Brock Lesnar will be returning from a layoff due to a second bout with diverticulitis to face Octagon newcomer and former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem on Dec. 30 at UFC 141.
UFC president Dana White on Tuesday confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that not only will the two square off, but there is also a lot more than bragging rights on the line. The victor will earn a title shot against the winner of the UFC heavyweight championship fight between current titleholder Cain Velasquez and No. 1 contender Junior Dos Santos.
Velasquez and Dos Santos are the main event of UFC on Fox 1, the promotion’s first live event on Fox since signing a seven-year broadcasting contract with the sports giant.
Despite Overeem having held the Strikeforce title, White seemed to think that he still needed to come over and earn a shot at the UFC belt, not just stroll on into a title fight.
“I’m excited to see what Alistair Overeem has,” the UFC boss told MMAWeekly.com. “And people can yap and say whatever they want, when these guys come over to the UFC, it’s a whole other ballgame. It’s going to be a really good gauge to find out where Alistair really sits in the heavyweight division.”
Lesnar has been out of commission for the past year – ever since losing the UFC heavyweight strap to Velasquez – dealing with a second go around with diverticulitis, a life-threatening intestinal issue that necessitated surgery for the former WWE superstar.
Overeem was fighting his way through the current Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix before a reported toe injury kept him out of a fight. The situation then devolved between his management team and Zuffa LLC, the parent company of both the UFC and Strikeforce, leading to his release from Strikeforce.
The Dutch fighter, now devoid of the Strikeforce belt, axed his management team and has signed on with the UFC, adding more firepower to the top-end of the weight class.