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UFC 141 Fight Card Primer: Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem

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At UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem, former UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (5-2; 4-2 UFC) faces former Strikeforce Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (35-11, 1 NC; UFC Debut). This Heavyweight fight is a #1 contender's match for the UFC Heavyweight title, and is the main event of UFC 141. Lesnar is currently the #4 ranked Heavyweight in the world according to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, with Overeem just above him at #3. The PPV card begins Friday night at the later start time of 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.

The story the UFC is using to sell this fight is size. And that's a fair angle to take as both Lesnar and Overeem are absolutely huge Heavyweights. But to me the real story here is that this is for a shot at Junior dos Santos, as the winner will be the new #1 contender for the UFC Heavyweight belt. Both potential match-ups to come out of this are fascinating. Lesnar and dos Santos were set to meet at UFC 131 as the culmination of The Ultimate Fighter, but Lesnar's health issues pushed him out of that fight - a chance to redo that fight, now with the title on the line and Brock looking to regain his belt would make a great story. On the other side, Overeem has stormed through competition all over the world, and if he beats Lesnar, he will absolutely be deserving of a shot at the champion in what would be a great battle of strikers.

How do these two stack up?

Lesnar: 34 years old | 6'3" | 81" reach
Overeem: 31 years old | 6'5" | 81.5" reach

What have these two done recently?

Lesnar: L - Cain Velasquez (TKO) | W - Shane Carwin (Sub) | W - Frank Mir (TKO)
Overeem: W - Fabricio Werdum (UD) | W - Todd Duffee (KO) | W - Brett Rogers (TKO)

How did these two get here?

Lesnar's career is well documented. The former college wrestling national champion made his name in professional wrestling and the WWE before leaving to first try his hand (unsuccessfully) at football, then at MMA. He fought for the UFC Heavyweight title in just his fourth professional fight, and won - an accomplishment unheard of in the modern MMA world. But since then, his career has been largely defined by his battles outside the cage as a series of very serious, life-threatening health issues have kept him out of action for large parts of 2009-2011 - this is just his 4th fight since winning the belt from Couture three years ago. He showed great determination in coming back to defeat Shane Carwin at UFC 116, but in his last fight was beaten soundly by Cain Velasquez. Lesnar is notorious for getting bored with his current profession when things don't go his way, and you have to ask - if he loses here, how much more MMA career does Brock Lesnar have in him?

Alistair Overeem made a name for himself in the Pride Light Heavyweight division. In 2007 he made the transition to Heavyweight and found immediate success, winning the Strikeforce Heavyweight belt (he will end up being the only Heavyweight champion in Strikeforce history). After that, he went on a very strategic campaign to increase his profile, fighting all over the world in both MMA and K-1, and having great success along the way, including a victory in the prestigious K-1 World Grand Prix in 2010. He also began releasing his viral series The Reem to help build his persona. Overeem has a lot of detractors - those who say he has only fought lower level opponents, and those who question his bulk up to Heavyweight. But there's no denying that he has superb stand-up skills, and that he has done a masterful job marketing himself. Against Lesnar, he may be able to silence at least some of those criticisms.

Why should you care?

Are you kidding? This is two massive Heavyweights fighting for #1 contender status in a close bout that is a classic wrestler vs. striker match-up. This is going to be awesome.

More UFC 141 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

SBN coverage of UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem