- Alistair Overeem, a veteran of elite-level fighting, scored another big win Saturday in an illustrious MMA career in its 22nd year.
- The London-born Dutchman came from behind to defeat Augusto Sakai with elbow strikes on the ground, winning a fifth-round stoppage.
- Victory edges Overeem closer to a title shot after leaving Sakai’s face looking like a bloody mess.
- Watch some of the highlights right here.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Alistair Overeem split his heavyweight opponent’s head open, scoring a bloody knockout win with nasty ground-and-pound at a behind-closed-doors UFC event Saturday.
It edges Overeem, a former Strikeforce, Dream, and K-1 champion, closer to a UFC title shot. The fighting veteran has back-to-back pandemic-era wins over top-1o ranked opponents, Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai.
While Overeem comfortably beat Harris, the Muay Thai expert Sakai made Overeem work harder for the win.
Sakai had done enough to win the opening two rounds on the majority of the Octagonside judges’ scorecards with punches and knee strikes. It was not until the third, when Overeem took the fight to the floor and hammered his fists into Sakai’s skull, when things drastically improved for the London-born Dutchman.
Overeem’s ground-and-pound looked particularly painful.
—UFC (@ufc) September 6, 2020
Overeem took his ground-based tactics into the fourth and, after nailing a takedown in the fifth, sought the finish by using the tip of his elbow as a weapon, and cutting Sakai open, who leaked blood all over his own face.
Watch it unfold right here:
—UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) September 6, 2020
Or here if you’re in a different region:
—UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) September 6, 2020
“Sakai is a tough guy, an up-and-comer. We knew that … just gotta take the punishment, but I was very well prepared,” Overeem told ESPN after his victory inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
“And we did it … again. At 40 years of age!”
It is unclear who Overeem will fight next. He wants to compete one more time in 2020 and could feasibly face the No.3-ranked contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a rematch of his most recent loss, a fifth-round knockout defeat in 2019.
The Sakai win was Overeem’s 66th professional MMA match of a 22-year career, and it advanced his record to 47 wins (25 knockouts, 17 submissions, and five decisions) against 18 defeats.