UFC on ESPN+ 34 saw Alistair Overeem beating Augusto Sakai in the headliner of this event. It was another win for the legendary fighter, who is once again bidding for the title match.
The end came 26 into the last, fifth, round, with the judge in the ring, Herb Dean stepping in and separating two fighters after Overeem got on top of Sakai and started to demolish him with hard elbows.
Alistair Overeem’s 5th round TKO pic.twitter.com/r41mYyMK0F
— Blue Corner Fighting (@blue_fighting) September 6, 2020
The 40-year old came back from behind, after Sakai controlled the first two rounds, creating an edge on the scorecards during that time. The younger fighter was more aggressive and active in the octagon, going forward and often pushing Overeem against the cage. In those close situations, his biggest weapon was a vicious right hook, which did some damage to the opponent, but not that big to change the course of the fight significantly.
After getting out of all the problems he experienced in the opening 10 minutes, Overeem began to show signs of recovery in the third, once he shifted into a higher gear, which eventually wore out Sakai. Already in the fourth, the Brazilian couldn’t follow the veteran’s tempo was starting to feel punishment for that from the other side.
Eventually, Overeem scored a takedown and ended up on Sakai right away, but didn’t finish him, even though he did a lot of damage. Yet, the Dutch fighter didn’t wait for too long to fulfill his goal. Immediately after the start of the fourth, he once again took down Sakai, only now, there was no way back.
Harsh ground-and-pound elbows were the reason why Dean had to stop the fight and declare Overeem as the winner. This is his fourth triumph over the previous five battles, and all of them came via KO.
If it weren’t for that odd loss against Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Overeem might even be in a position to fight for the title now. Back then, that was the match that provided a title-eliminator battle with Francis Ngannou. Rozenstruik lost that one in 20 seconds and the Predator now awaits his second shot vs. Stipe Miocic.
Overeem hopes to have at least one more opportunity to attack the belt. In order to do so, the former Strikeforce and Dream champion needs to have at least one more big fight and wait for the Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 to complete.