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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Alistair Overeem after TKO loss at UFC Vegas 18?

UFC Fight Night: Overeem v Volkov Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC Vegas 18 went down last Sat. night (Feb. 6, 2021) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Frankie Edgar, who was knocked out by a flying knee courtesy of Cory Sandhagen in just 28 seconds (see it). And Michael Johnson, who suffered his fourth straight loss after getting shut out by Clay Guida (recap).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Alistair Overeem.

Coming into his heavyweight headliner against Alexander Volkov, “Demolition Man” was seemingly one win away from locking down his second attempt at winning the division strap. Indeed, Overeem was coming in with two straight wins — and three in a row (sometimes less) — is more than enough to jump to the front of the championship line when you’re fighting at 265 pounds.

Unfortunately for the striking Dutchman, he ran into a motivated Russian behemoth who is on his own path to the UFC title. From the jump, Overeem simply wasn’t there, refusing to pop off any major offense other than two solid left hands. After that, every time “Drago” connected clean, “The Reem” immediately turtled up. While there’s nothing wrong with defense, not engaging soon thereafter isn’t going to get the job done.

In round two, Volkov really piled on the punishment, tagging Overeem at will, busting his face wide open and damaging his already-broken nose a bit more while sending him crashing to the canvas with a wicked left hand. The referee on duty had seen enough up until that point, putting an end to Overeem’s bloody night, as well as his championship dreams.

But if you think this is the end of the road for Overeem, you might want to think again.

“You’re a true warrior Alexander Volkov. Congrats on the win!” Overeem said after the bout. “Yesterday wasn’t my night. I could not recover from that punch in the first round after I broke my nose. My highest priority right now is to heal up and spend some well deserved time with the family. I’ll be back in the gym soon though. Thank you all for your support! I see the comments, you guys are the best.”

The 40-year-old veteran has accomplished plenty in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, but it seems capturing UFC’s world title just isn’t in the cards. Sure, he can go on a run and get back in the mix, but the big man himself has said that his career is winding down. Plus, it’s no secret that he’s lost a step (or three) over the course of his 20-year combat sports career.

If Overeem does have a few fights left, I’d like to see him face Greg Hardy in one of those remaining contests. The former NFL start isn’t ranked in the Top 10 and is coming off a loss to Marcin Tybura, but his name value alone makes it an intriguing fight for Overeem. A victory over Hardy won’t get “The Reem” back into the title mix, but it will get him back on track a bit and help him ride off into the sunset on a decent note. It’s a good match up for Hardy, too, because it could give him a win over one of the biggest names in heavyweight history.

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