Alistair Overeem wins, Brock Lesnar retires at UFC 141
Fighters make bold predictions in the media blitz leading up to a bout. It helps promote the fight and sell tickets and pay-per-views. Too often, fighters don't walk the talk.
Then there's Alistair Overeem.
Overeem, a top heavyweight making his UFC debut, predicted that he would knock out Brock Lesnar in the first or second round at UFC 141 on Friday night.
He didn't need to hedge his bet.
Delivering powerful knees to Lesnar's surgically repaired midsection, Overeem brought the former UFC champion to the ground. After Overeem launched a series of punches to Lesnar's head, referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in to stop the bout.
Overeem defeated Lesnar by technical knockout 2:26 into the first round inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
"Today was all about bad intentions," Overeem said. "First or second round, I promised."
Moments later, Lesnar (5-3) announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.
Lesnar, the UFC's biggest attraction based on the history of pay-per-view buys, has been out for 14 months after suffering a second serious case of diverticulitis. Lesnar underwent surgery to address the intestinal illness and returned to the octagon for the first time since losing his heavyweight title to Cain Velasquez in October 2010.
"I've had a really difficult couple of years with my disease," Lesnar said. "I'm going to officially say tonight is the last time you'll see me in the octagon."
Lesnar skyrocketed to superstar status in the UFC based on his recognition from his WWE days. Four fights into his career, he was the UFC heavyweight champion. Four fights later, he's retired.
"Brock Lesnar is officially retired," he said. "I promised my wife and kids, if I won this fight, I would get a title shot and then that would be my last fight. If I lost, then this would be my last fight."
Overeem made his UFC debut in what was his 48th professional fight. The Dutch-bred fighter has spent the majority of his career fighting overseas, including winning the Dream heavyweight title and K-1 Grand Prix tournament. He is also the last man to hold the Strikeforce heavyweight title before he was released from Zuffa's other MMA property with one fight left on that deal earlier this year.
He made a grand entrance into the UFC on Friday night and will next fight heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos.
"I trained my takedown defense a lot," Overeem said. "Brock Lesnar is a terrific wrestler, so I had to step up my game. Junior Dos Santos is next, I promise you guys."