Alistair Overeem weathered the early storm of Augusto Sakai at UFC Vegas 9 en route to a bloody stoppage in the final round.
Atop the UFC Vegas 9 card on Saturday were two men looking to ascend to the top of the heavyweight mountain. Hulking Dutch kickboxer Alistair Overeem, of course, had been there before, challenging for UFC gold in 2016, and holding titles in Dream, K-1, and Strikeforce. His opponent, Augusto Sakai, represented a new generation of heavyweight.
Not yet a household name, Sakai had the chance to make a big impression with fans against “The Reem,” still one of the biggest (in terms of physicality and drawing power) fighters in the weight class.
Both men respected the power of the other early, but Sakai got things started about two minutes in with a flurry that backed Overeem to the cage. He held the action there with the odd strike from time to time before Overeem broke and circled away. A stiff right hand appeared to wobble Sakai somewhat, but he got right back to action with an uppercut of his own. Sakai again poured on a combination with Overeem shelling up – all topped off with a standing hammerfist. The round ends with Sakai getting the best of the exchanges.
Shortly into round two, Sakai backed Overeem up to the cage and let it all fly. The covering up of Overeem seemed to keep the damage to a minimum. He gets another of those about halfway through the round, only this time made the work to the body count. Overeem switched the positions for a bit, but ultimately didn’t land much in the clinch. Under a minute to go, they separated. Nothing much doing at that point.
Overeem came to life to kick off the third with some leg kicks. Sakai changes that tenor a bit with another combination backing Overeem into a shell against the cage again. Overeem got a clinch himself, but ate an uppercut on the way for his troubles. Yet another heavy series from Sakai against the cage, even pulling Overeem’s hand out of the way for a shot or two. Overeem closes the round with a takedown that results with some big strikes as the round ends, and a bit of side control.
Overeem looks like the fresher fighter, but allows Sakai to back him up for another combination. He adds in two more of those sets, now mixing elbows in with the knees and punches. The lack of counters really costing Overeem in more than one round. A quick comes in the fourth thanks to a spinning kick to Sakai’s junk. After the restart, Overeem hit a single leg that led him to some more top game. The ground and pound leads to Sakai moving to bottom turtle with Overeem looking to finish. He survived and ends the round in a weak half guard and the momentum was clearly in the favor of Overeem.
The same single leg scores early for Overeem in the fifth. He goes right to elbows that ring out in the Apex. He adds in a hammerfist and Herb Dean calls a stop to it.
Alistair Overeem def. Augusto Sakai by TKO (Ground and Pound), Round 5 (0:26)