December 21, 2011
Overeem should overcome Lesnar
By DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency
Let’s hope the heavyweight clash between Brock Lesnar and UFC newcomer Alistair Overeem is as dramatic as the run-up to the Dec. 30 bout in Las Vegas.
There has already been a war of words, with Overeem saying he will take Lesnar out no later than the second round and the former WWE star responding that The Reem is dreaming.
Then there was concern the fight might not even take place when it was revealed Overeem had missed a drug test requested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission a few days after UFC 140 wrapped up.
But after much to and fro, Overeem was granted a conditional license provided he take and pass another drug test. So the Dutch heavyweight flew from Amsterdam to London last Tuesday to give a sample and the MMA world held its collective breath waiting for the outcome.
A tweet from UFC president Dana White this week saying “Overeem is ready to go!!! Lesnar vs Overeem is on!” signalled the 6-foot-5, 256-pounder was clean and the fight could go ahead as scheduled.
But it has not been a good couple of weeks for the former Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 champion. The reason he missed the drug test in the first place was because he was attending to his ill mother in the Netherlands. These distractions won’t make things any easier for the 31-year-old striker when he steps into the octagon to face Lesnar, the former UFC heavyweight belt holder.
“It was a distraction but, I’ve been through a lot in my career,” Overeem said during a conference call this week. “I have like 65, 70 fights. So you learn how to deal with distractions, setbacks. I mean I’m a three-time champion and I’ve been through a lot, so it’s all about adaptation. I’m pretty good at that I think ... I’m good to go.”
The question is, will Overeem (35-11-1) be able to adapt to Lesnar’s wrestling skills in his UFC debut? It will certainly be a challenge. If Lesnar, a former wrestler at the University of Minnesota, gets him to the ground, things could go south quickly.
But Lesnar faces his own set of challenges. The 34-year-old South Dakotan will have to avoid Overeem’s devastating strikes and be sharp in his return to the octagon after undergoing surgery to combat his second bout of diverticulitis.
“This is a dog-eat-dog division and it’s definitely getting more competitive so I’ve got to be more competitive. I’m going to go out and try to be my best, try to win this fight. That’s all I can really control,” Lesnar said.
At 265 pounds, Lesnar has a slight weight advantage over Overeem. But that’s where the advantages end. Overeem is the far-more experienced fighter — Lesnar (5-2) is a relative newcomer to the sport — and holds a reach and height advantage over his opponent.
We’ve seen in the past that Lesnar doesn’t really like to get hit, and that’s something Overeem should be able to do. Add all these factors to Lesnar’s inactivity — he hasn’t fought since a loss to Cain Velasquez more than a year ago — and the edge has to go to Overeem.
Either way, it should be a good fight with the winner getting a shot at Junior dos Santos and his heavyweight belt.
Lesnar has pleaded guilty to improper tagging of an animal during a hunting trip last year in southern Alberta. The heavyweight has been fined $1,725 and given a six-month hunting suspension ... Now that it has been announced that Strikeforce will dissolve its heavyweight division in 2012, the first official crossover has taken place. Heavyweight Lavar Johnson will move to the UFC to fight Joey Beltran at UFC on Fox in Chicago on Jan. 28. The fight will be part of the preliminary card ... Heavyweight Chad Griggs has also signed a deal to move over to the UFC next year ... UFC colour commentator Joe Rogan threw his support behind Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul when he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Friday night to promote his reality series Fear Factor. Rogan came out wearing a Ron Paul 2012 sweatshirt and said, “Every single thing that comes out of his mouth, I go, ‘Yeah, yeah, finally.‘“ ... After three straight losses in the bantamweight division, Cole Escovedo has been cut by the UFC ... UFC officials have confirmed a welterweight showdown between Rory MacDonald and Che Mills next March at the Bell Centre in Montreal at UFC 145. The event marks the promotion’s return to the Bell Centre for the first time since December 2010 ... With rising featherweight contender Erik Koch sidelined with a training injury, Ricardo Lamas will step in to face Dustin Poirier at UFC 143 in February.