surprisingly nimble-footed and effectively combines Shotokan Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and you seemingly have all of the ingredients of a future superstar.
Silva has won seven of his last eight starts, including a decisive, lopsided decision over former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski in his most recent outing last May 15. Silva’s lone loss since December 2006 came when he was narrowly outpointed by fellow Brazilian, and Fedor conqueror, Fabricio Werdum, on Nov.7, 2009. After an early onslaught that included decking Werdum and having him in serious trouble, Werdum rallied to eke out a decision by the scores of 29-28 three times.
“I want to fight and I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me,” Silva said. “My goal is to be the best and fight for a world title.”
Overeem (28-23), of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is a fierce, dangerous striker who has won his last two fights in a combined time of 47 seconds. The 6-foot-3, 34-year-old Dutch Destroyer scored a 40-second KO (knee) over Catalin Zmarandescu last May 21. In his outing before last, the previous April 17, a head kick finished off Tengiz Tedoradze seven seconds after the opening bell.
Overeem has several notable victories, including a 0:56, first-round submission over all-time great Randy “The Natural” Couture and a 2:19, first-round submission over Sobral. Overeem has only gone the distance twice in a 53-fight career.
A member of Team Golden Glory like his brother, Overeem is a four-time winner in PRIDE Fighting Championship competition. He’ll be making his debut for STRIKEFORCE after signing with the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion in June.
Crowd favorite and St. Louis native, welterweight Jesse Finney, will take on a foe to be announced in the top non-televised undercard scrap.
Tickets for the event are on sale at Scottrade Center, online at Ticketmaster.com and Strikeforce.com or by phone (800) 745-3000.
Doors at Scottrade Center will open for the event at 6 p.m. CT. The first preliminary bout will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the first SHOWTIME televised main card fight will begin at 9 p.m.