It isn’t all hype with Alistair Overeem.
In as dominating fashion as any of the wins in his twelve-fight unbeaten streak, Overeem went through Brock Lesnar quick, hard, and decisively. It took a little over two minutes, but Overeem silenced many of his critics and sent an MMA media sensation into retirement by simply overwhelming him.
From the beginning it was obvious that Overeem was going to be guiding the action, as it was Lesnar’s first fight in 14 months and only his third fight in the last two and a half years. Lesnar had no answer for a man who was able to easily overpower him, and that’s what Overeem did by forcing Lesnar against the cage and never keeping the fight in the center of the octagon. It didn’t take too many strikes for Overeem to take down Lesnar, but that’s because they were well placed strikes as Overeem’s knees worked Lesnar’s body in preparation for a kickboxing lesson. That lesson turned into one-kick and school was out for Lesnar as a liver kick sent him crumbling into the cage, a beaten fighter. Overeem pounced and would throw many, but land only one big uppercut before Mario Yamasaki stopped it.
Lesnar announced his retirement from MMA after the fight and it was a good decision. Much of Lesnar’s potential in the sport was stripped away over the past two years as two separate bouts with Diverticulitis ended with around a foot of Lesnar’s colon being removed. Taking that into account, Overeem’s strategy was obvious and the fact that it didn’t take too many shots from a 260-pound man to put Lesnar down may speak equally to the force behind Overeem’s blows and the toll Lesnar’s disease had taken on his body.
The night’s biggest shock came from Johny Hendricks and his twelve second KO of Jon Fitch. In taking out one of the best in UFC’s welterweight division, Hendricks automatically put his name into the title hunt. UFC’s welterweight division is going through a bit of a changing of the guard with B.J. Penn’s retirement, GSP’s injury, and Matt Hughes (again) possibly being done. It leaves room in the spotlight and title picture for new faces to emerge. All of the people near a title shot (Jake Ellenberger, Carlos Condit, and Nick Diaz) are in fights in the upcoming months, so it is now a waiting period for Hendricks. One that should end with his next fight being an even more high-profile one.
The best performance at UFC 141 would easily go to Nate Diaz. In a fight where he was a fairly big underdog, Diaz dominated Donald Cerrone with combinations and counterboxing, always keeping the fight standing. The unanimous decision was never in doubt as Cerrone seemed so beat up after round one that it was only a matter of if he could keep from getting knocked out in rounds two and three. He didn’t get knocked out, but Cerrone also didn’t even try to make the fight anything other than a boxing match. Cerrone had no problem taking one of Diaz’s legs out from under him on many occasions, but never followed up and always allowed Diaz back to his feet. Diaz would then continue to pummel Cerrone, and the process would repeat for the better part of the fight’s final two rounds.
Diaz is looking for a title run to begin with this win, and it very well could begin here. But this win won’t be enough to get him a title shot just like that. The UFC’s 155-pound lightweight division has quickly become the most compelling and competitive division in all of MMA. Having lost to both Gray Maynard and Clay Guida, it would seem logical that a win against one of them would officially put Diaz into the title picture. Of course Anthony Pettis or Joe Lauzon could have something to say about title shots after their fight in February. Nevertheless, this win came on what I believe was the finest performance of Diaz’s career and should allow to him to get the fights to once again see if he can break through to the next level.
In other results, Alexander Gustaffson took care of Vladimir Matyushenko with a TKO 2:13 into the first round of their light-heavyweight fight. Also, unanimous decisions were the norm in the undercard as five of the card’s first six fights ended in a unanimous decision. Of those, the most noteworthy was Dong Hyun Kim rebounding from his loss to Carlos Condit with a fairly easy win against Sean Pierson, Jim Hettes’ win over Nam Phan giving Hettes his second win in UFC while moving his record to 10-0, and Deigo Nunes’ victory over Manny Gamburyan.
Tags: Alistair Overeem, Brock Lesnar, Johny Hendricks, Mixed Martial Arts, Nate Diaz, UFC