On Saturday night at UFC Vegas 9, Alistair Overeem showed the cool composure of a man that has been fighting for over 20 years as he fought Augusto Sakai to a fifth round TKO win via brutal ground and pound.
No scorecards have been revealed for the fight, but it was by no means a sure thing that “The Demolition Man” was winning the fight coming into the final two rounds. A strategy shift that saw Alistair start taking Sakai down and punishing him on the canvas turned things definitively around. We had Overeem taking round four 10-8, and Sakai lased just 28 seconds under The Reem in the subsequent frame before the ref mercifully waved things off (watch the highlights here).
One man who wasn’t impressed with Overeem’s performance was fellow heavyweight Derrick Lewis, whose own play-by-play score was ... pretty interesting.
I got Sakai 10-7 just because Overeem running his mouth— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) September 6, 2020
10-8 Sakai round 4— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) September 6, 2020
So far I got Sakai winning all 4 rounds— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) September 6, 2020
As always, this kind of stuff is pure jet fuel for fight speculation. At the post-fight press conference reporters asked if he had any interest in fighting “The Black Beast.”
“Definitely, but Derrick Lewis is just talking crap,” Overeem said. “My teammate Curtis [Blaydes] is going to destroy him, and I’d be happy to do that after Curtis. Curtis first.”
Lewis and Blaydes are set to headline a fight card on November 28th. That leaves few options for Overeem at the top of the heavyweight food chain outside of Jairzinho Rozenstruik, whose literal last second KO of Overeem back in December 2019 is the only reason The Reem isn’t sitting on a five fight win streak right now.
“Rosenstruik, I destroyed that man, I schooled him,” Overeem said. “In my opinion it was a very bad decision by the ref, waving it off with zero seconds left. I have no problem running that back. In my mind I already beat him. It’s only on paper that he kind of got it, and he knows it to. So no problem running that back.”
“No preference. Well, you know what my preference is? Quality time with my girls. I miss them, camp is gruesome, separated for eight weeks, I kind of do that on purpose to get extra hungry, extra motivated. So for now I’m gonna fly back early tomorrow, spend some quality time with them, and then we’ll figure it out.”
Taking some time off isn’t a bad idea. There’s the beginnings of a heavyweight title log jam forming right now with Francis Ngannou the #1 contender for Stipe Miocic’s belt, and then Jon Jones seemingly in line for next. Number two ranked Curtis Blaydes (an Overeem training partner) is set to fight number four ranked Derrick Lewis, and it’d be hard for Overeem to justify jumping in line in front of them.
The 40 year old Overeem has mentioned four more fights as a number for his MMA career, which would bring him to 70 (70!) MMA bouts. It’d be a smart strategy to take that time, enjoy the family, heal, get hungry, and wait for the big boys to sort themselves out.
Or jump back in and avenge that Bigi Boy loss. We’re always down for some more “Demolition Man” in our MMA diet, and with the title on Alistair’s mind, any top 5 ranked opponent will be hard to turn down.
With the UFC chasing quick turnarounds to stack their schedule in these daunting COVID times, we have little doubt an offer will come in to both men. Whether Rosenstruik’s management will accept it is unclear or even dare I say doubtful.