Alistair Overeem: Another quick fall in MMA

The MMA gods can be very cruel.

One minute you can be on top, the next you are at the very bottom.

Such is the case for heavyweight Alistair Overeem. His fight last night at UFC Fight Night 26 was almost a perfect example of how quickly a career can change.

Needing a win over respectable contender Travis Browne, Overeem seemed like the “Demoltion Man” early on, hammering Browne with big fists. He looked like a heavyweight contender once again.

However, just moments later Overeem ate a picture-perfect front kick that led to a surprising KO loss.

Now Overeem finds himself having lost two straight fights and, when you mix in a suspension that cancelled a title fight in 2012, he could be on the chopping block. It’s been a meteoric fall for Overeem, but he’s not the only one that has been in similar position. Here’s a few other notable quick collapses.

Chuck Liddell – The Iceman seemed unbeatable when he was the UFC Light Heavyweight champion in the mid-2000s, but that all changed with a Quinton “Rampage Jackson” hook. One big punch from Jackson ended Liddell’s title reign and set the course for his surprising demise in the UFC. Liddell went on to go 1-5 over the next three years, losing four times by KO. He was forced to retire in 2010 after being blasted by Rich Franklin.

Brock Lesnar – Lesnar seemed too good to be true, and he was. The physically imposing heavyweight broke onto the UFC scene in 2008 and was champion within a year. However, once Lesnar started to meet up with heavyweights that could match his strength and wrestling ability, he quickly turned into a softy. Though he beat Shane Carwin by submission, he was pummeled in the first round and that seemed to destroy his mystique. From there Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem ran right through him and Lesnar decided to retire from the sport.

B.J. Penn – Though Penn is still considered by many to be the greatest lightweight in MMA history, he didn’t go out on a high point in the UFC. He seemed to be a human wrecking ball at 155 pounds after dominating the likes of Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk and Diego Sanchez, but a pair of decision losses to Frankie Edgar seemed to put his career on the wrong track. While he did pick up a quick KO of Matt Hughes after, he looked sluggish in a draw against Jon Fitch and was thoroughly picked apart by Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald before taking time away. The fear Penn used to put into his opponents is long gone.

UFC 146 Results & Recap – Junior Dos Santos Keeps Rolling

nullJunior Dos Santos verified himself as the top heavyweight in the UFC as he knocked out Frank Mir in the second round of the main event of UFC 146 on Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Coming into his bout with the former UFC champion, Mir, Dos Santos was expected to win with his crisp striking, and that is exactly what led to the win.

After somewhat of an eventful first round that saw Dos Santos win thanks to his striking, the champion managed to finish off the fight in the second thanks to a big right hand that caught Mir flush on the cheek. JDS then followed up with a flurry on the ground to earn the TKO stoppage.

The win for JDS was as big for him as it was a big loss for Mir. The former champion likely won’t see another title shot anytime soon after losing his last three matches where a belt was on the line by devastating knockout.

Mir has had quite the career, but it is clear he doesn’t have the ability to contend with explosive strikers that have the ability to keep the fight standing. He has been brutally beaten by the likes of Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin, and now Dos Santos.

In the co-main event, Cain Velasquez destroyed Antonio Silva in Silva’s UFC debut. The former heavyweight champ bloodied Silva thanks to a big elbow across the nose and he followed up with a number of strikes thereafter.

The win for Velasquez probably pushes him right back up to the No. 1 contender spot, as Dos Santos knocked him out in their meeting last November.

For complete results from UFC 146, check out the jump.

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UFC 141 on December 30th to feature Lesnar vs. Overeem

The MGM Grand Garden Arena will host MMA future betting action that is as good as it gets with a card that features five bouts on the main card headlined by the heavyweight matchup of Brock Lesnar vs. Allstair Overeem.

The action will start earlier than normal for UFC at 10 PM ET on this special Friday, December 30th edition. The winner of the Lesnar vs. Overeem bout is expected to face Junior dos Santos for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at a later date. UFC 141 is also expected to be the last that will offer preliminary bouts for free on Spike TV.

Lesnar is one of the most popular and appealing fighters in the UFC with a career record of 5-2 after losing his last bout over a year ago to Cain Velasquez by TKO at the 4:12 mark of the first round. The loss snapped a four-bout winning streak. Lesnar was the reigning heavyweight champion and was seeking to successfully defend his title for the third straight bout. Lesnar won the heavyweight title with a win over Rand Couture at UFC 91 in November of 2008. Lesnar’s popularity and stature is confirmed by the fact that he is the highest paid member of the UFC.

