Alistair Overeem vs Antonio Silva Planned For UFC 156 CardFormer Strikeforce and DREAM Heavyweight Champion Alistair “Demolition Man” Overeem hopes to return to action to face one-time EliteXC titleholder Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC 156 on February 2nd in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Review Journal first reported the bout on Tuesday.

Overeem’s return will be subject to licensing from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which suspended the Dutch fighter for elevated testosterone levels earlier this year. Overeem is unbeaten in his past 12 fights. Silva has won four of his past six and stopped Travis “Hapa” Browne at UFC on FX 5.

Overeem (36-11-0, 1 NC) has battled steroid accusations throughout much of his run as a heavyweight, which began in 2007 when he won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship. As the once lanky light heavyweight continued to put on muscle mass, critics took note and suggested that the change may not have been natural. Overeem maintained that he was a clean fighter, but a pre-UFC 146 drug test indicated that his testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio was more than twice the level accepted by the NSAC. The commission subsequently suspended Overeem for nine months and he will be eligible to apply for a licence to compete after December 27th.

His issues with the commission aside, Overeem remains one of the sport’s premier heavyweights and he has manhandled the majority of his recent opponents. In June 2011, Overeem avenged a past loss by taking a Unanimous Decision victory over Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum. He then made a successful UFC debut by destroying former champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 141. Overeem was given the option of facing the winner of the upcoming UFC Heavyweight Championship rematch between Junior “Cigano” dos Santos and Cain Velasquez, but instead opted to stay busy by fighting Silva in February.

Silva (17-4-0) has also had his own run-ins with steroid scandals in the past. Following his 2008 EliteXC Heavyweight Championship victory, Silva tested positive for Boldenone and was suspended for one year by the California State Athletic Commission. He avoided the suspension by competing in Japan before returning to North America for his Strikeforce debut in November 2009. Silva’s most notable win came in early 2011 when he stopped former long-time PRIDE champ “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. He then suffered back-to-back losses to grand prix winner Daniel Cormier and Velasquez, but rebounded with a first-round TKO victory over Browne this past month.

The Overeem-Silva bout, should it proceed as planned, will likely determine the next challenger for the UFC Heavyweight Championship after dos Santos and Velasquez vie for the title in December.

UFC 156: “Aldo vs Edgar” takes place on February 2, 2013, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is headlined by a UFC Featherweight Championship bout between José “Scarface” Aldo and Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, and also features a light heavyweight battle between “Suga” Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira.



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