Heavyweight fights are a spectacle. They’re the fights that people who aren’t necessarily even fight fans tune in to see. Watching the big guys go at it has such a universal appeal. On December 30th two of the biggest heavyweights, Alistair Overeem and Brock Lesnar, go toe-to-toe in a literal clash of MMA titans.
Overeem will have a lot on the line in his UFC debut. It’ll be the first time he’s introduced to many UFC fans that aren’t familiar with his myriad of work outside of the organization, and a win will put him in the running for the number one contender spot. While he’s sure to bring in lots of international appeal, he’ll still be under heavy scrutiny from many of the fight fans suffering from tunnel vision. This is his chance to show the absolute warrior he is.
So what are the 5 burning questions heading in to Alistair’s UFC debut? Read on to find out.
While Alistair may be a household name outside of the U.S. he’s still a new face in a lot of American homes. Much like Brock, Overeem is a monster truck of a person. Bulging with muscles everywhere a man can, Alistair has a look that is very similar to that of Lesnar.
A win over Lesnar would make Overeem a household name, but does his personality appeal to the wide ranging audience that Brock’s does? Love him or hate him, Lesnar knows how to play to an audience. Will the softer spoken, calm demeanor of Alistair go over as well with U.S. fans?
I’m not trying to knock Brock’s skill, but his size and power has played a huge role in many of his fights. Alistair is nearly the same size as Brock, with maybe 15 to 20 pounds separating the two fighters. Will the Midwestern powerhouse be too much for Alistair to handle? Or has Brock finally met his equal when it comes to strength?
In his fight with Fabricio Werdum, Alistair stuffed many of Werdum’s take downs, and was able to avoid being dragged in to the black belt’s guard. Even when Werdum succeeded in getting Overeem in his guard, Alistair still stood up seemingly at will.
Will Alistair be able to do the same thing with Brock? Or will Lesner be able to pull Overeem to the ground and impose his will like he has with so many other opponents?
After his most recent fight with Werdum, Overeem’s cardio has been in question. If Alistair gives another lack luster performance in his debut, it won’t sit well with UFC fans. As I’ve said before, this is Alistair’s chance to shine, but laying on top of the former UFC heavyweight champ isn’t going to win Overeem any fans.
Many people are also saying that if Brock can weather an early storm, he might be able to gas Overeem, and defeat him via TKO or submission in the later rounds. Alistair can put all that to rest with a dominant performance over Brock.
Striking is going to either play a major role in this fight or a very minor one. The smart money says it’ll play a very major one. Alistair is a highly decorated K-1 kickboxer, and absolutely has knockout power. Brock has had trouble with high caliber strikers like Shane Carwin or Cain Velasquez.
With this being the first time many UFC fans will be exposed to Alistair, a stellar KO or TKO can and will go along way for him. How big of a role will Alistair’s superior striking play in this fight? Brock certainly won’t have the ability to stand and trade with Overeem, but will Lesnar have improved his stand up defense enough to stay in there until he can take Alistair down?