Overeem is a “rookie” that will be in his first UFC bout as he signed with the series on September 6, 2011 after being kicked out of GP/Strikeforce due to a scheduling dispute. He has a career record of 35-11 and was the Dream Heavyweight Champion before vacating the throne.

Also on the UFC 141 main card are Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone in a lightweight bout. In welterweight action Jon Fitch will take on Johny Hendricks, Vladimir Matyushenko will match up with Alexander Gustafsson in a light heavyweight bout and in featherweight action Nam Phan will face Jimy Hettes.

In the Spike TV Preliminary Card, Ross Pearson will take on Junior Assuncao in a featherweight fight while in the lightweight ranks Anthony Njokuani will face Danny Castillo.

Preliminary Card bouts on Facebook include Jacob Volkmann vs. Efrain Escudero in Lightweight action, Matt Riddle vs. Luis Ramos in Welterweight action, Manvel Gamburyan vs. Diego Nunes in the featherweight ranks and Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson in the welterweight class.

It should be an exciting night of action on December 30th with great MMA future betting action.

UFC sets Lesnar vs. Overeem for Dec. 30

nullThe UFC has been big with their announcements and another big one dropped on Tuesday.

The organization released through the L.A. Times that on Dec. 30, Alistair Overeem will make his UFC debut against none other than Brock Lesnar.

Brock Lesnar will return to the UFC octagon in a five-round main event Dec. 30 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, facing newly signed former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.

“Brock is a big name, a dangerous guy, and this is a dream matchup,” Overeem told The Times on Tuesday, just after signing a standard UFC fight contract in the office of Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta. “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.”

This fight will be as anticipated as the Velasquez vs. dos Santos bout on Nov. 12, if not more, as Lesnar has the drawing power and Overeem was the last Strikeforce champion.

It is expected that this will be the main event of UFC 141 from Las Vegas and will take place on a Friday night, with New Year’s Eve being on a Saturday this year.

In terms of the fight, this should be explosive and very interesting. Overeem has the clear striking edge, but will he be able to fend off the explosive takedown attempts of Lesnar?

Either way, I don’t see this fight lasting too long.

Velasquez vs. dos Santos to headline UFC on FOX

nullThe UFC wanted a premiere fight for its FOX television premiere and that is just what it has.

Dana White announced via conference all on Friday that Cain Velasquez will defend his UFC heavyweight championship against top contender, Junior dos Santos, on Nov. 12 to headline the show.

The fight was originally scheduled to take place on Nov. 19 as the headline of UFC 139 from San Jose, but will now take place at The Pond in Anaheim.

White also indicated that this is the only fight scheduled for the 1-hour FOX premiere and if the fight ends quickly, they will air undercard bouts that took place earlier in the night.

Velasquez hasn’t fought since winning the championship from Brock Lesnar last October. He is 9-0 in his career.

Dos Santos is 13-1 and coming off a dominant win over Shane Carwin at UFC 131 in June. He has clearly established himself as being the top contender for Velasquez.

While these two may not be the highest-profile of fighters to the outside MMA fan, this is an amazing fight to get on free television.

The UFC is hoping for fireworks for this bout to really draw in a big audience and take the UFC to a new level. Hopefully this fight does just that.

The new main event for UFC 139 has yet to be announced but White indicated that it was in the works.

Top 10 Heavyweight Rankings

nullThe rankings list has made its way back to the heavyweight division.

There have been a few shake ups in this group as of late, mainly near the top. Still, the division has remained pretty solid as we work toward the big meeting of Velasquez vs. dos Sanots.

1. Cain Velasquez (9-0): Velasquez will return in November to take on Junior dos Santos. It will be a tough test for the UFC champ, as he has not fought in nearly a year and is coming off a major surgery.

2. Junior dos Santos (13-1): dos Santos tore through Shane Carwin in an impressive victory that solidified his spot as the top contender to the UFC crown. Junior has proven he can out-strike a striker and stuff a takedown, but will he be able to handle the explosiveness and speed of Velasquez?

3. Brock Lesnar (5-2): Lesnar may not return anytime soon, but I still think he deserves a high ranking as he was able to beat some of the best on this list before getting injured. Lesnar is going to need to show he can handle getting hit when he returns if he hopes to contend for the title ever again.

4. Alistair Overeem (35-11): Overeem was able to beat Werdum without too much difficulty but wasn’t impressive in his own right. Now, some debate with Zuffa has gotten him taken off the rest of the Strikeforce Grand Prix and leaves his MMA future in question. Hopefully Overeem will return and maybe someday step inside the octagon.

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MMA Game Changers: Brock Lesnar

nullThis is the first in a series of posts I will be doing on game changers in MMA history.

Starting in the heavyweight division, I point to Brock Lesnar.

