Overeem vs. Dos Santos
Coming off his dominating one-round stoppage of former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, Alistair Overeem has a chance to earn his fourth combat sports championship.
Overeem, who has not lost in his last 12 MMA fights, already holds the Strikeforce title (he vacated the belt to come to the UFC) and the Dream championship. Overeem also won the prestigious K-1 World Grand Prix in 2010.
“I’m very excited to be fighting for the title,” Overeem said about facing Junior Dos Santos. “This will be the highest achievement.
“It’s big. It’s huge. It’s even a lot bigger than K-1. It’s about 100 times bigger than Strikeforce. I love it. Every second of it.”
One of Overeem’s key trainers is also his brother-former PRIDE FC and Strikeforce fighter Valentijn Overeem.
“I think we’ll have to change Alistair’s game plan,” the older Valentijn Overeem said. “Junior is a different fighter than Brock is. We’ll have to adapt stylistically to him.”
UFC President Dana White is looking for to the title bout.
“I thought Brock Lesnar was going to beat Alistair Overeem tonight. I was wrong,” White said. “The fight with him (Overeem) and JDS is going to be very fun.”
Lesnar to WWE?
Immediately after Lesnar announced his retirement from MMA, speculation began as to whether Lesnar would return to his former occupation: professional wrestling.
White was non-committal about Lesnar’s current status with the UFC.
“He retired under contract,” White said. “I have no clue how long it is. We’ll figure it out. I don’t know (about wrestling). We’ll figure it out.”
When pushed further at the UFC 141 press conference, White provided slightly more information.
“I’ve never had a situation with a guy where we haven’t done the right thing.”
Due to the rib injury Lesnar sustained in the fight with Overeem, the former UFC heavyweight champion was not able to attend the press conference.
A new lightweight star
Coming into UFC 141, Donald Cerrone was viewed as the lightweight contender potentially ready to take the next step to vie for the UFC title.
Nate Diaz, however, had other ideas. Diaz battered Cerrone for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory.
“This was a big fight for Diaz,” White said. “We’ll see what’s next.”
For his part, Diaz already has ideas of where he wants to go next.
“I want to fight the best person I can fight: the highest ranked contender,” Diaz said. “I want to fight for the championship. I want to be the champion.”
Not done yet
Over the past few weeks, one of the major topics in mixed martial arts was whether Krzysztof Soszynski would be retiring.
Soszynski smiled when asked the question.
“It’s kind of funny,” Soszynski said. “Everybody’s saying that I got knocked out, and that’s why I said something about retirement. That had nothing to do with it. This is MMA. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you win.
“It’s my injuries. When you can’t train and you’re at 50 or 60 percent capacity, it becomes a problem. I’m going to see the doctor this month. Hopefully, he can fix my injuries and I’ll get back in the cage.”
As far as the nature of those injuries, Soszynski provided some clarity (well, sort of).
“I have three bad knees,” Soszynski said. “Really, really bad knees. I just want the chance to fight again.”
New announce team?
Starting on Jan. 20 with UFC on FX 1, former MMA Live host Jon Anik will be the play-by-play announcer for live shows on both FX and Fuel.
However, the UFC did not announce who the color commentator would be...only that it would be a former UFC fighter.
Quickly, speculation arose that Anik’s partner would be Kenny Florian. Anik, however, was visible cageside at UFC 141 with headsets on in the announcers’ area.
Somewhat surprisingly, the color commentator practicing alongside Anik was former middleweight champion Rich Franklin.