UFC 141: Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem LowKick.com Staff PredictionsPosted on December 29, 2011, 09:54 AM by Anton Gurevich
Alistair Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar
Top Prediction: Overeem via TKO in Round 1
Anton Gurevich: Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar is a very tough fight to predict, especially when both fighters are so good at their core techniques. Despite what many people think, I expect this fight to go to distance. Lesnar and Overeem respect each other's abilities, and are not going to go out there swinging for the fences, especially when every single punch (even not the most technical one from Lesnar) could be lights out. Brock Lesnar might have a slightly better conditioning than Alistair Overeem, but since the Dutchman is more experienced and well-rounded, he has better chances to finish the fight in the so-called "championship rounds". It's a very interesting fight to watch, but it's definitely not going to end in the first three rounds. Overeem via TKO in Round 4.
Joey Santosus: There's a lot of questions surrounding this bout. Namely, will Alistair Overeem's success outside of the UFC translate into the octagon, and how well has Brock Lesnar recovered from having a foot of his colon removed. However, if we assume that Overeem hits as hard as he appears to when pummeling non-UFC opposition, and take Lesnar for his word when he says he is at 100-percent, then we're left with a K-1 Kickboxing champion and a massive NCAA Wrestling champ. Though I'd typically favor the wrestler here, the best indicator of future behavior tends to be past behavior, and Lesnar's lack of composure when taking shots to the face is cause for concern against the Dutchman. Alistair Overeem via 2nd Rnd TKO.
Trent Reinsmith: There are several questions surrounding the main event at UFC 141. Has Brock Lesnar trained enough in striking so that his brain won’t scream “retreat” the first time Alistair Overeem lands a powerful strike? Has Alistair Overeem trained enough in takedown defense that he can keep the fight standing? How will the time off and surgery affect Lesnar when the Octagon door locks behind him? There is no doubt that Overeem is the better striker here, just like there is no doubt that Lesnar is the better wrestler. I’m really torn on this one, it all comes down to who can get the advantage early. If Brock gets the takedown right away he’ll win via ground and pound. If Overeem can stun Brock with strikes when he’s going for the takedown, then it’s Alistair’s fight. In the end, I’m going to have to go with the wrestler (although I’m not 100% confident on this)….Lesnar via second round TKO.
Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz
Top Prediction: Cerrone via KO/TKO in Round 3
Anton Gurevich: I'm really impressed so far with Donald Cerrone's performances inside the Octagon. He's a well-rounded fighter, with a potential to become a champion in the UFC. Diaz is tough-as-nails 155'er, but I don't think he has the necessary skillset to face Donald Cerrone. "Cowboy" is great on the ground, and well-calculated on his feet - something that Nate Diaz always lacked as a fighter. My prediction is "Cowboy" via TKO in Round 2.
Joey Santosus: Two of the most game fighters in the business, Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone have more in common than their dislike for wrestlers and mean disposition. Both Lightweights are as equally skilled on the mat as they are standing, and neither has ever been finished with strikes. This, coupled with the growing hostility between them, promises to produce fireworks on Friday night. Though it is unlikely that either fighter will relent, the final bell has to ring at some point, and when the judges' decision is rendered, I like "Cowboy's" diverse stand-up to give him the edge on the scorecards. Donald Cerrone via Decision.
Trent Reinsmith: If I had to pick a Fight of the Night right now, this one would get it. You know these two guys are going to come out and bring it. There are few fighters in the UFC who seem to love their job as much as these two do; all they want to do is fight. Cerrone is on one hell of a roll and if it wasn’t for a certain UFC Light Heavyweight Champion he would be most likely by a Fighter of the Year candidate. This is probably his biggest test of the year as well, but he’s just been a juggernaut in 2011 and I think he makes it 5-0 with a win over Diaz. Cerrone via unanimous decision.
Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks
Top Prediction: Fitch via Decision
Anton Gurevich: Both are great wrestlers, but Jon Fitch is Jon Fitch. Hendricks will try to keep this fight in stand up, from time to time pressing Jon Fitch to the fence. It's not going to work. What I really think is going to happen is Jon Fitch dictating the pace with takedowns, before trying to finish the fight via Submission in Round 3. After all, it's a New Year's Eve (almost), so my pick is Fitch via Submission in Round 3.
