The Ultimate Fighting Championship will hold its next event, UFC 141, this Friday, December 30th, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event is a heavyweight fight, with the winner expected to face current UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos for the UFC Heavyweight title. Here is a review of the main event, and other fights on the main card that Dana White and the UFC have scheduled for UFC 141: Lesnar vs Overeem.
The main event – Heavyweight bout: Brock Lesnar (5-2-0) vs Alistair “The Reem” Overeem (35-11-1)
Brock Lesnar was an NCAA Division I champion wrestler. After college, he became a pro wrestler in the WWE, and also tried out for the NFL before becoming a professional MMA fighter. He has had only 7 MMA fights, but is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, after winning the championship in only his fourth professional fight. In his 5 wins, 2 were by knockout and two have been by submission. Lesnar has had to put his career on hold twice due to separate bouts of life threatening diverticulitis. Now he is completely healthy and ready to continue his path towards regaining the UFC heavyweight title.
Lesnar is a tremendous athlete and has quickness for his size. He is an excellent wrestler, and has excellent takedown technique. He likes to take his opponents to the ground and will not look to stand and throw punches. Once on the ground, he will use his strength to hold them there and throw some heavy fists to secure a KO/TKO. Lesnar has gotten better with his submissions, but his strength is in his wrestling and his hands. His weakness is that he does not like getting hit, and will turtle up if he gets knocked to the ground. Lesnar does not have good striking defense, and his takedown defense is decent just because he is typically much larger than his opponents.
After fighting for 9 years at lighter weights Alistair Overeem stopped trying to cut weight and started gaining muscle. He became a heavyweight champion in Strikeforce, Dream, and also won the K-1 World Grand Prix in 2010. With 3 titles to his name, Overeem wants the UFC Heavyweight Title next. This is his first fight in the Octagon, and is his stepping stone to a UFC title shot. He is skilled in kickboxing, Muay Thai, and submission grappling. Of his 35 wins, 19 have been by submission, and 14 have been by KO/TKO. He has won 10 MMA fights in a row, with his last loss in September of 2007. Out of his 11 losses, 6 have been by KO.
Overeem is a stand-up striker, as well as a good submission grappler. He is very strong, and although he has knockout power, he is not one-dimensional. He is an excellent kickboxer, and also has good submission skills, along with a fierce ground and pound. He is a dangerous fighter who can win in a variety of ways, but will most likely like to stand and out-punch Lesnar. He will be looking for a knockout in this fight.
Lightweight bout: Nate Diaz (14-7-0) vs Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (17-3-0, 1NC)
Nate Diaz started fighting when his older brother asked him to train with him. He won season five of The Ultimate Fighter series, and has been a competitive fighter in the UFC ever since. He is still young at only 26, and has been fighting in the UFC since age 22. He is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is a good boxer and kickboxer. He also competes in triathlons and mountain biking as part of his training. Diaz is not the strongest lightweight around, but is a tough competitor and a submission expert. Ten of his 14 wins have come by submission, and six of his losses have been by decision. You don’t really have to respect his knockout power, but he can be an effective boxer. He has good striking defense, but can be taken down by his opponents. He has struggled with the upper echelon of fighters in the lightweight class, but has won three of his last five fights. Diaz is a scrapper and always puts up a good fight. Four of his last 11 fights have won fight of the night, and three have won submission of the night. Look for Diaz to try and submit his opponent throughout this fight.
Donald Cerrone had his first professional fight just before his 23rd birthday. Prior to fighting MMA professionally, Cerrone was a bull rider. After bull riding, Cerrone amassed a 13-0 record as an amateur kickboxer, and went 28-0 after turning pro, with 18 first round knockouts. He uses his length well with his boxing, Muay Thai, and submissions. Cerrone has excellent stamina, and has won 13 of his 17 fights by way of submission. He is a successful boxer and likes to throw the straight right, but has won just one fight by KO/TKO. He started his MMA career by winning his first 9 fights, and has won his last 6, including all four of his UFC fights. Cerrone is successful at defending strikes, but needs to improve his takedown defense to take his talent to the next level. All 3 of his career losses were fights for the WEC Lightweight Championship, and two of the three were losses by decision. Look for Cerrone to wear his opponent out with punches and leg kicks until he can get them on the ground and submit them. Since the WEC merged with the UFC, Cerrone has wanted his chance to fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship. This will be a giant step towards that opportunity.
