Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem Official For Dec. 30

Lesnar returns to face former Strikeforce heavyweight champ

Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar will return to the Octagon in a five-round main event on Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

His opponent? Former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.

Overeem signed his contract on Tuesday morning in the offices of UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. The Los Angeles Times first reported the news.

The winner of the bout is expected to face the winner of the Cain Velasquez/Junior dos Santos title fight. Overeem was initially offered a shot at the winner, but didn’t want to wait until late Winter/early Spring to make his UFC debut. He elected to face Lesnar instead.

“Brock is a big name, a dangerous guy, and this is a dream matchup,” Overeem told The Times on Tuesday. “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 has been out of action since losing his UFC heavyweight title to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 last October. He was scheduled to face Junior dos Santos in May, but was forced to withdraw from the bout after a relapse of diverticulitis. Lesnar resumed training this week at his camp in Minnesota.

Overeem’s last bout for Strikeforce was in June when he defeated Fabricio Werdum by decision. His Strikeforce heavyweight title has been vacated and will not be on the line against Lesnar. He becomes the latest Strikeforce star to sign with the UFC, effectively signaling that the former indie promotion from California’s days are numbered.

“Our thinking when we bought Strikeforce was to give fans the fights they want,” Fertitta said. “Obviously, Alistair’s one of the best heavyweights in the world, but he also has that ‘it’ factor — the tremendous look, he’s huge. It’s a star factor.”

“This is the fight the fans want,” UFC President Dana White said. “Both of these guys are monsters. Can Lesnar take Overeem down?”

The fight will take place on a Friday night, an unusual night for a UFC pay per view event. It’s almost a requirement, though, as the promotion did not want to try and compete with New Year’s Eve events in Las Vegas.