UFC 141 predictions, preview and analysis

Nostradumbass

UFC 141: "Lesnar vs. Overeem" is all set to blow the roof off the MGM Grand Garden Arena tomorrow night (Dec. 30, 2011) in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a colossal heavyweight showdown between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem.

MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC 141, beginning with the pay-per-view telecast at 10 p.m. ET on Dec. 30. In addition, we will deliver up-to-the-minute quick results of all the under card action much earlier on fight night.

The big story heading into tomorrow night's mixed martial arts (MMA) extravaganza surrounds the heavyweight headliner, which will undoubtedly have serious implications on the division's title picture.

Expect Junior dos Santos to be watching this one with vested interest.

Also getting their hands dirty in "Sin City" are Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone. If the "Cowboy" can wrangle his sixth straight win, it may be time to start discussing his place among the 155-pound title contenders.

But don't expect Diaz to make it easy for him.

The UFC claims Lesnar vs. Overeem "doesn't get any bigger than this," which in turn means my fair, balanced and always objective analysis will also be pretty big.

Follow me after the jump to have your feelings hurt (not kidding).

265 lbs.: Brock Lesnar (5-2) vs. Alistair Overeem (35-11)

Nostradumbass predicts: As a mixed martial arts fan, you should be embarrassed that this fight was ever made. In fact, if I wasn't so busy copying and pasting other people's news stories without their express written consent, I would be firing off a letter to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) lambasting them for ever sanctioning this freak-show fight.

In what universe is it okay to have a guy with seven pro fights, who hasn't competed in over a year AND recently underwent major intestinal surgery, face off against a three-time world champion with nearly 70 professional fights between MMA and K-1?

It's ludicrous.

Forget about Lesnar's 14-month layoff. Let's even forget about his major surgery. What happened in his last two fights? Your answer should be: "He got lit up like a Hasbro Lite-Brite by two guys with good stand-up." I know Brock's Jocks are quick to point out he won the fight against Shane Carwin, but that's because "The Engineer" was so utterly exhausted from pounding Lesnar's face in for five minutes he ended up with the guard of a DeathClutch grappling dummy.

And speaking of inanimate objects, Lesnar was so concerned with Overeem's striking, widely recognized as the best in the heavyweight division, he brought in a bunch of fat wrestlers to push around in his private compound in Minnesota.

No disrespect to Chris Tuschererererer and Cole Konrad, who could pin me like a poster in .0348 milliseconds, but why they are within 100 miles of his gym is a mystery to me. Where are the strikers?

Pat Barry? Really?

"Get Hype" should get lost, because Overeem is a foot taller than him, making "HD" a poor substitute for the towering Dutchman.

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot about Tim Hague. They brought in Tim Hague to help Lesnar train. The same "Thrashing Machine" that went 1-4 inside the Octagon and got knocked out twice. I guess I should also mention that while he was there, they basically used him as chum.

Here's the bottom line: Brock Lesnar can't take a punch. That's not me acting like an Overeem fanboy, it's a proven fact. It's on film. He stays conscious because he's got a granite chin, no question, but the second you hit him, he crumbles like a stale Entenmann's coffee cake.

I'm supposed to pick this guy against the best striker in the business?

Well, Brock has the takedown. Yes, he most certainly does. And Overeem has 19 submission wins. C'mon folks, it's right there in black and white.

Lesnar doesn't have the experience, the skill set or the heart to win this fight. He's a big, strong bully who does very well when he gets his way. When he doesn't, that's when things begin to fall apart.

Overeem owns three world titles and a ten fight winning streak. If you're best argument against him revolves around a fight from the PRIDE days when he was young and starving himself to make 205, then boy, are you in trouble.

"Demolition Man" is destined to become the UFC heavyweight champion. His first round knockout of Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 will play out like a teaser trailer for his 2012 title win.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem def. Brock Lesnar via TKO

155 lbs.: Donald Cerrone (17-3) vs. Nate Diaz (14-7)

Nostradumbass predicts: For my money, Jon Jones has been the best fighter of 2011. But you could make a pretty convincing argument that Donald Cerrone is right up there as well and a finish over Nate Diaz might even make him number two.

What kills me about the "Cowboy" critics is how quickly they dismiss his ascent atop the 155-pound mountain because of a handful of losses under the WEC banner. It's almost as if some fans have resigned themselves to the fact that fighters never improve, learn from their mistakes or just get better after months and years of training.

It happens -- and it's time to give Cerrone his due.

