Alistair Overeem (Jack Dempsey / Associated…)
New Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos will make his first title defense May 26 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against former Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem, UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta told The Times on Thursday.
Dos Santos, 27, became champion on the UFC's heavily promoted debut fight card on Fox inside the Honda Center in November. Dos Santos (14-1) needed just 64 seconds to defeat then-unbeaten champion Cain Velasquez by first-round knockout (punches).
The anticipation for a showdown with Overeem intensified after Overeem made his UFC debut with a dominant beating of former UFC champion Brock Lesnar on Dec. 30, needing just 2:26 of the first round to kick Lesnar to the canvas and finish him off with a barrage of punches.
Lesnar announced his retirement after that fight.
Overeem, 31, is a skilled kick-boxer who counted victories over Brett Rogers and Fabricio Werdum in the fight organization Strikeforce that UFC now owns.
"Huge night of heavyweights," Fertitta said.
Two other fights on the card were announced Wednesday: Velasquez will fight former UFC interim heavyweight champion Frank Mir, and former "The Ultimate Fighter" heavyweight winner Roy Nelson will fight ex-Strikeforce fighter Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.
Meanwhile, the UFC on Friday will start airing the first of 13 episodes of its remodeled "The Ultimate Fighter" on FX at 9 p.m. Pacific time. The 32-fighter tournament, with lightweight fights at The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, will feature coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber as they prepare for their own bantamweight title fight July 7 in Las Vegas.
Cain Velasquez to face Frank Mir on Memorial Day
Peyton Manning shows LeBron James how it's done
Which team will Peyton Manning be playing for next season?