Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to FOX Sports 1 for a thrilling mixed martial arts (MMA) event yesterday (Sun., May 8, 2016) in Rotterdam, Netherlands, as UFC Fight Night 87 gave fight fans one finish after another.
In the main event of the evening, Alistair Overeem proved he is a legit title contender by taking out his Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA teammate, Andrei Arlovski, via punches (highlights here). The victory was the former Strikeforce champion's fourth straight inside the Octagon, three via knockout.
The co-main event provided combat fans with another thrilling finish, as Stefan Struve flat-out obliterated Antonio Silva in a matter of 16 seconds. With that quick overview of the night's marquee bouts, here are your biggest winners, as well as the runners-up from Rotterdam.
Biggest Winner: Alistair Overeem
As mentioned earlier, perhaps there isn't a hotter heavyweight fighter on the UFC roster at the moment, as "The Reem" has been on fire over his last four bouts. And he's made sure to put an exclamation point in his wins, earning three knockout victories against very formidable foes such as Junior dos Santos and "The Pitbull."
What we've seen from Overeem during that time is a more calm, cool, and collected fighter who takes his time and picks his shots carefully. That was the case against Arlovski, as Overeem saw the opening he needed to land a kick to Andrei's chin that would've made Mr. Miyagi proud.
It sure made UFC officials proud, as his destruction of Arlovski earned him a $50,000 bonus check.
Whether or not it earned him a shot at the division strap, though, remains to be seen. Should Cain Velasquez lose to Travis Browne at UFC 200, then Alistair's chances of facing the winner of Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic increase dramatically.
Runner-up: Stefan Struve
After coming up short against Jared Rosholt in his last bout, Struve needed a win in the biggest way.
And there was perhaps no greater motivator than to fight in front of the hometown crowd for the first time in eight years. By destroying Antonio Silva in a matter of only 16 seconds, "The Skyscraper" put the entire 265-pound division on notice and proved he is (still) a forced to be reckoned with.
And he has the "Performance of the Night" bonus check to prove it.
No, he won't be in title contention anytime soon, but if the rising contender can string together a few more quality wins like the one he earned in Rotterdam, don't be surprised to see him get there sooner, rather than later. Plus, you can expect him to crack the top 15.
Next up though, maybe a fight against Ben Rothwell is in order.
Biggest loser: Antonio Silva
For Silva, losing another fight wasn't the biggest of deal. It's the matter in which he lost that's important in the grand scheme of things. When the dust settled and he got his senses back, "Bigfoot" has suffered his second straight devastating knockout loss (eight overall).
When we stretch it back a bit further, it's the Brazilian's fourth such defeat in last five outings. And if we really want to make a case for his well being, his last seven defeats have come by way of knockout.
Next up for Silva is an extended break from the sport to think about his health.
Runner up: Andrei Arlovski
Arlovski's Cinderella run took another turn for the worse, as the former heavyweight champion looked to climb back from the loss column after getting his clock cleaned by Stipe Miocic in his previous outing.
Unfortunately for him, his teammate, Overeem, made sure his hole was dug a bit deeper thanks to his front kick and ruthless ground-and-pound.
Is it the end for "The Pitbull?"
I highly doubt it, but losing two straight will put a huge dent in his ranking position as well as his hopes of ever competing for another world title.
Perhaps a showdown against Josh Barnett is in order.
For complete Fight Night 87 results, including play-by-play updates, click here.