Alistair Overeem certainly made a memorable first impression tonight at UFC 141. Overeem stopped Brock Lesnar at 2:26 of the first round after a series of brutal body shots and strikes to win his UFC debut and a shot at the UFC heavyweight title.
This was one of those fights that you knew wasn’t going to last long and it didn’t. While you didn’t get your money’s worth inside the octagon, you certainly got your money’s worth in atmosphere and anticipation. This fight had something that the UFC has been missing for quite a while and that is the emotion in and out of the octagon of a big time fight. It wasn’t long but it likely will never be forgotten.
[adinserter block=”2″]The story going into the fight was simple. If Brock could take Overeem down, he’d likely win. If Overeem could keep this one up top, he would likely win and that is what happened. Lesnar and Overeem started off with a few missed shots. Lesnar went for the single leg takedown which Overeem blocked beautifully. Overeem nailed a few knee strikes on Lesnar early which appeared to hurt the former champion. At that point it looked like Overeem’s game plan was to tie up Lesnar in the corner, pulverize him with knee strikes, and drop the big man. Eventually that is what happened. Overeem followed a few knee strikes with a kick to the liver (going right for the diverticulitis) that rocked Lesnar. Lesnar dropped, Overeem swarmed in with strikes, and the fight was stopped at 2:26 in favor of Overeem.
If there is one thing that Overeem has been criticized for, it would be not defeating top competition. I don’t think anyone could level that criticism at the former Strikeforce champion any more. He came into the UFC, took on the former UFC heavyweight champion in his debut, and dominated him for the win. While Brock Lesnar may not be at the level of a Cain Velasquez or Junior Dos Santos, he is still a former champion. It is time to start giving Overeem his due.
Overeem became a superstar tonight in my opinion. It is one thing to come into the UFC and win via TKO or KO in your debut. It is another thing to drop Brock Lesnar to his knees with body shots and put the former champion down in Round 1. Between the win, his look, his performance, and his charisma, he has enormous potential in the UFC if he can snag the UFC heavyweight championship from Junior Dos Santos.
The win will give Overeem a title shot at Dos Santos, barring any kind of injury to either man. On paper, this is without question Overeem’s fight to lose. I am still not convinced Junior Dos Santos is this unbeatable force at heavyweight. He couldn’t finish Roy Nelson or Shane Carwin, and actually looked tired in the third round against Nelson. Is he really that good or was Cain Velasquez a lot more hurt than he let on going into the fight? I think that is the bigger question and a question that will get answered when he fights Overeem.
Overeem is without a doubt the best striker in the division until proven otherwise. I think he can handle Junior pretty handily up top if that is where they decide to go. Overeem’s biggest test in my opinion will come from Cain Velasquez. I still think that Velasquez is the most well rounded fighter in the division. If Velasquez can get past the JDS loss, I think he would be too quick on his feet for Overeem. Regardless, it will likely go down as the biggest title fight of 2012 if the UFC can pull it off.
Brock Lesnar announced after the fight that he was retiring. “I’ve had a really difficult couple years with my disease,” said Lesnar. “And I’m officially going to say this is the last time you’ll see me in the octagon.” Whether this was an emotional decision or something he had planned before the fight is something we won’t know for awhile. It is incredibly difficult for anyone to walk away from $3 million payoffs but only he really knows how much he has left in the tank following his battles with diverticulitis.
[adinserter block=”1″]If this really was Lesnar’s farewell, the man has nothing to be ashamed of. What he accomplished in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable. You can criticize his striking skills and it is certainly a criticism worth making, but I think that makes what he accomplished that much more impressive. Winning the UFC heavyweight title and defeating guys like Frank Mir, Randy Couture, and Shane Carwin with the little experience he had is even more impressive when you look back at how quickly he rose to the top in MMA.
Calling Vince McMahon!
The UFC 141: Lesnar Vs. Overeem full results…
Alistair Overeem defeats Brock Lesnar via TKO in Round 1
Nate Diaz defeats Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision
Johny Hendricks defeats Jon Fitch via KO in 12 seconds
Alexander Gustafsson defeats Vladimir Matyushenko via TKO in Round
Jim Hettes defeats Nam Phan via unanimous decision
Ross Pearson defeats Junior Assuncao via unanimous decision
Danny Castillo defeats Anthony Njokuani via split decision
Dong Hyun Kim defeats Sean Pierson via unanimous decision
Jacob Volkmann defeats Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision