UFC 141 Odds and Predictions: Lesnar vs. Overeem Picks
by Scott Johnson - 12/26/2011
The curtain is about to fall on 2011, but not before heavyweights collide in the main event of UFC 141. On Dec. 30, Brock Lesnar (+115) battles Alistair Overeem (-145) with a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship on the line. One is a highly decorated two time NCAA All-American collegiate wrestler while the other was the 2010 K-1 Kickboxing Grand Prix Champion and one of the most lethal strikers in Mixed Martial Arts.
Each fighter has held MMA gold in the past. Overeem was the first and only Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, along with capturing the dream heavyweight title. Brock Lesnar’s UFC Heavyweight Championship run was potentially the most notable in the division’s history; it began with a win over Hall of Famer Randy Couture and included victories over Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.
Both men have been dealing with issues outside of the cage, Lesnar has been out of action for 14 months as the result of a serious battle with Diverticulitis while Overeem has been dealing with the illness of his mother and having to return home to be with her.
Stylistically, Overeem possess the exact skill set that brought Lesnar’s run as champion to an abrupt halt. Alistair has impressive striking power and technique, and even though Brock has never been knocked out his inability to take a punch has been highlighted in his last two fights.
If Overeem is able to unload on Lesnar there is no reason not to believe that the Brock break-dance that debuted back at UFC 121 won’t make another appearance. That being said, Brock’s elite level wrestling skills are just as problematic for the K-1 Champ.
The threat of the fight going to the ground appeared to have Alistair hesitating to engage Fabricio Werdum in his last appearance. It impacted the Dutch striker so much; Werdum actually landed more strikes in each of the rounds, finishing with a total of 62 compared to Overeem’s 46. This is not to suggest that Lesnar will get the better of the exchanges, more that Overeem’s striking could be impacted by his focus on defending the takedown.
Alistair has had success in the past when fights have gone to the floor, winning 19 times by submission. But Brock’s utter dominance of Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt Frank Mir at UFC 100 is proof positive of how strong Lesnar is when he is able to get on top and maintain control. In each of his six UFC bouts, Lesnar has completed at least one takedown, and it wasn’t until he faced skilled wrestlers in the form of Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez that Brock wasn’t able to control the fight from the opening bell with his wrestling.
Lesnar’s performance could be impacted by his prolonged absence and illness, but consideration should also be given to the fact that Overeem is making his UFC debut and could suffer from the adrenaline dump that so many other fighters have experienced in their first Octagon battle.
Overeem will need to blast Brock quickly, before Lesnar can close the distance and engage. As poorly as Brock’s striking has been in the past, his close quarter fighting has been deadly. Brock will tie up his opponent's arms using over hooks and wrist control, pin them on the cage and either pummel away with knees and elbows or drag them to the ground. On the mat, Lesnar works body-on-body, limiting his opponent's movement before unloading short but powerful strikes.
Overeem appeared to gas against Werdum despite a lack of intense action. Conversely, Lesnar has shown the ability to fight at a high pace for a prolonged period of time. If Overeem does not put Brock away early and Lesnar is able to control the fight with his grappling, Alistair will either suffer a similar fate to Frank Mir or be so exhausted from carrying Lesnar for an entire round a second takedown will almost be inevitable.
With that in the mind the bet is the underdog Lesnar at +115 to defeat Overeem by TKO. Secondly, if you would prefer to have the aforementioned issues with Brock’s illness, his inability to take a punch and Overeem’s questionable gas tank all working in your favour, a prop bet on the ‘under’ for total rounds is the way to go. This bout will be hard pressed to go into the later stages of the fight and most likely will finish inside the second round or likely even earlier then that, making a prop bet on the ‘under’ of +2.5 or even +1.5 a solid investment.
This heavyweight clash is an excellent way to finish the year, especially with the majority of Strikeforce 265-lbers joining the UFC and creating the best heavyweight roster the UFC has ever bolstered. Make sure you check out the rest of the UFC 141 predictions here at Doc’s Sports and we will see you back here for an action packed 2012.
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