Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight hitters Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt threw down last night (March 4, 2017) at UFC 209 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Following his failed title bid a few months back, Overeem was eager to return to the win column. Opposite Hunt, Overeem had two real options, as he could either throw down with his fellow K-1 Grand Prix champion or look to dump him to the mat and submit him like in their first battle. Meanwhile, nine months have passed since Hunt last stepped into the Octagon against Brock Lesnar, who out-muscled “Super Samoan” before promptly failing a drug test. Finally persuaded to return, Hunt had a chance to jump right back into the title mix last night.
Hunt opened up the fight with some hard low kicks, but a check from the Dutchman opened up a cut on his shin. Working from the kickboxing range, Overeem denied his opponent’s attempts to box by jamming him up with oblique kicks to the lead leg and kicks up the middle.
Throughout much of the first round, Hunt came up just short on some dangerous punches. Overeem largely did a nice job of either being too far out or too far in for Hunt to land punches, forcing the two to mostly trade kicks. Overeem landed more kicks than his opponent and seemed to win the round, but Hunt’s power punches came too close for comfort several times as well.
Overeem continued to work from the outside to start the second round, pecking at Hunt with teep kicks and long punches. He also began to hang onto the clinch opposite his fatiguing foe, allowing Overeem to score some brutal knees to the body along the fence.
After getting smashed from the outside and inside for the better half of the two rounds, Hunt scored a massive counter elbow that wobbled Overeem. “Demolition Man” was badly hurt, but he kept his composure and recovered back to the clinch. Once again, he was able to control his opponent and land more hard knees to the body, though Hunt did land another couple big elbows from close range.
Overeem had a lead heading into the third, but the fight was definitely still up for grabs.
Neither man changed their respective game plans in the final frame. Hunt continued to try to work into the boxing range and work elbows, whereas Overeem avoided that distance to work kicks. After Hunt nearly took Overeem’s head off with a big punch, Overeem pushed his way back into the clinch and jammed Hunt into the fence.
From there, Overeem set up a knee perfectly to end the bout. Firing a left elbow, Overeem moved Hunt’s head off to the side, in perfect position to absorb an angled right knee. It connected cleanly, as did the follow up knee, causing Hunt to slump down to the mat.
Overeem is a brilliant technical fighter. He may have his defensive flaws, but Overeem’s ability to manage range and work such a wide variety of techniques is perhaps unmatched … Heavyweight or not. Overeem will undoubtedly receive some criticism following this win for his defensive tactic. However, it’s largely undeserved. Hunt is a great striker who’s bound to get some shots in, but Overeem was able to make Hunt’s punches come up short a shockingly high percentage of time. Plus, when Overeem was tagged by a hard shot, he kept calm and covered up, denying his foe any easy finishing blow. All the meanwhile, Overeem was tagging Hunt from both stances with fantastic accuracy.
Overeem is back in the title mix. It may be a bit soon, but a match up with Francis Ngannou would create a worthy title contender either way. Despite the loss, Hunt fought rather smartly. He made the most of his shorter range by kicking often, landing some hard blows. He also found a weapon that worked in his elbows and then stuck with it. He rocked Overeem and came up just short other times, but Heavyweight is an unforgiving division.
On another night, Hunt may have been the one with his hand raised. Instead, it’s back to the drawing board for Mark Hunt. He hasn’t won a fight in quite some time, so it may be time for a step back in competition for the veteran, assuming he chooses to continue competing.
Last night at UFC 209, Alistair Overeem violently knocked his opponent out in the third round. Can Overeem go on another title run?
For complete UFC 209: “Woodley vs Thompson 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!
Source:: mma mania