The long awaited UFC 141 event goes down tomorrow to what will surely be roars from the MGM Grand crowd in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event is certainly one of the most anticipated matches in UFC history, as former champion and cross over attraction Brock Lesnar takes on Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 Champion Alistair Overeem in a fight that sees the winner go on to challenge for the UFC title. The books have Overeem a slight favorite, however many experts and also other fighters are picking Lesnar. Now that the match is here let’s take another look.
In the obligatory press conferences and appearances, both men have been professional and avoided controversy. It seems to me that both men are a bit subdued, feeling the pressures of the fight, and my assessment is that Overeem seems to be handling it better. Lesnar has looked uncomfortable trying to handle the bombardment of questions about his health, his long layoff, his chin. Overeem who is dealing with a sick mother, seems a litle more at ease. If this carries over into the fight, it is advantage Overeem.
Even at the weigh ins, Overeem seemed more relaxed. He did the brief post weigh in interview with Joe Rogan, but Lesnar left, refusing to face the crowd. Neither guy had trouble making the weight, and Lesnar will likely have about 15 to 20 lbs more on by tomorrow. Overeem weighed in at 263 lbs.
It has been pointed out that both bring very different skills to the match, Lesnar with his wrestling and Overeem with his striking. The next logical question I ask is who has more ways to finish the fight? I think in this particular case, Overeem has more ‘outs’.
Overeem’s striking will be dangerous throughout the fight, and we are talking about getting hit from all angles. Even should Overeem tire, he retains KO power with knees, kicks and punches.
While neither guy is going to win the BJJ World Championships, I have to give the submission advantage to Overeem. Overeem has won more MMA fights by guillotine (eight) than Lesnar has fought (seven). And Lesnar is going to have to come in to get Overeem down, so the guillotine is a viable weapon. Overeem also has a good mix of keylocks and kimuras that he has used as well. Lesnar has exactly one head squeeze to his credit.
OK in a fight you never know what will happen, but Lesnar is going to have to shoot. Overeem should be looking to make Lesnar work for these takedowns. If he an make Lesnar miss a handful, that will help diminish Lesnar’s gas for the later rounds. Yes Lesnar may get him down and take him out with strikes, but I think Overeem is tested enough against strikers that he should be able to handle it. Once on the ground, Overeem should look to tie up Lesnar, both to avoid damage and force a standup.
So let’s say the fight is heading into the 5th round. If in the first four rounds Overeem can make Lesnar miss two serious takedown attempts, Lesnar is successful in 4 takedowns, and the ref elects to stand them up twice. That is a lot of activity for Lesnar going into a fifth round.
Bottom line is I think we will wake up Sunday looking forward to Alistair Overeem versus Junior Dos Santos.