There is a refreshing lack of subtlety and a sniff of the old school MMA about the main event of UFC 141.
If the UFC wants to close 2011 and open 2012 with a bang they couldn’t have done much better.
The ever insightful UFC marketing department has labelled it: ”Lesnar: six foot three, 265lbs v Overeem: six foot five, 256lbs. It doesn’t get much bigger than this.”
Here is a fight that wears its heart on its sleeve: don’t expect delicate technique, don’t look for endless cardio over five rounds and don’t worry about five rounds of tedious back and forth. It couldn’t be more blunt: when these two rhinos charge into each other one will go down and it will be worth watching.
The spectacle of size will be alive and well at the UFC’s New Years party.
That said, this fight’s style match-up makes it a main event with intrigue beyond that of locking two bears in a cage. As the UFC enters its biggest year ever, it is giving us a throwback to the early days of MMA style match-ups, this one is the oldest fights in the book: standup fighter vs ground fighter.
The script for the fight almost writes itself: Alistar Overeem will be doing all he can to stay on his feet. Among his many MMA trophies sits a K1 kickboxing championship, 14 of his 35 MMA and 7 of his 10 kickboxing wins are by knockout.
The only other heavyweight in the UFC that could match this kind of potency with his hands is the current champion, Junior Dos Santos.
It doesn’t take a grizzled MMA trainer to work out Overeem will be trying to keep his distance and land some power shots on Lesnar, who’s chin has come under question in recent bouts.
On the other side of the Octagon, Brock Lesnar, the wrestler’s wrestler, will be doing all he can to take Overeem to the ground and keep him there. In the past Lesnar has shown he can knock someone down with his long looping right hand but he would be a fool to stand and trade with Overeem.
Instead Lesnar will be looking to execute a similar game plan to the one that beat down Frank Mir at UFC 100: take him down, hold him down and show him some ground-and-pound.
If pride gets in the way and they decide to enter the other’s playground it could be a short bout indeed. Neither is hopeless but will come up against someone far more experienced in that discipline.
For the winner, they’re the biggest, baddest boy at the party and in a few months, they get a shot at the champion Junior Dos Santos. Lesnar vs Dos Santos should have happened earlier this year if it wasn’t for Lesnar’s health and it could prove much the same wrestler vs striker formula as this bout.
An Overeem vs Dos Santos fight would be most intriguing and it could turn into a boxing and muay-thai master class for the ages.
My tip for this New Years? The wrestler vs striker game has been played before and if Lesnar is smart he will follow in the decorated footsteps of Mark Coleman, Matt Hughes and Tito Ortiz (to name a few), he will charge at Overeem, take him down and they won’t get back up until the referee pulls them up.