Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Roy Nelson traded blows last night (March, 14, 2015) at UFC 185 inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
While Nelson is always dangerous with his one-hitter quitter, the portly power puncher was on a bit of a slide heading into his bout with Overeem. In order to keep his position inside the top 10, Nelson needed a victory here.
Earning the win was similarly pivotal for "The Demolition Man." If he managed to take out the notoriously tough "Big Country," it would put him back into the title mix.
It wasn't always pretty, but Overeem good the job done in a strong showing.
Overeem looked extremely sharp in the opening round. Keeping his distance from Nelson, Overeem kicked hard at Nelson's lead leg with both round house and oblique kicks. He also landed a few steeping knees into Nelson's notoriously large mid-section.
At one point, Overeem covered up against the fence, as Nelson tried to attack with a series of punches. It momentarily seemed like this would be the moment "Reem" fans are afraid of, when the Dutch kickboxer gives away the fight. Instead, Overeem angled off the fence and dug his knee into Nelson's belly.
While Overeem undoubtedly won the second round as well, some cracks appeared in his assault. Overeem threw far more punches in this round -- and some of them did crack Nelson -- but they also allowed Nelson to land some of his own counters, one of which seemed to stun Overeem a bit.
This was Overeem's best UFC performance since he defeated Brock Lesnar in his debut. Early on, Overeem looked incredibly slick, as he landed some very heavy strikes and made Nelson miss over and over. While the defensive flaws that made themselves more noticeable as the fight wore on will probably keep him from being a title contender, his chances look better after this performance.
The best part of Overeem's assault was his unpredictability. Overeem switches stances and attacked with a large variety of kicks and knees, while largely staying out of range of the overhand.
Defensively, Overeem still has plenty of problems. If Nelson hadn't kept trying to take down Overeem after rocking him, he may have gotten knocked out. Plus, that standing still against the fence with his guard up thing? That may work in kickboxing, but not with tiny mixed martial arts (MMA) gloves.
For Overeem's next fight, a bout with the winner of Stipe Miocic-Junior dos Santos would make sense.
Nelson fought terribly. He waited for his opportunities to land his overhand -- which made sense -- but then never pursued the finish when he did do damage. It just didn't make sense; there was no way Nelson was going to win the decision.
Nelson has already fought basically the entire top 15, and I can't imagine there's a ton of interest in the rematches. With that in mind, perhaps Nelson should face off with an up-and-coming heavyweight, such as Todd Duffee.
At UFC 185, Overeem put forth his best offensive performance in years, dominating Roy Nelson. Can Overeem finally live up to his potential?
For complete UFC 185: "Pettis vs dos Anjos" results and play-by-play results click HERE!