I'm back this week Dustin Green, host of CSN Washington's 'The Fight Fix', to preview Friday's UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem main event. In the first ever UFC event to be held on a Friday, former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar returns to the Octagon after his second bout with diverticulitis to face former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. This is Overeem's Octagon debut.
I make the case the hearing related to random drug testing Overeem recently had to go through in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission was farcical. I talk about Lesnar is actually back in full health and what effect the time off plus the surgery he underwent will have on the former champion. We also delve into the issue of Overeem's preparation, whether changing camps in the middle of camp plus the athletic commission issue will trip Overeem up come fight time.
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24 secs, on Overeem's hearing with the NSAC: "Well, I think it was a necessary step to see exactly what was going on here as part of a random test that had not been properly conducted. My general impression, my general takeaway - farcical. Here's a guy making claims "I bout my ticket to go back to Holland" to care for his sick mother - I'm sure that claim is true, but he said he bout his ticket 2 days before he knew about the random tests. Did the commission ask him for a receipt? No. Then he offers up some assistant who had basically botched the entire go between he & the commission, and yet this person hasn't been fired? You're talking about the most important fight of Alistair Overeem's life or one of the most important. It' hard to argue this is not a significant fight for his career. You've got an assistant who is at best a dunce and there's no reprimand? There's no accountability? No questions asked of Overeem to provide documentation of his claims? I'm sure the random tests that they offer will have some merit and some screen to them, but I think that the idea that a fighter - any fighter - can just make claims without having the veracity of those claims tested, it's a joke. You wanna know why people don't believe in athletic commission testing? There you go."
1:44, on outside distractions affecting Overeem on fight night: "For all the problems with this NSAC situation, he is a professional. I'm sure that he is going to be focused on fight night. I don't know how a mother as sick as his appears to be can not be a distraction. I know I'd be distracted getting up in the morning for mundane routines. I don't know that Alistair Overeem can avoid that/ Is that going to significantly impact his performance? Is that going to be the ultimate factor that decides the outcome? I'm not so sure about that, but I think between this testing farrago of hoops he has to jump through and this issue with his mother traveling back and forth. It's not just that his mother was sick - that's problematic enough. He was supposed to be at Xtreme Couture training there and then he had to two switch his camps. Switching camps in the middle of camp, that can't be an easy thing to do. When you add in a sick mother to it and he had this athletic commission testing, it's definitely gotta be on his mind. It's probably gonna play some kind of factor."
2:56, on whether or not Lesnar is back to full health: "Ordinarily, I think I would say no. I would say no because a 34-year-old guy is not probably in his athletic prime. I would say no because he had a foot of his colon removed. I mean think about that, but Brock Lesnar seems to defy every expectation, defy every odd, defy every rule of thumb. A guy who wasn't supposed to be an NCAA div-I champion because he lacked technique - he won it. A guy who has had an athletic career that was all made possible partly because he is such a dedicated worker, but he has genetics that are borderline from the planet Krypton. I've never seen a guy like this before. So, I think he seems to be motivated. Physically, he looks great. He seems to have a pep in his step. He really seems to believe that the worst of his illnesses are behind him and that he can focus. I don't see how having that kind of invasive surgery won't have some lingering effect, but I do believe come fight time, he won't lose for those reasons, or he won't win for those reasons."
4:13, on wrestler vs striker - who's base skill set is better: "That's a tough one man. First of all, if you lined up a hundred wrestlers and a hundred strikers, who's gonna win the majority of the time? On balance, probably the wrestlers. It's something equivalent to flipping a coin, maybe 51/49, 55/45, whatever. Wrestlers will win more often. In this particular case though, I believe Overeem does deserve to be the favorite. Not a huge favorite, only a slight favorite, he was at -160 which is not huge, but the guy is just an incredible striker. Duke Roufus told me Alistair Overeem is the George Foreman of MMA striking because he has this thudding, pressing power. But he also has an unbelievable, high percentage submission in his guillotine. He is not a dummy on the ground. I think his weight sort of limits him in his ability to scramble and prevent the takedown, so there are gonna be issues there. I believe Overeem is the rightful favorite. However, part of me tells me that Brock Lesnar might win this one. And the only reason why is not that Brock Lesnar won't get submitted in the first round - he could. Not that he can't get knocked out - of course he can. Alistair Overeem can knockout anybody in the world, literally. For me, the kind of striker that Lesnar has problems with more so than other ones are guys that stay on him and press it with combinations with a little bit of speed and a little bit of volume attack. That's not really who Alistair Overeem is. He fires the one shot, maybe a second shot, and then he's kinda vulnerable. And against a guy like Lesnar - yes he may take a shot to the chin, he crumbles and we'll say "Yep, that's the Lesnar we knew." But, part of me feels like he might be able to gut through a big shot, maybe a second big shot, if they're spaced out far enough. Overeem did swarm on Brett Rogers, but Brett Rogers is not Brock Lesnar. If you wanna make Overeem the favorite, I think that's fair, but I think there's a strong reason to believe whatever early storm may hit Lesnar...there is an argument to be made he can get past it given the striking style of Alistair Overeem. I think it's a vulnerability for him the longer the fight goes."
6:10, his pick for 141's main event: You're picking Brock Lesnar in this one for sure? "Very reluctantly Dustin Green, very reluctantly. I can't get over the idea that he lands a huge shot to the ribs and it hurts Lesnar, maybe he turtles up. But then, maybe he scrambles. And then maybe he gets on top of Overeem. Do I believe that an Overeem on his back can get Lesnar off of him? I do not believe that. And, once he's on top, sorry he may not be a striker, Brock Lesnar has savage ground-n-pound. I definitely believe once the fight goes to the floor, Overeem's gonna be in deep, deep trouble."