When UFC president Dana White called Brock Lesnar in September, and the latter agreed to fight on Dec. 30 against Alistair Overeem, White noted that it would be a five-round fight.
Lesnar said, “That’s fine, because it’s not going five rounds.”
Aside from both being two of the most physically impressive heavyweights the sport has ever seen, Overeem (6-foot-5, 255 pounds) and Lesnar (6-foot-2 ½, 270 pounds) have almost nothing in common other than the belief that their battle for the next UFC title shot at Junior Dos Santos will end decisively, and probably quickly.
“I’m prepared for five rounds,” said Overeem (35-11, 1 no contest), “I’ve been doing the five rounds forever now it seems. But looking at myself, the type of fighter that I am, looking at Brock, the type of fighter he is, looking at both our characters, we’re aggressive.
“We’re not the type of guys who back up,” said Overeem, the only man in history to hold a world championship in a major MMA organization (Strikeforce) and in the premier kickboxing organization (K-1) at the same time. “We’re fighters. We want to finish fights. And yes, I’m going to be doing that on Dec. 30. I expect him to be doing that, so I don’t see really going past the first or the second round. The second round maximum.”
“I feel the same,” said Lesnar (5-2). “This is a heavyweight fight that we’re both going in to finish. I don’t foresee it going five rounds.”
While statements like that from heavyweights may come across as hyperbole, few expect anything different.
The fight, billed in some places as the best heavyweight striker (Overeem, at least, has the credentials as the winner of the K-1 World Grand Prix last year, the highest level kickboxing competition in the world) against the best heavyweight wrestler (arguable, but Lesnar, Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier are likely the three best heavyweight wrestlers in the sport), is actually pretty simple to handicap, and it comes down to a few questions.
Can Lesnar take Overeem down, keep him there and damage him, mentally break him and finish him from that position? Can Overeem either stop Lesnar’s takedowns, or at least get up from them quickly enough to get enough time standing to get the knockout? Can Overeem catch him on the takedown with a knee or a guillotine?
Any prolonged standing greatly favors Overeem. And after being an eye witness to the Dos Santos title win over Cain Velasquez in just 64 seconds back on Nov. 12, Lesnar is probably going to be unlikely to fool around for too long standing against a fighter who has finished seven of his last ten opponents out in less than two minutes.
These types of fights make it worth watching the UFC. The pre fight exitement is great. Though typically, the classic kickboxer standup striker types do no fare well against the early takedowns of the grappler. Striker gets tired and is very ineffective.
If Overeem is patient and waits for his shot, it will just take one to get the upper hand over Lesnar, otherwise Brock will lay on him until the time runs out.
How do you see the fight?