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UFC on FOX 17 fight card: Junior dos Santos vs Alistair Overeem full fight preview

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Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem will throw down this Saturday (Dec. 19, 2015) at UFC on FOX 17 inside Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. In a match up of knockout strikers, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight contenders Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem will finally battle this Saturday night (Dec. 19, 2015) at UFC on FOX 17 inside Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

This fight is a long time in the making.

An ex-Heavyweight champion, dos Santos' career was given new life when Fabricio Werdum dethroned Cain Velasquez, as the Brazilian had little chance at a fourth battle with Velasquez. Now, dos Santos needed to capitalize on that change and build some momentum by brutalizing "Demolition Man."

Meanwhile, Overeem is finally getting a bit more consistent. He's won three of his last four and has put together some complete performances, but this is likely his last real chance to get into the title mix.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Junior dos Santos
Record: 17-3
Key Wins: Stipe Miocic (UFC on FOX 13), Cain Velasquez (UFC on FOX 1), Mark Hunt (UFC 160)
Key Losses: Cain Velasquez (UFC 155, UFC 166)
Keys to Victory: Dos Santos is a powerful boxer with some ferocious knockout wins. He's also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and talented wrestler, which helps explain the reason so few men have found success against him.

In this bout, dos Santos cannot afford to let his opponent settle into the fight. Dos Santos may have taken some serious damage in recent fights, but he's still a durable fighter with huge power.

To defeat Overeem, "JDS" needs to force him to exchange punches. Dos Santos has the more powerful hands, and Overeem still doesn't seem to fully understand how to defend himself in small MMA gloves.

Considering dos Santos' punching power and Overeem's nine knockout losses, "Cigano's" path to victory is fairly obvious. If he forces Overeem to trade -- ideally by herding him into the fence, as Overeem knows that trading is a bad idea -- then he's bound to land something before long.

When dos Santos lands, even the biggest Heavyweight fighters fall.

VS.

Alistair Overeem
Record: 39-14 (1)
Key Wins: Brock Lesnar (UFC 141), Frank Mir (UFC 169), Fabricio Werdum (Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum)
Key Losses: Ben Rothwell (UFC Fight Night 50), Travis Browne (UFC Fight Night 26), Antonio Silva (UFC 156)
Keys to Victory: Overeem is a nasty offensive kickboxer who has finishing power in his punches, kicks and knees. In addition, Overeem is a fantastic grappler with some solid takedowns, so he's hardly out-matched in that area.

Though he's a large underdog, this is definitely a winnable fight for "Reem." The wars dos Santos has endured have noticeably slowed him down, and it's been little more than one year since his last bout.

On the other hand, Overeem has been active and improving. He needs to fight smart in this bout, and his work down in Albuquerque, N.M., with Mike Winkeljohn and Brandon Gibson will certainly help with that.

Essentially, Overeem needs to rely heavily on his movement and range strikes. In his last bout with Roy Nelson, Overeem did an excellent job playing the matador, as he slid out of the way of his opponent's strikes and picked his moments to land some terrifyingly hard strikes.

Were it on a fighter without Nelson's legendary durability, Overeem likely would've finished the fight a few times over.

Overeem needs to fight in similar fashion here, as he once again should have the speed advantage. Plus, Overeem is the far more effective range striker, which means that dos Santos -- the slower man -- will have to work to corral him into punches without running into any of Overeem's traps.

That's a tough task.

Bottom Line: This is a very important fight for the weight class and is potentially a title eliminator.

This is especially true for dos Santos, whose win over Miocic is very important at this moment. If he can crush Overeem in quick fashion -- and Werdum successfully defends his strap -- he's in great position to earn a shot at the belt.

On the other hand, a loss would be rather devastating for "Cigano." He's alternated wins and losses in his last four, but his defeats have come to the champion. If he looks bad in defeat, dos Santos' time as a contender may be over.

Let's be honest, Overeem has yet to live up to expectations. However, this is a real opportunity for him to do so. "JDS" is rightfully ranked as the third best man in the division, and if Overeem can take him out, he'll shoot up the list and land in prime position to make a play at the title.

That said, a loss leaves Overeem in a bad position. In all likelihood, this is the last high-profile opportunity that he's going to be given. Overeem either capitalizes, or he's firmly pushed out of the title picture and will be relegated to fights that are fun rather than meaningful for the foreseeable future.

At UFC on FOX 17, Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem will clash in the co-main event. Which man will have his hand raised?