(column I wrote for gerweck.net)
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will bring in the New Year as fans inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena and millions watching at home will witness the clash of the behemoths.The former Strikeforce and K-1 champion will make the biggest debut the octagon has ever seen as he faces the former NCAA and UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar.
The winner of Lesnar vs. Overeem will fight Junior Dos Santos sometime in 2012 but it’s hard to predict a winner since there has been so much drama leading up to the fight.”The Demolition Man” won 10 of his last 11 fights with his last outing being a lack luster unanimous decision victory over Fabricio Werdum where he threw one punch at a time instead of lighting him up with combinations like he normally does.
He also gassed going into the 3rd round but was able to stop Werdum’s takedowns, however, the Brazilian is not the takedown wizard Lesnar is. Overeem’s cardio is a mystery due to training camp interruptions and distractions two weeks ago that caused him to switch gyms from Las Vegas to Holland and he missed the mandatory NSAC pre-fight drug testing to care for his ailing mother. Overeem traveled to England and submitted a drug test to an approved medical facility. Yesterday, he weighed in at his heaviest mark of 263 lbs and according to Josh Gross of ESPN, was hit with a lawsuit by his former management team, Golden Glory for allegedly failing to pay a percentage of his past winnings.
Brock Lesnar makes his return to the cage after a 14-month layoff due to a second bout of Diverticulitis in May that scrapped his bout with Junior Dos Santos and forced him to get surgery to remove a foot of his colon. No one is really sure if Lesnar is or will ever be truly healthy. Guessing games aside, the 2000 NCAA National Champion will bring a wrestling pedigree the like of which Overeem has never seen before.
His striking is elementary at best but he hits harder than most and sometimes that is all you need except for the fact that Overeem hits harder than just about everyone and is considered the best kick boxer in the world, which is Kryptonite to Lesnar who naturally retreats when hit in the face. If Lesnar can secure the take down early, he will hammer Overeem with his bowling ball like fists. Overeem has won 19 of his fights by submission which means Lesnar can’t pursue a ground and pound finish too carelessly. If Lesnar can’t take him down, Overeem will pick him apart on the feet with punches elbows, knee and kicks.
The Pick: Brock Lesnar by 3rd round stoppage. I have changed my pick so many times it will make your head spin. The multitude of variables makes it difficult to predict. Past fights suggest the longer the fight goes, the better it is for Lesnar. Velasquez picked apart Lesnar on the feet while being able to stop the takedown. Overeem’s submission game is excellent but his wrestling is non existent and that will make all the difference for the former WWE superstar will capitalize on the fight for the title in 2012.