Welterweight bout: Jon Fitch (26-3-1, 1NC) vs Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (11-1-0)
Jon Fitch is a wrestler, and was a very successful college wrestler at Purdue University. He is coming off a draw against BJ Penn, after winning 5 consecutive fights by decision. He has won 21 out of his last 23 fights, and has 13 total wins by decision. Fitch has basically dedicated his entire life to MMA fighting, and it has served him well. Fitch is an accomplished wrestler and a black belt in Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu. Because of his amazing work ethic, he typically outlasts his opponents over the course of 3 rounds, and will grind you down physically and mentally. Fitch doesn’t necessarily possess striking power, and has not had a lot of wins by submission. He is decent at avoiding strikes and takedowns, but is susceptible. Although Fitch is taller and will have a reach advantage, he will try to break down his opponent and get them to the ground. This fight may come down to whoever gets the most takedowns.
Johny Hendricks is also an accomplished wrestler, winning the NCAA Division I National Championship twice at Oklahoma State University. Hendricks began training for a professional MMA career right out of college. He not only is a wrestler, but also a good (dirty) boxer, and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He also has heavy hands, with six of his 11 wins coming by KO/TKO. Like his opponent, he is not a submission expert. He has only one loss in his career, and that was by decision in a very close fight. Hendricks likes to strike, and also likes to take down his opponents. He is not that good at defending against the strike, and has only decent takedown defense. Both fighters have similar skills and fighting technique, with Hendricks having more power. Look for Hendricks to try and capitalize early to catch his opponent off guard, and secure a KO/TKO. If not, this fight will be a battle of wills. It may come down to who will be able to outlast their opponent.
Light Heavyweight bout: Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko (26-5-0) vs Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (12-1-0)
Vladimir Matyushenko is resurrecting his career at the age of 40. He fought in UFC 32 back in 2001, and didn’t fight in the UFC again until 2009, at age 38. He has won 5 out of his last 6 bouts, with his only loss coming to current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones. He has always struggled to defeat the top-tiered contenders in his weight class. His background is in wrestling, and he was the Soviet National Wrestling Champion when he was younger. He possesses enormous strength, with nine wins by KO/TKO, and has 15 years of MMA experience to draw upon. He would love to take the fight to the ground and either submit his opponent, or ground and pound his opponent into a TKO. As an older athlete, he may tend to gas if the fight goes all three rounds, although he has won 10 of his fights by way of decision. Matyushenko could improve defensively by avoiding more strikes, although his wrestling experience makes his takedown defense pretty solid. Matyushenko has never been submitted in 31 MMA fights.
Alexander Gustafsson began his pro MMA career at age 20, and is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As a youngster Gustafsson trained in boxing, and it has served him well. At only 24 years old, eight of his 12 wins have come by knockout. Standing 6’5″ tall, he typically has the height advantage over his opponents, and Gustafsson uses that to his advantage with his standup. He is an aggressive fighter that pressures his opponents, and he has finished seven fights in the first round. He is not great at defending strikes, but is very good at defending takedowns. Only one of his fights has gone the distance, so look for Gustafsson to try and finish the fight early with an aggressive approach and some heavy hands. If he hurts his opponent and the fight goes to the ground, also look for some ground and pound, and possibly a submission to end the fight.
Featherweight bout: Nam Phan (17-10-0) vs Jimy “The Kid” Hettes (9-0-0)
Nam Phan is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Karate, and a 2nd degree black belt in Quyen Dao. He is very well-rounded, as his style also includes boxing, in which he has a 3-1 professional career. He is very accurate with his standup striking, and is decent at avoiding strikes. He has only attempted one takedown in all of his MMA fights, and he has good takedown defense. Phan has 7 wins by knockout, 5 by submission, and 5 by decision. He has six losses by decision and three by knockout. He is 1-1 in the UFC, and needs another win if he wants to continue to advance his career. Look for Phan to use his experience and excellent boxing skills to finish off his opponent, but it may be by way of a decision.
Jimy Hettes started boxing at age 14, and training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at age 16. After amassing a 4-0 amateur MMA record, Hettes turned pro in 2009 at age 22. In two years, he has garnered a 9-0 record, including winning his first UFC fight this past August. Hettes is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and also a brown belt in Judo, but his expertise is as a submission tactician. He has won all nine of his fights by submission, with his first six wins coming in the first round. This is a step up for Hettes, and a challenge he looks forward to in becoming a contender in the featherweight class. Hettes is not the best at defending the strike, but has not been taken down because he has been first to attack his opponent. He is not a striker, so look for Hettes to try and take down his opponent early and often. If he cannot get a takedown and a submission, it will be difficult for Hettes to win the fight.
Below is the list of the remaining UFC fights on the card for UFC 141 Lesnar vs Overeem:
Preliminary card (Facebook)
- Featherweight bout: Manvel Gamburyan vs. Diego Nunes
- Welterweight bout: Matt Riddle vs. Luis Ramos
- Lightweight bout: Jacob Volkmann vs. Efrain Escudero
- Welterweight bout: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson
Preliminary card (televised)
- Lightweight bout: Anthony Njokuani vs. Danny Castillo
- Featherweight bout: Ross Pearson vs. Junior Assunção