Hang on to your hats fight fans. The former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar will fight former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem Friday, Dec. 30, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Although it is a non-title bout, it will be scheduled for five rounds according to the UFC’s Facebook page.
The L.A. Times broke the news mid-day Tuesday.
Moments after signing the fight contract Tuesday in the office of UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta, Overeem shared his thoughts on fighting Lesnar:
“Brock is a big name, a dangerous guy, and this is a dream matchup. Brock’s a big guy, an exciting wrestler with his takedowns. I want to see this fight myself. Overall, I’m a different fighter. A striker, athletic, big. These are going to be two big trucks going at it on a collision course.”
Fertitta also commented:
“Our thinking when we bought Strikeforce was to give fans the fights they wan. Obviously, Alistair’s one of the best heavyweights in the world, but he also has that ‘it’ factor — the tremendous look, he’s huge. It’s a star factor.”
Lesnar (5-2) has not fought since he lost the UFC heavyweight title via first round TKO to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 last October. Following the loss his ongoing battle with diverticulitis returned and he underwent surgery to remove a portion of his intestines.
Unlike Lesnar, Overeem (35-11, 1 NC) is not coming off a loss, and did not lose his title. Rather, he was released from Strikeforce and was forced to vacate the heavyweight title following a scheduling disagreement regarding the date of the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament semifinals in which he was slated to fight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Apparently, that proved the perfect opportunity to sign Overeem to the UFC. Overeem is currently riding a 10-fight win streak, most recently defeating Fabricio Werdum via unanimous decision in the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament quarterfinals in June.
UFC President Dana White said Lesnar vs. Overeem is a fight the fans want to see and questioned whether or not Lesnar could take Overeem down.
Because Overeem is a K-1 kickboxing champion, one would assume Lesnar’s best bet is to put Overeem on his back. However, the Dutch fighter actually has more wins via submission than (T)KO, so there is no guarantee for an automatic victory even if Lesnar can take him off his feet.
The winner of Lesnar vs. Overeem will reportedly be first in line for a shot at the winner of the Nov. 12 UFC heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.