It didn’t take the UFC long to get a return on their new investment. The UFC announced what some would call a dream fight between Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem on December 30. This would mark Lesnar’s first UFC fight in over a year and Overeem’s first UFC fight ever.
The news came via a report in the Los Angeles Times. It is somewhat odd that the UFC would choose to break the news on the Times website rather than their own or through an established MMA website, but that is exactly what appears to have happened.
It had been rumored for the last week that the UFC and Overeem were very close to finalizing a deal. The new deal comes just a month after the UFC’s parent company Zuffa, LLC dropped Overeem from his Strikeforce contract. Overeem later said in an interview that the bad blood came during a contract negotiation where Overeem wanted to go to the UFC and Zuffa wanted him to stay in Strikeforce. Well it would appear that Overeem got what he wanted and MMA fans now have arguably the biggest heavyweight MMA fight of all time coming in December.
Overeem comes to the UFC as the current holder of the Strikeforce heavyweight championship. Overeem comes into the UFC with an 11-fight streak of 10 wins and one no contest. Overeem is also a decorated kickboxing champion, winning K1’s Grand Prix last year. Overeem defeated Fabricio Werdum via unanimous decision in what will likely go down as his final Strikeforce fight.
Brock Lesnar will be coming off only the second loss in his UFC career. Lesnar has been out of action for close to a year after being dominated at the hands of Cain Velasquez at UFC 121. Lesnar is coming off colon surgery and has reportedly yet to begin training. Lesnar pulled out of a scheduled fight against Junior Dos Santos in June after another bout of diverticulitis.
This is no easy return fight for the former champion. Quite frankly, I almost get the impression that Lesnar will be acting as a sacrificial lamb here. Most MMA experts agree that Lesnar’s biggest weakness is his stand up and striking game. He hasn’t had a chance to improve on it due to his most recent surgery. He will now be returning against a guy that is a striking champion. In all honesty, Lesnar should be easy pickings for Overeem.
It should be noted again that Lesnar has not trained for a fight since undergoing surgery. There was a recent report that Lesnar’s doctors are telling him that another fight could be risky. There is a very strong likelyhood that Lesnar won’t see December 30 once he starts training. The amount of stress on his body following surgery could be too much for the former UFC heavyweight champion. My hunch is that Frank Mir would be ready to go as a replacement if that would be the case.
“This is the fight the fans want,” UFC President Dana White said. “Both of these guys are monsters. Can Lesnar take Overeem down?”
The December 30 date is a bit odd because it is on a Friday. It is on New Year’s weekend and with New Year’s Eve on a Saturday, it would make sense for the UFC to move the show. However, I do wonder if this event will wind up on Fox since it is on a Friday night. I could be wrong but I don’t think that the UFC has ever done a Friday pay per view before.
The countdown to the most anticipated heavyweight fight in UFC history is officially underway!