Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alistair Overeem signs with UFC, meets returning Brock Lesnar on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

An immensely newsworthy 2011 for the UFC is going to finish with a massive year-end fight, as former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar will meet Alistair Overeem on December 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the bout, which will be the first for Overeem in the UFC. The sides were in negotiations for some time after Overeem refused his Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Pris semifinal bout with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, and Overeem signed his contract on Tuesday.

"Brock is a big name, a dangerous guy, and this is a dream matchup," Overeem said of the fight. "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.

Overeem enters the UFC with championships in Strikeforce and K-1, and is unbeaten over the last four years. Lesnar returns to action for the first time since undergoing surgery in relation to his diverticulitis, and the winner of this bout will be first in line to take on the winner of the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos title bout in the UFC's Fox debut.

"This is the fight the fans want," UFC President Dana White said. "Both of these guys are monsters. Can Lesnar take Overeem down?"

"Our thinking when we bought Strikeforce was to give fans the fights they want," said UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta. "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."

Link to Original Source Article

Penick's Analysis: This is just huge. This is a fight a lot of people have been wanting to see over the last couple of years, and it's going to be a massive fight to close out 2011. Lesnar's return to action will be highly anticipated as it is, and in taking on a fighter with high expectations in Overeem makes for a daunting task after over a year off. It's not surprising that they got this fight together, but the fact that it's happening is undeniably exciting. There are so many huge fights for the UFC coming throughout the rest of 2011, and this is a great way to finish out an extremely eventful year for the UFC.

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