Dec 22, 2011

Get to know the "REEM"

Brock Lesnar takes on Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 on December 30th. It’s MMAzing will be taking a deeper look at both of these fighters leading up to this epic battle of giants. Up first, we introduce you to the former Dream, Strikeforce and K1 Grand Prix champion, Alistair Overeem.

Alistair Overeem has been one of my favorite fighters for a long time. I was actually a big fan of his older (and less talented) brother, Valentijn, when he first made his Pride FC debut. There was just something about their style of fighting that just really drew me in. For Alistair, it was his crisp stand up and terrific work in the clinch. There's just something about getting wins from brutal, organ mashing knees to the body that just makes me smile. The guy always comes to fight and even when he loses, his fights are always entertaining.

Alistair's career has had its ups and downs. During his Pride run he could never get a consistent string of wins going his way and struggled early on in K-1. Losses to all time greats like Chuck Liddell, Ricardo Arona, Lil Nog and Werdum kept him from really breaking out in Pride. His first couple of fights in K-1 also resulted in losses. That being said, he also had some big wins as well. His run in the Middleweight 2005 GP saw him get a couple big submission wins over Victor Belfort and Igor Vovchanchyn with his go to submission, the guillotine choke. Also, his win over Kharitonov was impressive as he blasted him with wicked knees from the side mount. Since committing to becoming a heavyweight, however, Alistair has finally found his stride as a mixed martial artist.

Once Alistair made the decision to be a heavyweight, the dude started hitting the weights, hardcore. His physical transformation to the hulking beast he is today is astonishing. Many people believe that steroids played a part in his transformation since he often fought in Japan, where they don't drug test fighters. Personally, I always give guys the benefit of the doubt in till they fail a drug test. Regardless of how he got so big, the fact is that he's been almost unstoppable since permanently moving up to Heavyweight. With a solid run of wins in Dream (including an interim Heavyweight championship), capturing the K-1 Grand Prix in 2010 and winning/defending his Strikeforce championship, it appears that Alistair has finally reached his true potential.

Alistair has set up multiple goals for himself over the last couple of years and has been able to accomplish every single one so far. However, his next test will truly be his hardest. Entering the UFC and getting this organization’s belt will be the greatest challenge Alistair has ever attempted. His first step is against the equally impressive Brock Lesnar. Both of these men are absolute freaks of nature that have even been to succeed in other sports besides MMA. They also both bring in different tools to the octagon. With Alistair being more of the striker and Brock being the wrestler, this match is almost like the old school style vs. style matches from the UFC's early years. What makes this match so interesting is that both men's weaknesses are their opponent’s strengths as well: Alistair has never fought a wrestler like Brock and Brock has shown an inability to react well to being hit. We'll have a much more in depth breakdown of the fight in the coming days, but this is a fight to watch to say the least.

Regardless of the outcome against Brock, Alistair is a great addition to the UFC heavyweight roster. The division isn't very deep and by adding Alistair and a few other Strikeforce fighters in the coming months, the UFC can start making some really interesting, and hopefully exciting, match ups. I think Alistair has the skill set to eventually get the UFC belt, but with the heavyweights it only takes one mistake to lose it all.

For more on Overeem make sure to check out the masterfully done "The REEM" online documentary. Below you will see the trailer for this fight that "The REEM" people produced.

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