Junior dos Santos Defends Heavyweight Title vs. Alistair Overeem at UFC 146

Alistair Overeem (James Law/HeavyMMA)

UFC makes dos Santos’ first title defense official

All that was left was the formality of it, and that came Tuesday. The UFC made official Junior dos Santos‘ first defense of the heavyweight title. The Brazilian champion will defend the belt in the main event of UFC 146 on May 26 in Las Vegas against top contender Alistair Overeem.

UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, on his Twitter feed last month, said that was the expected date and event, and UFC officials confirmed it Tuesday, also saying tickets will go on sale later this month. UFC 146 will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, where the promotion traditionally holds an annual card around the Memorial Day holiday weekends

Dos Santos (14-1, 8-0 UFC) in November beat Cain Velasquez to win the heavyweight title. And in December, Overeem (36-11, 1 NC, 1-0 UFC) beat former champ Brock Lesnar in the main event of UFC 141 to become the No. 1 contender and first challenger for dos Santos’ title.

Dos Santos has gone to just two decisions in his UFC career. Five of his other six wins have come by knockout, three of them earning Knockout of the Night bonuses, including his win over Velasquez and his UFC debut, when he beat 5-to-1 favorite Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90 to put himself on the MMA map.

Overeem, the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, as well as a champion in K-1 and Dream, has not lost since September 2007 a first-round knockout loss to Sergei Kharitonov which gave him four setbacks in five fights and five of his last seven. But since then, he’s been on a tear with 11 wins in 12 fights (he had a no contest against Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at Dream 6 in September 2008), and 10 of those wins coming by stoppage – nine in the first round.

Dos Santos’ knee surgery and Overeem’s desire to take some time off had led to talk of a summer fight between the two. That will now come at the first summer date available. Other fights already announced for the card include a middleweight bout between Jason “Mayhem” Miller and C.B. Dollaway; a welterweight bout between Dan Hardy and Duane Ludwig; a heavyweight fight between Gabriel Gonzaga and Shane del Rosario; and a lightweight clash between Jacob Volkmann and Paul Sass.