Dubai: They say that it’s never too old to rock-and-roll and veteran Alistar Overeem proved that in emphatic fashion with a devastating fifth round TKO over the young pretender Augusto Sakai on a night of submission victories at the Apex Arena in Las Vegas.
The good news is that the 40-year-old Dutch-born MMA fighter, who has never won the heavyweight belt despite having defeated some of the best fighters in the division, could well have earned himself a last chance of completing some unfinished business — by bagging a UFC title.
The thing about these older fighters is that they want to demonstrate athletic longevity and prove to the world that the best athletes are not necessarily the younger ones.
“I had a feeling this would take me a few rounds and it took me five,” Overeem said after the main event at UFC Fight Night Vegas 9. “All respect to my coaches. They’ve guided me perfectly and camp was perfect. I went for successful takedowns and finished him on the ground. I had a feeling I would finish him on the ground, because his background is striking.
“He’s durable. I kind of knew that going in. He was a little bit more durable than I thought. He’s an up-and-comer, hungry, tough and punches hard. He punches a little bit harder than I thought he would. He has dangerous legs loose and fluid. We had to drag it out to the later rounds and then get the finish.
“A first-round finish would be ideal 10 seconds would be ideal but this is the UFC. Everybody’s got a plan, cardio and strategy to win. Sometimes you’ve got to be a little bit patient.”
Meanwhile Ovince Saint Preux defeated Alonzo Menifield via a second-round KO in the co-main event to earn a $50,00 Performance of the Night bonus, together with Brian Kelleher, Andre Muniz and Michel Pereira.
“This feels really good, absolutely the very best I’ve ever been. I continue to grow with the team. The team is awesome.” said the Haitian-American MMA fighter.
“2020s been a crazy year. I want to put it behind me, but we still have a quarter left. If I can get one more fight in before the year’s over., I’ll be perfectly fine with that.
“I’m going to spend some time with my girls. I’ve missed them tremendously, because for camp I separate myself from them. I really want to spend time with them. They’re growing up to be lovely young ladies. We’ll see what the future brings. I see myself in action again in December or January,” he added.
“For now, it’s family time.”
Alistair Overeem defeated Augusto Sakai via fifth-round TKO
Ovince Saint Preux defeated Alonzo Menifield via second-round KO
Michel Pereira defeated Zelim Imadaev via third-round submission
Andre Muniz defeated Bartosz Fabinski via first-round submission
Brian Kelleher defeated Ray Rodriguez via first-round submission
Viviane Araujo defeated Montana De La Rosa via unanimous decision
Hunter Azure defeated Cole Smith via unanimous decision