Diaz is by no means a pushover and he'll make this thing a fight, no question, but he's kind of like Nick-lite. You see flashes of the Diaz greatness, but it just doesn't have the same flavor.

Part of his problem is he never seems to show any urgency when he competes and that can be the deciding factor in a three round fight. And his knick-knack-paddywhack-pass-your-brother-a-bone style of striking won't be enough to befuddle Cerrone -- and it certainly won't finish him.

The danger for Donald here is the ground game.

He's no slouch himself with 13 submission wins but it's just a dangerous place to be against any Cesar Gracie-trained fighter. The good news is I don't think either one of them is interested in taking it there.

There's been a lot of bravado heading into this lightweight affair: pushing, shoving, cursing, you know, all the standard activities that come with a Diaz fight (or family reunion), but when the cage door closes, it's going to be Cerrone by judge's nod.

He'll control the pace, the center of the Octagon, and ultimately, the decision.

Prediction: Donald Cerrone def. Nick Diaz via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Jon Fitch (23-3-1) vs. Johny Hendricks (11-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: The fall of AKA continues in 2011 as Jon Fitch is going to be upset tomorrow night by the powerful punches of Johny Hendricks. Can't you just see it? Fitch spends a little too much time dicking around on his feet, gets tagged, clings to a leg instinctively and gets hammer-fisted until the ref intervenes. Then he gets up and protests vehemently while Hendricks runs around the cage screaming like a banshee.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

I mentioned earlier that most fighters who compete on a regular basis will improve and get better. It seems to me like Fitch is getting worse. His record states otherwise but man, I just haven't seen a fight from him in the past few years that tells me he's still top of the food chain and now he's coming off major surgery.

In short, Hendricks is in the right place at the right time.

Aside from nine straight fights without a finish, Fitch doesn't have the power to hurt Johny on the feet, so that makes his wrestling the primary weapon in this fight. Oh, by the way, Hendricks is two-time NCAA Division I national champion.

Doh!

The simplest way to put it is this: Hendricks is on his way up and Fitch is on his way down. The former has half the experience as the latter, but twice the momentum.

This one doesn't get out of the first round.

Final prediction: Johny Hendricks def. Jon Fitch via TKO

205 lbs.: Alexander Gustafsson (12-1) vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5)

Nostradumbass predicts: There's been a lot of talk about how Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone will take home "Fight of the Night," but I think a lot of mixed martial arts fans are giving the light heavyweight scrap between Alexander Gustafsson and Vladimir Matyushenko a second look.

It's fixin' to be a helluva fight.

"The Janitor" has done a pretty good job of cutting the legs out from under a couple of ladder climbers in the prospect-rich 205-pound division, namely Jason Brilz and Alexandre Ferreira. True, he was victimized by Jon Jones prior to that, but knocking a guy for losing to "Bones" is like making fun of the Bears for losing to the Packers.

Besides, it might have done him some good, because he's come back with a vengeance.

He'll need it against the Swede, who also suffered a setback after getting strangled by Phil Davis but bounced back to win three straight and beat the brakes off the tough-as-nails Matt Hamill last August.

This is gonna be a dogfight and closely contested through two-and-a-half rounds, but somewhere in the latter part of the final frame Gustafsson is going to pull ahead and finish the old dog with some of his new tricks.

Two great talents, one great fight. The fans are the real winners in this one.

Final prediction: Alexander Gustafsson def. Vladimir Matyushenko via TKO

145 lbs.: Jim Hettes (9-0) vs. Nam Phan (17-9)

Nostradumbass predicts: A lot of fight fans haven't had the pleasure of seeing Jim Hettes compete and come tomorrow night, they'll understand why he's being touted as the next big thing at featherweight. Living on the East Coast, I was able to catch him at Cage Fight last year and let me tell you, "The Kid" is for real.

Nine wins, nine submissions.

His last one came at UFC on Versus 5 when he strangled Bruce Leroy into a second round tap and it wouldn't surprise me to see a repeat performance against Phan, who is best known for his pair of bouts against Leonard Garcia.

I know the former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 hopeful has kind of been everyone's 145-pound darling, but outside of some decent stand-up and a ton of heart, he's not exactly "in the mix" in his respective division.

Hettes will see to that.

Phan has a chance on the feet in any fight not involving Jose Aldo, but it's only a matter of time before Hettes gets this thing to the ground. Once he does, it's merely academic.

Final prediction: Jim Hettes def. Nam Phan via submission

That's a wrap, folks.

For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC 141 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Lesnar vs. Overeem."

What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.

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