UFC 141 recap: Overeem shuts down Lesnar
UFC 141 at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas saw three marquee fights live up to their hype.
In the main matchup, Dutch K-1 kickboxing champion Alistair Overeem (36-11-1 nc) showed no respect at all for former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar’s wrestling. Admittedly, Overeem knew Lesnar’s only strength, namely the takedown and ground and pound, and trained against them voraciously. Without avoiding Lesnar’s wrestling, Overeem fought his way in to the clinch and brutalized Lesnar with knees, finally dropping the Minnesotan with a kick to the torso and a quick flurry to a downed Lesnar. Referee Mario Yamasaki put a stop to the fight at 2:26 of round one.
Noting his difficult two years with bouts of diverticulitis, and surgery that removed a chunk of colon, Lesnar promptly retired, his 5-3 record less than impressive. Overeem, on the other hand, will get his title shot against Brazilian boxer and BJJ standout Junior dos Santos.
The result was a surprise to those who felt Brock’s speed, size, strength and ground and pound still posed problems for all but a few upper echelon fighters. Overeem has spoken.
When Junior ‘Cigano’ dos Santos easily disposed of then champion Cain Velasquez in November on FOX, it appeared no one in the division was capable of taking on Cigano and doing anything other than depositing a few teeth in the champ’s 4 ounce gloves. But Overeem is a K-1 champ, a striker first, and if anyone can give dos Santos what he wants---a stand up war---it’s the Dutchman.
However, each single discipline brought into mixed martial arts must be applied and relevant to MMA, regardless of its success elsewhere. Georges St. Pierre didn’t wrestle in high school or college, and for years has had the best applied wrestling in the sport. In turn, and in spite of not owning a belt in boxing of any sort, dos Santos has the best applied fists of any heavyweight in the UFC, Overeem included.
At least until Overeem proves otherwise. It’s too early for a prediction.
Stockton California native and lip-off artiste Nate Diaz shut the door to Donald ‘The Cowboy’ Cerrone’s (17-4) 6 fight win streak with a decisive three round unanimous decision. Nate, like his brother Nick, overwhelms opponents---even stupendous strikers like Cerrone---with superior boxing, throwing punches in bunches from all angles. The win gives the controversial Diaz a two fight win streak and a 15-7 record.
In a stunning upset, Johnny Hendricks (12-1) KO'd Jon Fitch (23-4-1) with a left hook in a mere dozen seconds. Fitch had lost only once dating back to 2003 (to GSP in 2008). Hendricks’ decisive win over an inhumanly tough Fitch will serve him well in a hunt for a title shot.
UFC 141 was another insanely entertaining card with several jaw-dropping moments. With 35 planned events in 2012, the UFC shows no signs whatsoever of slowing down.