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UFC Free To Begin Promoting Alistair Overeem

The UFC asked – and was granted – permission to begin promoting suspended heavyweight challenger Alistair Overeem.

While nothing has been made official, Overeem is expected to face Antonio Silva in February at UFC 156. With a victory, the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion would likely secure himself a UFC title shot later in 2013.

“We asked the (Nevada Athletic) Commission: can we start setting up a fight for him, but he’s still got to go before the commission,” said UFC president Dana White during his post-UFC 154 press conference media scrum. “I think Alistair has been doing the right thing as far as the commission is concerned. It’s looking positive and optimistic because he’s been doing what he’s supposed to do.”

Overeem was suspended following a failed pre-fight drug test. He was set to meet Junior dos Santos for the title, but Frank Mir took his place and was defeated. Dos Santos has a planned bout with Cain Velasquez set for late in December, just days after Overeem’s suspension runs out.

Overeem-Silva would likely serve as the co-main event in February, as UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar have already been named the headliner attraction.

Photo credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

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