Friday, December 23, 2011

UFC 141 Preview: 2011 is going out with a bang

As I sit here previewing next Friday’s UFC 141 card it suddenly dawned on me that no matter what I say regarding the main event, it’s quite simple, somebody’s getting knocked the f*** out! I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you have two finely tuned behemoths coming at each other, something or somebody’s got to give; the question here is who?

One thing is for sure, UFC President Dana White and matchmaker extraordinaire Joe Silva can never be accused of protecting or coddling any of their fighters. On the last show of the year they have paired arguably their biggest money draw in former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar against their biggest free agent signing this year in former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair ‘Demolition Man’ Overeem. The result is a fight for the ages that is intriguing and full of questions for many reasons.

First and foremost is, what Brock Lesnar can we expect considering Lesnar (5-2, 2 KO’s 2 subs) hasn’t competed since his title losing affair against Cain Velasquez 14 months ago? The reason behind the layoff was his second bout in two years against Diverticulitis, a serious condition that affects the digestive system. Thus, Lesnar had to endure a second surgical procedure to correct the problem, which always leaves the lingering question of how healthy is he?

This doesn’t even take into account, the rust incurred from such a long layoff. One needs to remember that while he’s a freak of nature type of athlete with top of the line wrestling credentials, he’s still a relative pup in the cage with only seven pro fights to his credit. Compare that resume to Overeem (35-11, 14 KO’s 19 subs) and on paper at least it looks like a mismatch.

However, Lesnar holds one wild card, wrestling. If he is able to clinch Overeem and take him down before “The Reem,” as he is also known, is able to inflict his damage, the UFC newcomer could be in a world of hurt like he’s never experienced before. Lesnar may be inexperienced, but he is massive and he’s a monster, literally. Thus, having him with that wrestling ability on top of you can spell doom.

Yet, that wild card is all he has in a hand that at best would sum up to only two pair in poker. Overeem on the other hand has everything from a three of a kind to a flush. Highly skilled in kickboxing, based on his background in Holland and experienced in all facets of Mixed Martial Arts from his vast international competition, I expect the “Demoltion Man” to live up to his name and demolish his opponent.

It’s no secret Lesnar doesn’t like to get hit; granted nobody does, but he’s a fish out of water as soon as he get’s touched and when facing Overeem, I anticipate he’s going to get hit fast and hard before he’s ever able to impose his wrestling will on the Dutch striker. That coupled with cage rust is why I am picking Overeem by first round TKO. If that happens, a showdown with current UFC champion Junior Dos Santos would be dynamite, literally and figuratively.

In the co-main event, we’re going from one extreme to the other as unlike the two Goliaths that are facing each other in the main event this fight takes place in the lightweight (155 lbs.) division. Yet, don’t be surprised if this one takes fight of the night honors as Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (17-3, 1 KO, 13 subs) looks to make it seven wins in a row against talented Nate Diaz (14-7, 3 KO’s 10 subs). This fight may be about as even as you can get.

Both guys are extremely versatile and are equally adept standing or on the ground. While conventional wisdom would probably have you lean towards Diaz as far as jiu-jitsu is concerned, it’s hard to ignore Cowboy’s 13 submission victories. Also, while Nate is unorthodox, but effective with his boxing, Cerrone has kicks in his arsenal that Diaz just doesn’t possess.

Almost too hard to call it, I’m going to pick Cerrone in this one via decision based on one factor. In a failed attempt at moving up to welterweight, Diaz was tossed around like a rag doll in his fight against Rory MacDonald. I think Cerrone may have the strength advantage between the two, which is my overriding factor in this one. On another note, this will be Cowboy’s fifth fight in 2011.

Finally, in a very interesting fight welterweights (170 lbs.) Jon Fitch (23-3-1, 5 KO’s, 5 subs) and Johny Hendricks (11-1, 6 KO’s 1 sub) square off in a contender’s match between two of the division’s best wrestlers. That said, while Fitch has challenged once for the belt and is arguably the number one contender right now, I am picking Hendricks via decision. The difference is boxing where Hendricks has shown constant and developing improvement. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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