MMA: Is Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem the Worst Fight of the Year?
In a matchup between two of the UFC Heavyweight division's most physically imposing competitors, fans have been animate with anticipation at the thought of having Brock Lesnar square off with Alistair Overeem inside of the Octagon. Not only is there going to be a combined weight of 500 pounds smashing into each other, both individuals are highly decorated athletes allowing most fans to think that this would be a true clash of titans. Just taking a brief view of past accomplishments might encourage one to believe it.
- Brock Lesnar, a former NCAA Division I Collegiate Wrestling Champion, a former World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar, a former Minnesota Vikings try-out and a former UFC Heavyweight Champion.
- Alistair Overeem, a former Dream Heavyweight Champion, a former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, and was the first and only Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion.
With the belief that these two are both top-five competitors, there isn't many out there who could think this fight would be anything but exciting. But I am one who believes that this will be one of the worst main card pay-per-view fights of the year.
My opinion is not based off of my personal thought of either fighter but more the plain factual evidence that lies before everybody.
Lesnar has been a pleasant surprise since entering the UFC, bringing over large amounts of new fans and actually reaching the top of the UFC's Heavyweight division. He has notable wins over Randy Couture, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. So what could be the problem?
- Lesnar's Chin - It's no secret that in Lesnar's last three fights, he was rocked by Mir and Carwin and knocked out by Cain Velasquez.
- Surgeries - Not only has Lesnar's multiple surgeries left him spending the majority of his time recovering, it will more than likely have an effect on both his strength and stamina.
- Time Off - Ring rust is a real element in MMA. Lesnar hasn't fought in nearly one and a half years and has only fought three times since July of 2009.
- Aura - When Lesnar first entered the UFC he seemed almost invincible, rolling through his competition with his mammoth size and wrestling but looked less than stellar in his last return. He nearly lost to Shane Carwin in a bout that would 99 percent of the time be stopped then he looked like an amateur against Velasquez, scattering about the Octagon until the fight was called to a stop.
- Improvement - Seriously, with his time being spent recovering how can this man improve when time lost is not recoverable. Skills, strength and stamina deteriorate rapidly over time so I find it hard to believe that any improvement has been made.
- Age - Let's face it, Lesnar is 34 years of age and will be 35 years of age in 2012. His body has been through a lot of punishment in his lifetime. At his age, his body reacts differently and it is hard to believe that time has worked in reverse.
- Ground and Pound - Lesnar has been praised for his ground-and-pound offense, but who has he dominated other than Frank Mir with it? Mir himself is known for letting a guy pound on him while on the ground as he searches for better position of a submission opening.
Lesnar or Overeem?
Overeem has also been a pleasant surprise since turning into a full-time heavyweight. One cannot argue with a 11-fight unbeaten streak and an overall record of 11-1-1 since doing so. He also held the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship for four full years. That is quite an impressive record so what could be wrong?
- Quality of Opponents - Other than Fabricio Werdum, can you think of a single top-10 opponent who Overeem has faced since becoming a heavyweight? Not only that, but Overeem only defended his Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship one time in four years.
- Cardio - In Round 3 of a three-round fight against Fabricio Werdum, it appeared that Overeem was gassing. Notably this is a very slow-paced fight where Werdum constantly was attempting to pull guard. Muscles require oxygen and this is a five-round fight.
- Footwork - In that same fight, Werdum constantly was able to get in close to Overeem and attempt a takedown. Footwork and speed will be important to react to a Lesnar takedown.
- How good is his striking - Unable to dominate Werdum, is his striking as good as advertised? With his attention focused on preventing a takedown, will his striking even factor in?
- 11 Losses - This should be a concern to any fighter, who has lacked top competition because the majority of his losses have came when he attempted to step up.
- Ground Avoidance, Ground Offense, and Ground Defense - The footwork isn't there. There is no wrestling game. He isn't a BJJ black belt. If he finds himself on his back, will he be able to get a dominant wrestler off of him?
- UFC - This is his first fight in the UFC. Pressure to perform will be at its peak.
Though a heavyweight fight has more potential to end in the first round, I just see the questionable factors in this fight prevailing, making this fight a candidate for Worst Fight of the Year.
In a typical striker-versus-wrestler matchup, you usually see the striker being very wary of opening up his offensive arsenal and attack. I fully expect this to happen when it comes to Overeem. Just as he didn't want to find himself in Werdum's guard, he does not want to find himself underneath Lesnar.
Personally, I find this fight being dominated by Lesnar's wrestling for five full rounds. I do not expect a stoppage. I do not expect much offense from either fighter. I expect a single takedown per round and for Lesnar to lay on top of a gassed Overeem winning a 50-45 decision.
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