One of the most anticipated heavyweight fights has finally been made official, as the UFC has announced that former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem will take on former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos on December 19, at the UFC on Fox 17 event.
Overeem and Dos Santos have been scheduled to fight previously, as they were originally supposed to fight for the UFC heavyweight title back at UFC 146 in May of 2012. But Overeem was pulled from the fight after avoiding a drug test from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Dos Santos ended up fighting Frank Mir instead, and scored a TKO victory, making it his only successful title defense.
The fight between the two heavyweights has been rumored for a long time, but injuries to both fighters have stopped it from happening. They were also supposed to fight at UFC 160 in May of 2013, but Dos Santos ended up pulling out of the fight due to injury.
By the time the bout takes place, Dos Santos will have not fought in roughly a year, as his decision win over Stipe Miocic in December of last year was the last time that we saw “Cigano” in the octagon.
Overeem on the other hand is coming off of two straight wins, as he defeated Stefan Struve via knockout in December of last year, and followed that up with a decision win over Roy Nelson back in March.
The heavyweight bout at UFC on Fox 17 could have title implications, depending on what happens in the rematch between Cain Velasquez and the new UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, because if both Velasquez and Dos Santos end up winning, it’s very unlikely that the UFC would set up a fight between Velasquez and JDS, as they have already fought three times, and Velasquez dominantly won two of the bouts.
If Alistair Overeem is able to get past Dos Santos, he could be in line for a heavyweight title opportunity, as he defeated the current UFC heavyweight champion back in June of 2011 via unanimous decision. Right now, “The Reem” is ranked ninth in the UFC’s heavyweight division, and he could be one or two wins away from a heavyweight title shot.
Overeem vs. Dos Santos is set to be the co-main-event of the UFC on Fox 17 show, as the UFC lightweight title fight between Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone is set to be the show’s main event.
[Image via MMA Mania]