Overeem’s Experience Too Much for Sakai

Jenn Connor
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Veteran heavyweight Alistair Overeem continued his march towards another title shot, earning a fifth round TKO victory over Augusto Sakai in the headline UFC fight night event in Las Vegas Saturday night. 

It was an intriguing matchup between the forty-year-old Overeem (46-18) and the up and coming Sakai, who came into the fight riding a six fight winning streak and sporting an overall record of 15-1-1.

Sakai caught Overeem with a right early in the opening round and followed up with a series of knee strikes  that had Overeem in some trouble. Overeem recovered and responded with a right of his own that appeared to wobble Sakai.   It was a close round but Sakai appeared to have the edge.  

Sakai, showing surprising quickness and strength in grappling with the veteran Overeem, had success in pressing Overeem up against the fence in round two.  He landed a number of significant strikes, winning the round decisively, and definitely appeared to be the fresher fighter heading to round three.  

Sakai continued to batter Overeem with blows to the body early in round three, but with less than two minutes remaining Overeem took Sakai to the mat and landed a number of hammer fists, opening up a significant cut over Sakai’s left eye.  Suddenly, momentum in the fight appeared to be shifting.  

The fourth round however, started in much the same way as the third.  Sakai came out strong, continuing to press the issue and landed a slashing right elbow that opened up a cut on Overeem’s hairline.  But Overeem managed to take Sakai down with two minutes left in the round and seized the advantage. Overeem battered Sakai with ground and pound, and for a moment it looked like referee Herb Dean might jump in to stop the fight.  Sakai hung on, surviving to see the final round. 

But not for long.  The weakness in Sakai’s takedown defense exposed, Overeem quickly brought Sakai down to the mat again and after a brief, vicious ground and pound attack, Dean called an end to the bout.  

It was the second victory in 2020 for Overeem, who plans to stay busy in the hope of fighting once again for the title before calling an end to his illustrious career.  

In the co-main event, Ovince Saint Preux knocked out Alonzo Minnifield in the second round of their light heavyweight matchup.  After a largely uneventful opening frame, Saint Preux floored Minnifield with a left hook at 4:08 of the second, stepping back and unloading as Minnifield moved in to press Saint Preux against the fence.  

In other noteworthy action, welterweight Michel Pereira Lima embarrassed Zelim Imadaev with a third round submission. Lima dominated throughout, trying a number of unorthodox maneuvers while dancing, slapping and blowing kisses at his opponent.  Lima called out welterweight Jorge Masvidal in the wake of his victory, a tussle which fans would love to see happen.  

The UFC returns to Las Vegas with another Fight Night card next Saturday, the headliner a women’s strawweight clash between Michelle Waterson (17-8) and Angela Hill (12-8).