Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight knockout artists Alistair Overeem and Francis Ngannou collided last night (Dec. 2, 2017) at UFC 218 inside the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Overeem has been among the best Heavyweights in the world for years and years now. He’s adopted a number of different approaches to combat sports in that time, but his recent outside kickboxing approach — known to fans as “EconoReem” — has been consistently successful. Nevertheless, Overeem faced a massive test last night in order to earn a second showdown opposite the champion.
The UFC hasn’t thrown their full support behind a fighter since perhaps Conor McGregor, but the hype train was rolling strong behind Francis Ngannou. It’s not hard to see why; literally, all you had to do was look at him. The massive Frenchman was picking up technique remarkably fast, and “The Predator” seemed like the future of the division.
Overeem attacked Ngannou to start, looking to prove that he would not be bullied. He whiffed on a big left hook before driving into the clinch, where Ngannou spun and muscled Overeem into the fence.
The fighters were separated before long, and “The Reem” struck with a double jab-cross, nearly eating a counter in the process. Overeem stepped in again, landing a left hook to the side of the head. As Overeem’s head was ducked off to the side, however, Ngannou swung into a left hook/uppercut counter that caught Overeem directly on the chin.
Overeem’s toes left the mat briefly, and the all-time great Heavyweight fell to his back completely unconscious. The whole fight only took 104 seconds.
What’s there to analyze? Ngannou absolutely loves the left hook/uppercut/shovel punch — however you want to classify it — and he throws it as a counter frequently. Overeem landed a decent punch, but he ducked off in the wrong direction.
That’s all it took.
Ngannou is next in line to fight Stipe Miocic for the title. Is he ready for Miocic? On a technical level, I’m not entirely sure, as Ngannou hasn’t showed much to his game besides the left hand counter and some defensive grappling. At the same time, he brutally knocked out a legend without showing anything more, and there’s every chance he does the same opposite the champion. He just hits terrifyingly hard.
Whether Ngannou defeats Miocic or not, his entrance comes at an amazing time. The same group of Heavyweights have been at the top of the division for what feels like a decade. Miocic is something of an exception, but Ngannou is a brand new face that very well could become a dominant champion.
I certainly wouldn’t want to fight him.
There’s not much to say for Overeem either. He made a mistake, and it cost him immediately. Personally, I would have liked to see Overeem maintain a lot of distance and kick rather than bounce in with punches, but Overeem has a few dozen more professional fights on his record. He’s seen it all and chose what he believed to be the best strategy to stop Ngannou, but it didn’t work out.
Such is life in the Heavyweight division.
Last night, Francis Ngannou violently ended Overeem’s title run in the very first round. Will Ngannou defeated the current champion?
For complete UFC 218: “Holloway vs. Aldo 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!