After much speculation it’s finally been confirmed that Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1 heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem has today put pen to paper on a deal with the UFC.
It appears the promotion are going for the jugular straight away as they have also announced that Overeem’s first bout in the Octagon will come against former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar on December 30th.
Due to injuries it’s been a few years since the UFC have had a true blockbuster end of year event, but this fight certainly fits the bill.
Lesnar Vs Overeem is a dream fight for all concerned – a real life clash of the 260lb titans, with ‘The Reem’s’ K-1 level striking going up against Lesnar’s fearsome wrestling and ground & pound.
“This is the fight the fans want,” UFC President Dana White told The LA Times. “Both of these guys are monsters. Can Lesnar take Overeem down?”
Overeem is also excited by the challenge and the sense of the big ocassion that will come with this match-up with the biggest PPV draw in the sport.
“Brock is a big name, a dangerous guy, and this is a dream matchup,” Overeem told The LA Times after signing the deal. “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.”
Lesnar is just one of a number of big fights that await the UFC’s new marquee signing, with the likes of Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos and Shane Carwin also immediately springing to mind as must-see encounters.
It remains to be seen how well the Dutch striker does against top competition like this though. While Overeem has been on an impressive run over the past few years, going 10-0-1 since November of 2007 in MMA the level of fighter he’s been facing hasn’t always been stellar.
In the past year he has quickly disposed of both Brett Rogers and Todd Duffee, but doubts were raised when he put on a somewhat lackluster display against Fabricio Werdum back in June.
Overeem’s takedown defense did look good against the Brazilian however, and that could be crucial. In his current run he’s not had to face anybody with real wrestling credentials, but that will quickly change when he faces Lesnar.
While Lesnar will undoubtedly fancy his changes of taking down the UFC’s latest title challenger the big question is what condition will the former champ be in by the time he steps into the Octagon in December?
At that stage he’ll have been out of action for 14 months after falling ill with a recurrence of his Diverticulitis illness after appearing as a coach on TUF season 13. He’s since had a section of his colon removed, but it’s not clear whether the condition still effects him, and even if not there’s undoubtedly going to be some ring-rust come fight night.
There’s no doubt it’s an exciting time for the heavyweight division though with Cain Velasquez Vs Junior Dos Santos set to be aired live to millions on the first UFC On FOX event in November, and then Lesnar Vs Overeem almost certain to establish the next No.1 contender in December.