UFC 141 Rewind
Published on Jan. 2 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
Alistair Overeem was dominant in his Octagon debut, destroying Brock Lesnar in the main event at UFC 141 this past Friday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Overeem, who cashed tickets as a minus-150 favorite, finished Lesnar with a first-round knockout to become the No. 1 contender in the heavyweight division.
The Dutch kickboxer, who has previously been the heavyweight kingpin in Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1, will face Junior dos Santos at some point in 2012.
In the first minute, Lesnar landed a straight jab that opened up a cut around Overeem’s eye. However, any momentum Lesnar had was thwarted when he attempted a single-leg takedown that Overeem easily stuffed.
Moments later, Overeen hurt Lesnar for the first time with a vicious knee to the body from out of the clinch. From there, it was all Overeem. He punished Lesnar with a plethora of punches, kicks and knees.
The last straw was a ruthless liver kick (think Rich Franklin’s win over Matt Hamill at UFC 88) that sent Lesnar to the canvas where he immediately covered up. Overeem pounced on Lesnar with big punches and the former champ clearly had nothing left, prompting the referee to intervene just 2:26 into Round 1.
During his post-fight interview with UFC analyst Joe Rogan, Lesnar announced his retirement effective immediately. Unlike other retirement announcements, we can take this one to the bank.
Lesnar has struggled with two separate bouts of divurticulitis and has made millions of dollars in pro wrestling and the UFC. Perhaps most importantly, his flaws in mixed martial arts have been exposed in his last three fights, as Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez and Overeem have completely outclassed him in the stand-up department.
In the co-main event, Nate Diaz produced the best performance of his career, battering Donald Cerrone with his boxing skills in a one-sided, unanimous-decision victory. The judges scored it for Diaz 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.
Bettors backing the Stockton, CA., native cashed tickets in the plus-220 range (risk $100 to win $220).
According to CompuStrike, Diaz landed an incredible 258 of 314 punches, while Cerrone only connected 66 times. Diaz came out strong and his superior striking skills were on display early and often.
By the end of Round 1, Cerrone’s face was a bloody mess. In the second round, Cerrone had his moments thanks to several legkicks that put Diaz on his back. However, ‘Cowboy’ didn’t want to follow Diaz to the ground out of respect for his jiu-jitsu skills.
Midway through Round 2, Cerrone was winning the stanza but that changed in the last two minutes. Diaz began closing the distance more and kept hammering away with punches, rallying to win the round.
The third round was all Diaz – again. Cerrone was game and took his punishment like a warrior, but he clearly couldn’t solve Diaz on this night.
Both fighters showed good sportsmanship afterwards, ending their feud that featured plenty of verbal attacks in the lead-up to the bout. They also took home an extra 75K for winning Fight of the Night honors.
Johny Hendricks thrust himself into the welterweight title picture by scoring a first-round KO of Jon Fitch in just 12 seconds. Hendricks earned a $75,000 bonus for KO of the Night and also hooked up his backers as a plus-200 underdog (risk $100 to win $200).
‘Big Rig’ needed just one punch to send Fitch into next week. He landed a beautiful left on the jaw and Fitch went flying to the canvas. Hendricks landed one more big shot before referee Steve Mazzagatti stepped in for the quick, albeit correct, stoppage.
Fitch, who was coming off of shoulder surgery in the wake of a draw against B.J. Penn at UFC 127, fell to 13-2-1 in his UFC career. Hendricks improved to 7-1 with his lone career loss coming to Rick Story by unanimous decision at UFC
Alexander Gustafsson also produced a first-round KO in his light-heavyweight matchup against Vladimir ‘The Janitor’ Matyushenko. Gustafsson floored Matyushenko with a straight left and finished the fight in ground-and-pound fashion at the 2:35 mark.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–There were no submissions on the card and, therefore, no 75K bonus for Submission of the Night was given out.
–What’s next for Velasquez? I’m hoping it’ll be Frank Mir.
—UFC Futures (per Sportsbook.com on 1/2/12):
Vitor Belfort (-130) vs. Anthony Johnson (+100) – UFC 142
Jose Aldo (-260) vs. Chad Mendes (+200) – UFC 142
Chael Sonnen (-265) vs. Mark Munoz (+205) – UFC on Fox 2
Rashad Evans (-165) vs. Phil Davis (+135) – UFC on Fox 2
Nick Diaz (-165) vs. Carlos Condit (+135) – UFC 143
Frankie Edgar (-140) vs. Ben Henderson (+110) – UFC 144
–BetOnFighting.com is listing Junior dos Santos as a minus-200 favorite vs. Overeem, who is a plus-150 underdog.