You would be hard pressed to find a larger matchup to end the 2011 campaign for the UFC as Brock Lesnar returns to welcome Alistair Overeem to the sport's premier organization.
K-1 World Grand Prix, Strikeforce and Dream champion Alistair Overeem (35-11, 1 NC MMA, 0-0 UFC) will stand in Lesnar's way of reclaiming the UFC heavyweight championship as the winner will be awarded a title shot.
Friday night's massive heavyweight tilt marks Overeem's inaugural trip to the Octagon, but he's not your ordinary newcomer.
Overeem earned his fifth career victory 10 years prior to Lesnar defeating Shane Carwin to score the fifth win of his career.
Lesnar's best route to victory is no secret as it will be through his advantages in wrestling and speed.
His striking, however, is no comparison to Overeem's and he'll be facing the most experienced fighter of his career.
Lesnar won four consecutive bouts over Heath Herring, Randy Couture, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin but his deficiency in the striking department helped cost him the heavyweight championship when he was defeated by Cain Velasquez.
Forty-seven professional mixed martial arts contests stand between both fighters and oddsmakers have Overeem as a slight favorite to claim victory in his Octagon debut.
The unfortunate illness of Overeem's mother forced him to abandon training camp in Las Vegas to be near her in Holland. Additionally, the talented striker nearly found himself in trouble with the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to complications of finding the appropriate testing facilities in his country.
With that being said, Lesnar's time away from the Octagon should benefit him as it's provided him the opportunity to return at full-health and advance his striking, while Overeem's change in training and dealings with the NSAC have likely hurt his chances at defeating Lesnar.
Normally, I'm hesitant in picking a fighter that is returning from an extended layoff but in this case Lesnar's wrestling pedigree and speed advantage will prove too much for Overeem to handle in what will be a dynamite main event.
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