Alistair Overeem may not have many fights left in his career but he’s certainly making the most of whatever time is remaining in his career.
The former UFC title contender unleashed a brutal ground and pound attack in the championship rounds of his fight against up and coming heavyweight Augusto Sakai to earn a fifth round TKO while moving to 3-1 in his past four fights. The victory also notches win no. 47 in Overeem’s legendary career as he takes a step forward towards another run at the championship before he hangs up his gloves for good.
“Augusto’s a tough guy,” Overeem said after earning the stoppage at just 26 seconds into the fifth and final round in the UFC Vegas 9 main event.
“He’s going to take the punishment. But I was very well prepared but we did it, again, at 40 years of age.”
The heavyweights were definitely wary of over extending themselves while facing the prospect of a knockout with a single shot thrown. Sakai attempted to overwhelm Overeem during a couple of exchanges as he rushed forward with punches and knees in succession but the veteran of more than 60 fights just stayed patient while weathering the storm.
Overeem continued to shrug off those advances from Sakai as he was more measured with his combinations but that allowed him to be more precise. On a couple of occasions, Overeem tagged Sakai with accurate power punches but he never allowed his defense to lapse.
In the clinch, Overeem looked to exert his power but the Brazilian actually clubbed him with several stinging shots including one punch that came over the top, which seemingly rattled the former title contender momentarily.
Once the fight reached the third round, Overeem was still doing his best to avoid Sakai’s striking attacks but he wasn’t throwing much volume in return. Again and again, Sakai was flurrying with a barrage of punches and knees but Overeem countered by taking the fight to the ground, which is where he shifted the momentum in his favor.
With Sakai stuck underneath him, Overeem began hammering away with a vicious display of ground and pound. When the round ended, Sakai got up off the canvas with blood streaming down his face due to cuts opened courtesy of Overeem’s strikes.
Overeem continued his ground assault in the latter part of the fourth round as well after taking the fight back down the mat where he unleashed a vicious series of punches. There were a couple of moments where Sakai gave up his back, which allowed Overeem to just blast away from the top while nearly earning a finish.
As soon as the fifth round started, Overeem landed another takedown and Sakai would not get up again. “The Demolition Man” immediately launched a series of elbow strikes followed by some hammer fists that forced referee Herb Dean to rescue Sakai before he absorbed any further damage.
If Overeem retired tomorrow, he’d be inducted into just about every Hall of Fame that exists in mixed martial arts and kickboxing but he’s obviously not done yet. He has stated that he wants to make another run at the UFC title before his career is over and Overeem proved once again on Saturday night that he’s a serious threat to anybody standing across the cage from him.
“I love fighting,” Overeem said. “It’s been my passion for 23 years. We’ll be back in action maybe later this year, early next year for sure.”