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The Daily Line: UFC 141 Previews And Predictions By The FightLine Staff

UFC 141: Overeem vs. Lesnar goes down this Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will feature a heavyweight contendership bout between former champion Brock Lesnar and recent divisional entrant Alistair Overeem.

Supporting the main event is an electrifying lightweight tilt between 155lbs. scrappers Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Nate Diaz. writer Dana Becker (@DanaBecker), head writer Mark Wayne (@_MarkWayne), and President Raj Giri (@RajGiri_303) preview the top fights and offer their predictions for the show.

Also, don’t forget to check back at Friday afternoon for our live, ongoing coverage of UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem.

Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem

This fight, which will determine the next contender to Junior dos Santos’ heavyweight throne, is much more than just a battle of behemoths or your classic “striker vs. grappler” match, as its being billed.

Former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar will be returning to action after suffering another bout with diverticulitis, this one costing him twelve inches of his colon. Insistent that he’s healthy and as good as he’s ever been, the hulking Minnesotan bruiser is intent on doing whatever he can to reclaim the belt he once held. An outstanding NCAA Division-1 collegiate wrestler, Lesnar has developed into more of a well-rounded MMA fighter over his relatively young, seven-fight career, but still relies mostly on his powerhouse grappling and ground-and-pound assault.

The last reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champ, Alistair Overeem is followed by a cloud of questions himself ahead of tomorrow’s fight. Like Lesnar, Overeem has been out of action for some time as well, though not for as long or for as dire a reason. However, the Dutch striking expert has been hounded by the Nevada State Athletic Commission over drug testing issues and had to uproot his training camp midway through to care for his ailing mother in Holland. A seasoned veteran with titles to spare, Overeem threatens with his size, strength and submissions game in addition to his vaunted striking arsenal.

It’s hard to tell exactly how either man will perform in the cage tomorrow night considering the myriad X factors surrounding both of them, but you can definitely expect a battle between the big men, with a very slim chance of the fight seeing the final bell.

Mark: On one hand, Overeem has been more active than Lesnar more recently; on the other, Lesnar was actually able to put in a full training camp, whereas Overeem was not. Based on straight-up skill sets, Overeem is the smart pick, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that all of the distractions surrounding him will leave him more vulnerable than normal to Lesnar’s onslaught. Lesnar via second-round TKO

Dana: The wrestling of Brock Lesnar will be the best Alistair Overeem has seen ever, as Lesnar brings a brute force to his attack style. However, Overeem is one of the best strikers the heavyweight division has ever seen. Both men have been away from fighting for quite some time, so there will be plenty of rust from each man in the early going. Lesnar, though, seems to be re-focused to another level, and his ground-and-pound style will be the difference in this one. Lesnar via third-round TKO

Raj: The one thing that’s for certain is that this fight won’t go five rounds. After that, there are a ton of questions. How will the lengthy layoff affect Lesnar? How will Overeem fare against a top level wrestler? Will Lesnar be able to withstand Overeem’s superior striking? Lesnar has shown that he has a hard time when he’s getting hit, and I think that will result in an Overeem victory. Overeem via first-round TKO.

Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz

Though nothing has been stated officially in regards to where Diaz or Cerrone will rank in the UFC’s lightweight division with a victory, one has to think that – especially with Gilbert Melendez remaining in Strikeforce – there would be few contenders in front of either man.

Looking to pick up his fifth victory of 2011, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has all the momentum going in his favor heading into this fight. Since moving from the WEC to the UFC, Cerrone has looked nothing short of fantastic, running roughshod through each of his four UFC opponents so far, a list that includes Dennis Siver and Charles Oliveira. Boasting some of the most technically precise striking in the division, Cerrone also counts on improving counter-wrestling, stout offensive jiu-jitsu and cold aggression to dismantle his opponents.

The younger of the fighting Diaz brothers, Nate Diaz seems to have finally found his stride in the Octagon, putting on a masterful performance over Takanori Gomi in his most recent outing. Winner of the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Diaz can also claim some of the most legitimately threatening jiu-jitsu in the lightweight division and has adopted his brother’s deceptively effective, boxing-heavy striking style. It doesn’t hurt that he has an immense well of 209 grit to draw from.

Mark: To me, this is another pick ’em fight. Both Diaz and Cerrone come to battle with a near-immovable spirit and they boast similar skill sets, the main difference being Cerrone’s more varied and kickboxing-oriented striking style. My gut says Diaz but my mind sees Cerrone being able to keep it on the feet and score points with a multi-pronged assault. Cerrone via split decision

Dana: What a tremendous co-main event, as Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz will electrify the crowd before Lesnar and Overeem hit the Octagon. “The Cowboy” has been on a roll this year, but Diaz will be his toughest challenge to date. Diaz is tough to stop, but Cerrone seems to have more of an all-around game. Cerrone via unanimous decision

Raj: This fight should be tremendous, as both these guys have put on amazing fights this year. Diaz looked much-improved in his impressive victory over Takanori Gomi, while Donal Cerrone has been on a tear since joining the UFC earlier this year, with only one of his four victories going the decision. It’s a tough call, but I think Cerrone will make it five in a row for 2011. Cerrone via unanimous decision