Love him or hate him, Lesnar’s arrival to the MMA scene changed the face of the division forever.

Despite just 7 pro fights in his career, you can clearly see a difference between how the division works now compared to how it worked when he first arrived.

Lesnar first appeared in MMA in 2007 and made his UFC debut in early 2008.

At the time, the heavyweight division had been run by the likes of Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, two predominant strikers.

Then came Randy Couture, a man who now can’t even fight at heavyweight due to the size differential. Couture was the heavyweight champion when Lesnar broke into the octagon.

When Lesnar showed up, everyone paid attention. Not only did it seem like a gimmick that a pro wrestler would move into MMA and into the UFC, but his shear size was hard to ignore.

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UFC targeting San Jose for Velasquez vs. dos Santos

nullLet’s not waste any time.

Junior dos Santos just defeated Shane Carwin last week to earn a future UFC Heavyweight Title shot against Cain Velasquez, but the UFC already appears to have the date and location set for the upcoming bout.

According to the L.A. Times, the two top heavyweights will meet on the champion’s stomping grounds of San Jose, California.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is pursuing Nov. 19 as the date that heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will make his first title defense against once-beaten Junior dos Santos at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, company chairman Lorenzo Fertitta told The Times Thursday.

Velasquez (9-0, 8 KOs) is from Yuma, Ariz., but he trains in San Jose and was born in Salinas, the son of a migrant worker.

Velasquez hasn’t fought since October, when he upset champion Brock Lesnar at Honda Center in Anaheim by first-round TKO. Velasquez underwent shoulder surgery after the fight, forcing the layoff.

The Nov. 19 date is expected to be UFC 138, and it will be the first time San Jose has held a UFC PPV event.

In fact, the promotion hasn’t been to California since Velasquez defeated Lesnar in Anaheim at UFC 121.

UFC 131 Preview: Junior dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin

nullThe UFC heavyweight division should clear up on Saturday night when two of the top contenders face off in the main event of UFC 131.

Both men are powerful strikers and hard to get to the ground with their strength and size. It is likely this fight ends in the first five minutes with a brutal KO. The question is, which fighter will land the big punch.

Here is a look at both fighters heading into this contest.

Shane Carwin (12-1) – Carwin was a collegiate wrestler and he arguably has the most powerful hands in the division. His four wins in the octagon have all come by first round KO in under four minutes. He had Brock Lesnar reeling before gassing out in the second round in his last UFC fight. Now, coming off of back surgery, it will be interesting to see if Carwin has lost anything in his time off. Can he still supply the same power and will he have the cardio to go more than five minutes in need be? We haven’t seen Carwin tested on the ground, but that is because nobody has been able to get him to the ground.

Junior dos Santos (12-1) – Junior is also 12-1 in his MMA career and he is 6-0 in the UFC with four wins by KO. Dos Santos has big hands and a lot of quickness, and he is supposed to be a very sound jiu-jitsu fighter as well, but he has never had his fights go to the ground due to his dominance in the striking game. Junior has been taken past the first round twice in the UFC and still held up strong. He did start to fatigue against Roy Nelson, but it was more from throwing so many punches rather than being in danger of losing. Junior probably feels he is the better striker in this matchup, but that has yet to be determined.

Who Will Win: I actually like the underdog, Carwin, in this matchup. I think he can match dos Santos in striking and he won’t be taken to the ground where he could be submitted. Junior has yet to face someone with the skill set and size of Carwin, and I think that will be the deciding factor in this fight. Carwin can take a punch, and he can certainly dish them out. One big strike from Carwin will rattle dos Santos and open the door for another first round TKO for Carwin.

Top 10 Heavyweight Rankings

nullWe have worked our way back around to the heavyweights in the rankings list.

The division has been pretty quiet for the last two months, but June will provide some big shakeups with UFC 131 and the second half of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

So, without further ado, here is the list.

1. Cain Velasquez (9-0): The UFC Heavyweight Champion continues to await his next opponent while recovering from shoulder surgery. Newly married, Velasquez will find out whether Junior dos Santos or Shane Carwin is next at UFC 131.

2. Junior dos Santos (12-1): Junior appears to be the top contender in the UFC heavyweight division, but he has to prove it next weekend against Shane Carwin. Originally set to face Brock Lesnar, dos Santos will now face one of the toughest strikers in the division in Carwin. The fight should be explosive and end with a brutal KO.

3. Shane Carwin (12-1): Carwin had hit a bit of a funk after having back surgery following his loss to Lesnar last summer, but now he finds himself with a little bit of luck. With Lesnar injured, Carwin now immediately jumps into the title picture with a win over dos Santos at UFC 131.

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