December 31, 2011
LAS VEGAS - Brock Lesnar never really adjusted to getting hit for real. Tonight, facing a 263-pound monster in Alistair Overeem, Lesnar bowed out early and then walked away from the sport.
The same old bugaboo - his inability to absorb punches - reared its ugly head at UFC 141. Overeem targeted Lesnar's body with knees and kicks, got the big man to drop and cover up. It was all over in less than two and a half minutes in the main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
So is Lesnar's run in MMA. The former star of pro wrestling announced that he was finished fighting in the Octagon.
"I want to thank everyone, the Fertittas and Dana White," Lesnar told UFC analyst Joe Rogan. "I promised my wife and kids that if I won this fight, the fight against Junior [dos Santos] would be my last. If I lost tonight, this would be my last."
Overeem, a veteran of 47 MMA fights coming in, broke Lesnar's spirit early by thwarting a takedown attempt and battering his body repeatedly. The win gets him the next heavyweight title shot against dos Santos sometime in 2012.
"My hats off to Alistair Overeem. I want to take my hat off to all my training partners, my entire family," said Lesnar. "I've really had a difficult time with my disease. I'm officially retired tonight. This was the last time you'll see me in the Octagon."
Lesnar (5-3, 4-3 UFC) missed the last 15 months fighting a battle against diverticulitis. The intestinal ailment and subsequent surgery had him losing 40 pounds at one point.
Lesnar was first diagnosed in Oct. of 2009. He went without surgery and returned a year later. He lost his UFC heavyweight title belt to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121. More alarming than the one-sided loss was the way Lesnar turned and ran away from punches after he was nailed a few times by Velasquez.
Velasquez is a big puncher, but Overeem is in a different class. An experience kickboxer, the 263-pound Overeem hits like a Mack truck. A few knees early tonight really rocked Lesnar and put him on his heels. From there, he was tentative in going for the takedown.
Lesnar, a wrestler by trade, only attempted one single-leg takedown 50 seconds into the fight. After that, he chose to stand and box with Overeem. It was a path to disaster.
With 2:42 left in the first, Overeem (36-11-1, 1-0 UFC) drilled Lesnar on his right side with a nasty body kick. Lesnar had a delayed reaction, grabbed at his ribs and went down to a knee. Overeem charged forward and threw 11 unanswered punches as Lesnar covered up. The final right crushed Lesnar to the body. That's when the ref stepped in.
This was the UFC debut for Overeem, who's fought all over the world. The giant Dutchman spent most of his career fighting in Japan as a 205-pounder. In 2007, he decided to add bulk to his 6-foot-5 frame. The change has been shocking. He's stormed to eight straight wins in the big boy division, with seven of them coming via first round finishes.
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