UFC Vegas 9: Don’t Count Augusto Sakai Among Fans of Heavyweight Legend Alistair Overeem

Maybe it should come as no surprise, given they’re fighting this weekend. But don’t count August Sakai among fans of longtime heavyweight legend Alistair Overeem.

The pair meet atop the UFC Vegas 9 card on Saturday, which marks Sakai’s first ever main event in the promotion. Overeem also represents his biggest test, and biggest opponent, to date. Sakai (15–1–1) however has built up an impressive win streak of late: six victories total. Four in the UFC.

By the time Sakai started his MMA career back in 2011, Alistair Overeem already had upwards of 45 professional fights under his belt. Not including his kickboxing run. You might imagine that the former PRIDE, DREAM, and Strikeforce vet would be someone who had Sakai’s eye coming up.

You’d be wrong. Asked at the UFC Vegas 9 media day if he was a fan or had any favorite Overeem fights, Sakai’s answer was simple: “No.”

What a pairing with the legendary “Demolition Man” means to the Brazilian is that “I’m ready to also become a legend, and to write my own history inside the heavyweight division,” he told Cageside Press Thursday.

Sakai hasn’t lost since a 2017 fight in Bellator against another notable name, Cheick Kongo. And he knows what a win Saturday could mean. “I know that if I have a great performance Saturday night, everyone’s eyes will be on me, and I will be one of the top five guys in my weight class,” he stated.

Augusto Sakai is the third Contender Series winner to headline a UFC card this year. Things did not go all that well for Dan Ige and Edmen Shahbazyan, but Sakai is anticipating a different outcome.

“I’m here to win,” said Sakai, adding that he will be very proud to be the first Contender Series winner to come out victorious in a main event this year. “I’m showing them that they made the right decision in selecting me for the Contender Series and giving me the contract that night.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 9 media day press scrum with Augusto Sakai above. The event takes place this Saturday, September 5 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV, airing live on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).