Joey Santosus: Undefeated since dropping a decision to Georges St. Pierre in 2008, Jon Fitch finds himself in a dangerous position opposite rising prospect Johny Hendricks. A far more decorated amateur wrestler, Hendricks could have the grappling chops to force Fitch to abandon his usual grinding style, and with more than half of his victories coming by way of knockout, he'll undoubtedly look to test the AKA fighter's chin. With all of that said, however, Fitch has proven his MMA-wrestling to be among the very best, and with much more to lose here than gain, I expect he'll show up in true Fitch-form to eek out his sixth consecutive decision victory. Jon Fitch via Decision.
Trent Reinsmith: A lot of folks are probably dreading this fight and maybe even the UFC since there has been little done in the way of promotion for it. Like it or not, Jon Fitch is one of the best in the welterweight division, the dude just wins. In this fight he will be taking on another high level wrestler in Johny Hendricks and that is why many are concerned about how high the excitement level will be with this fight. We could see 15 minutes of ground control and strikes from short range or, we could see the wrestling go out the window and the two may elect to stand and bang. Yes, I know the latter is unlikely, but one can dream. Either way, it’s Fitch by unanimous decision.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Top Prediction: Gustafsson via KO/TKO in Round 2
Anton Gurevich: Despite his achievements in Mixed Martial Arts, many people tend to underestimate Vladimir Matyushenko. "The Janitor" hits like a ton of bricks, and has the necessary experience to face some of the toughest Light Heavyweights on the planet. I expect Matyushenko's power and wrestling abilities to be the key in this match-up, en route to a valuable Unanimous Decision victory. The winner of this fight will (most likely) face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and I really hope it's going to be Matyushenko. "The Janitor" via Unanimous Decision.
Joey Santosus: Both 4-1 in their current UFC stints, Vladimir Matyushenko needed just 20-seconds to dispatch of Jason Brilz in his most recent outing, while Alexander Gustafsson was last seen battering Matt Hamill into retirement back in August. While each have proven capable of ending things on short notice, at 6-foot-5, exchanging with the Swede for any extended period of time is unlikely to yield favorable results for Matyushenko. Should "The Janitor" successfully close the distance and look to force the fight to the ground, he'll have to proceed cautiously, as Gustafsson's long limbs make him constant submission threat. All in all, Matyushenko is much too tough and experienced to be taken lightly, but I like the 24-year-old to use his length advantageously, eventually landing something big and finishing via strikes. Alexander Gustafsson via 2nd Rnd TKO.
Trent Reinsmith: The age difference is pretty glaring in this contest as Vladimir Matyushenko is closing in on 41 while Alexander Gustafsson is 24 years of age. This is a big fight for both of these men. A win from Matyushenko and he proves that even though he may be a bit older than most, he is still a viable commodity in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. A win from Gustafsson and he takes another step up the ladder toward “real deal” status. In this one, youth will carry the day and Gustafsson will win via third round TKO.
Nam Phan vs. Jim Hettes
Top Prediction: Phan via Decision
Anton Gurevich: I don't know much about Jimmy "The Kid" Hettes, but his fighting record speaks for itself. Nine victories, all submission finishes. However, Nam Phan is a very good Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has the experience advantage over Hettes. This one could go either way, but I'll pick Phan via Decision.
Joey Santosus: Nam Phan will make his fourth octagon appearance, as he takes on undefeated Judoka, Jim Hettes. Phan, a contestant on the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter, has went 1-2 officially (2-1 unofficially) since his time on the show, splitting a pair of exciting bouts with Leonard Garcia. Sandwiched between those match-ups, however, was a beating delivered to the the Vietnamese-American courtesy of former WEC champ Mike Brown. Against Brown, Phan appeared vulnerable and was taken down and punished at will. With this in mind, Hettes will likely look to employ a similar strategy on Friday, using his Judo background to put Phan on his back before scrambling to secure what would be his 10th consecutive submission victory. Though I'm not confident that Hettes will be the first fighter to submit Phan, I do like him to do enough to take the nod on the judges' scorecards. Jim Hettes via Decision.
Trent Reinsmith: In this fight you have the submission artist versus the fighter that has never tapped. Jim Hettes is 9-0 with all his wins coming via submission before the end of the second round. His opponent, Nam Phan is 17-9 and has never been submitted. Phan is, without a doubt, the best fighter that Hettes has faced in his career, with that being said, the pressure in this bout is clearly on Phan. He has not put together two consecutive wins since 2007-08 and he really needs to capitalize on his recent victory of Leonard Garcia. Will he do it? I don’t think so, Hettes by unanimous decision.