Happy New Year, CamelClutch faithful! You’ll be thrilled to know I have already broken most (if not all) of my New Years resolutions within the first week of 2012.
On a completely unrelated note, the UFC begins the New Year this Saturday with their second trip to Rio in 12 months with UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes…but I am not here to give a rundown. Our very own Lee McGregor probably has a far more in-depth and insightful analysis on that. Instead, I want to take a look at the UFC Heavyweight title fight between Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem well in advance. Let’s pray that 2012 is not as injury-prone as 2011, thus rendering this piece obsolete by February.
[ad 6]Let’s start off very basic: timing. I target this big (literally and figuratively) title fight for UFC 150 around mid-summer. Why? Simply put it is an easy, round, milestone number. However, with bigger draws like GSP and Anderson Silva on the shelf, I would not be terribly surprised to see it moved up a little earlier. Since JDS needed all of 64 seconds and a homerun overhand right to take the title from Cain Velasquez back in November and Overeem is on a brief medical suspension from the cut above his eye from Brock Lesnar a few weeks back, there could be a quicker turnaround.
If you have a minor gambling problem like me, you know that some oddsmakers have set very early lines with Overeem at around +140 to JDS’ -170 and even those were higher just before Overeem and Lesnar fought. Assuming the fight does go off around late July/early August for UFC 150, I am willing to bet (no pun intended) those lines get even a little closer, if anything due to Overeem’s size.
Now, let’s move on to the fight itself. While Lesnar’s name value and presence would have made his shot at the title more marketable to the casual fan, anyone who’s watched his past few fights knows his skill set, while it did improve since his earlier fights, is limited compared to Overeem. The Dutch wrecking machine has an impressive kickboxing and grappling resume with K-1 and ADCC credentials to compliment is cartoonish size.
His game plan against Lesnar was excellent: pin the guy who recently had 12 inches of his colon removed against the Octagon and knee him in the gut. After several shots to the midsection, Overeem threw a kick that Lesnar was quoted as saying “felt like I got kicked by a horse.” Lesnar crumpled, Overeem swarmed with punches until he got the stoppage.
JDS, on the other hand, will not be nearly as easy to finish. With some of the best boxing in MMA, JDS has tooled everyone he’s faced in the Octagon with his stand up. From his debut upset over the soon-to-be returning Fabricio Werdum to bloodying a very tough Shane Carwin to knocking out Velasquez for the belt, dos Santos’ friendly, charming demeanor outside the Octagon (which we all saw in his stint against Lesnar as coaches on T.U.F.) is a stark contrast to the destructive fighter he is inside the eight-sided fence.
So who wins? It is an easy fight to sell since you’re promoting arguably the two best heavyweight strikers in the sport right now. If the HW title curse is any indicator? Overeem should get the win here. I am normally superstitious, but I still have give it to dos Santos.
[adinserter block=”1″]Between the stiffer levels in competition on a more frequent basis (Velasquez, Carwin, Roy Nelson compared to Overeem’s sloppy win over Werdum and squash fights over Brett Rogers and Todd Dufee) and his speed on his feet, I think JDS moves fluidly, out-strikes Overeem for two rounds and then finishes him in the third.
Your champ at the end of 2012, ladies and gentlemen, is still Junior dos Santos.
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