UFC 225 saw a changing of the heavyweight guard as Curtis Blaydes sliced open Alistair Overeem en route to a TKO win.
Heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes closed out UFC 225’s preliminary card Saturday from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Overeem looked to bounce back after losing by KO to Francis Ngannou when the two met at UFC 218. That crushing defeat was easily the knockout of the year for 2017. Blaydes entered the night, meanwhile, after picking up a unanimous decision over Mark Hunt at UFC 221.
Both fighters showed respect for each other’s skills early as they felt out the range. Overeen kept a low stance. Blaydes went with a high kick that Overeem stepped away from. Blaydes shot the takedown and immediately found himself on top in half guard. Overeem worked back into guard, only for Blaydes to move back into half. Blaydes worked some punches from top as he tried to keep his weight over Overeem. Overeem defended well off of his back and went for a heel hook as the horn sounded to end the round.
Overeem landed a hard uppercut early in the second, and Curtis Blaydes shot for a take down. On the ground, Overeem went for the heel hook again. They scrambled, and Blaydes wound up on Overeem’s back. Overeem exploded back to his feet — he might have been dealing with leg injury as his movement looked off. Blaydes pressed the action and took a knee as he shot in for the take down. Once again Blaydes found himself in half guard. He worked to get mount but Overeem defended well. Blaydes kept his weight over a downed Overeem, throwing punches when he found an opening. Blaydes popped up and started dropping punches down onto Overeem just before the horn sounded to end the action.
In round three, Blaydes came out with a right then shot for the takedown, that Overeem stuffed. Overeem fired back with a body kick, and Blaydes landed a right. Blaydes pressed and looked to have hurt Overeem with a knee then landed multiple lefts and rights, only to drop for the take down. Blaydes in half guard worked the ground and pound while he tried to get the mount. Overeem again went for the heel hook; Blaydes defended and pulled free, winding up on top. Blaydes then dropped a crushing elbow that badly hurt Overeem and opened him up, he followed with two more to finish the fight. Overeem was dazed, and the ref was forced to make the save.
Curtis Blaydes def. Alistair Overeem by TKO, Round 3, 2:56