Top UFC heavyweight contender predicted finish of Lesnar
Both Alistair Overeem and Brock Lesnar had been saying going into their UFC 141 main event that it was destined to be just a one- or two-round fight. But Overeem admitted Friday night he took it one step farther.
The former Strikeforce heavyweight champion landed a devastating left kick to Lesnar’s right side, watched the former UFC champ crumple, then pounced on him to finish him on the ground midway through the first round. And after the fight, Overeem said it went precisely as he said it would.
“I predicted it the evening before to my fiancee,” Overeem said at the post-fight press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. “I said, ‘First I’m going to do this, then I’m going to do that, and I’m going to finish it with a liver kick.’ I don’t know if it’s luck or it’s strategy. But it turned out that way, and I’m just happy that it did.”
“Happy” might be an understatement. Overeem was making his UFC debut, and had faced the scrutiny of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which only granted him a conditional license for the fight, pending the results of two upcoming random drug screenings, and an additional screening that he needed to submit as soon as he landed in the United States for the fight. He is in the middle of dealing with a cancer-stricken mother in Holland. And he had more than his fair share of detractors going into the fight – including his boss, UFC president Dana White.
But with a first-round TKO over Lesnar that Overeem made look fairly academic, he took the first step toward proving some of his doubters wrong – and earned a title shot against current champ Junior dos Santos.
“Let me say in front of everybody here that I was wrong,” White said after the fight. “I said it before Alistair came into the UFC, and I said it leading up to this fight to myself because I never give predictions (publicly). But I thought Brock Lesnar was going to beat Alistair Overeem tonight. I did. I was wrong, and he looked damned good tonight. He made quick work of Brock Lesnar.”
Not only did Overeem make quick work of him, he sent him into retirement. The former NCAA wrestling champion and former WWE pro wrestling superstar announced after the fight he was calling it quits. And that’s something Overeem said he’s not on board with, even if White is.
“I think he shouldn’t walk away,” Overeem said. “Love him or hate him, it’s always something when Brock’s fighting. He’s a guy who goes for it. I think he achieved a lot in a short span. It would be a shame if he stops now. I think there’s still more to gain for him.”
Overeem said he hopes to take some time off to get some affairs in order, including, likely, a pending lawsuit from his former management team, Golden Glory, which reports have said successfully lobbied in Nevada to have his fight purse garnished from the win over Lesnar – expected to be nearly $400,000.
But after that, he’ll have an even bigger UFC test on his hands, considering he’ll be fighting dos Santos for the biggest prize in mixed martial arts.
“I can only say I was very motivated,” Overeem said. “I just wanted to get in there and show everybody, show the world, that I’m ready. And that I’m coming. Junior dos Santos is a very different fighter, so the game plan will be very different. … I’d like to have a nice long holiday, and arrange some stuff or get some stuff in order. So maybe (fight dos Santos) before the end of summer. I think everybody’s excited for this fight, and so am I.”