Alistair Overeem did to Mark Hunt what few men have ever done at UFC 209 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Overeem and Hunt, both former K-1 World Grand Prix champions in kickboxing, were meeting for the second time at T-Mobile Arena. They never fought in kickboxing, but Overeem submitted Hunt with an Americana under the Dream banner in 2008 in Japan.
That said, Hunt was not a fan of Overeem’s coming into the fight. Hunt has been on public campaign against performance-enhancing drug users in the UFC, including filing a lawsuit to change the way such fighters are sanctioned. Overeem is a fighter that has faced sanctioning in the past for a positive drug test. Hunt felt forced into this fight, and wanted nothing more than to score a victory, but it wasn’t to be.
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Hunt started the fight with several leg kicks, but Overeem adjusted and began timing the kicks, countering with an overhand left on several occasions. Hunt opened a gash on his right shin early in the fight when Overeem checked one of his leg kicks.
Hunt continued, seemingly unaware of the cut, maintaining the center of the Octagon, searching for that one big overhand right that he is famous four. He landed a couple solid right kicks to the body, but Overeem was patient, reading Hunt well and edged ahead with his counter attacks.
Overeem got more aggressive in the second round, opening with a solid spinning back kick to the body. He also clinched Hunt on several occasions, landing numerous knees to the body that served him well later in the fight.
Hunt wasn’t without offense in the round, however, stunning Overeem a few times with hard arching elbows to the head that wobbled him in more than one instance.
The second round saw solid output from both fighters, but Overeem turned the corner in the final frame.
Overeem ducked an early attack by Hunt and jogged away from him, drawing boos from the Sin City crowd, but moments later, everyone was singing a different tune.
Overeem again pressed Hunt up against the fence and landed a few knees to the body before a left elbow stunned Hunt. Overeem then used the Thai clinch, pulling Hunt’s head down as he launched a devastating knee to the face that put out the lights. As Hunt began to fall, Overeem landed a second knee, grazing Hunt’s temple before he face-planted on the canvas.
It was a huge victory for Overeem, who entered this fight coming off of a loss to UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic last September. Having begun his mixed martial arts career in 1999 and now 58 fights deep as a professional, Overeem made it clear that he’s not ready to hang up his gloves.
“Listen, this man is tough. I’ve fought him once before. I’m actually a fan of Mark’s,” said Overeem, before adding, “We worked really hard. We’re not done yet.”
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