Alistair Overeem fought at a measured pace tonight at UFC 169, hurting Frank Mir badly in the first round before taking a ‘safety first’ approach as he cruised to a unanimous decision victory.
A kick from Mir starts the action, but it misses and Overeem responds with a punch to the stomach. A quick exchange and they go back to circling each other.
They briefly clinch up against the cage and then seperate. Mir taking the center of the Octagon, but it’s Overeem who catches him with a left hook that knocks him a little off-balance.
Overeem gets in close and lands a big knee. Then a blow rocks Mir and he backs up on unsteady legs. Overeem swarms on him and gets him down, immediately landing big ground and pound looking for the finish against the cage.
Mir’s still conscious though and so the fight continues. Luckily for him Overeem’s not going all out for the finish and that gives him a little time to clear the cobwebs and then still under some duress finds a way back to his feet.
They re-center and Mir seems ok, for now at least. Mir tries a kick, but it misses. Overeem manages to get a takedown with less than 90 seconds of the round to go.
He’s in Mir’s half-guard and is being patient. He postures up, throws a couple of hammerfists down and then puts his weight back down on him again. He’s happy to hang out here landing a few minor punches to the head to finish the first.
On the second round then and Mir presses forward tentatively. Overeem tags him with a nice jab. Mir lands a leg kick.
Left hook lands for Overeem. Mir tries a knee to the mid-section, but Overeem just catches it and bundles him to the ground…not following him to the mat on this occasion though.
Mir gets back up and soon after finds himself clinched up against the cage by Overeem, but nothing happens and the ref breaks them up.
Overeem fires off some heavy artillery. Mir charges forward and manages to get Overeem to the mat against the cage.
Overeem attempts to stand and Mir locks in a guillotine attempt and drops back with it, but Overeem almost immediately pops out and ends up on top.
‘The Reem’ in half-guard now and throwing short shots to the head. Nothing too devastating here despite Mir having some blood on his face, so the ref warns him he needs to work or he’ll stand them up. Mir gets him back to full guard.
A few elbows to the body from Overeem and then Mir manages to use the cage to roll over and that prompts Overeem to stand back up. He hovers over Mir until the ref stands him up to.
Only 10 seconds to go in the round and neither man takes advantage of it.
Mir tries a couple of high kicks that miss the target to start the final round. Overeem biding his time. He suddenly presses forward and somewhat awwkardly Overeem manages to get a takedown.
He doesn’t stay in Mir’s guard for long though, opting to stand back up.
Mir goes in for a takedown, but it doesn’t pay off and Overeem ends up putting him on his back again. He lands a few short punches to the head from half-guard and Mir puts him back in full guard.
A few more meaningful blows rain down from Overeem now, but he’s still being methodical rather than going for broke. Big elbow to the body from Overeem. More short punches, then a tight elbow to the head.
Mir not really finding a way to get a submission going so far, partly due to Overeem’s cautious approach. Overeem lands another elbow to the body and soon after opts to stand back up again.
Nice right hand rocks Mir’s head back. 30 seconds to go now and Mir’s face is smeared with blood. Mir doesn’t look to have a big push for the finish in him and Overeem’s happy to just count down the clock, unleashing a brief flurry in the final 10 seconds before moving back out of range.
No doubt about the winner here, Alastair Overeem takes a clean sweep on the judges scorecards (30-27 x3). He showed flashes of his devastating finishing ability in the first round and perhaps could have earned a stoppage win if he’d really gone for it, but there was a lot at stake in this fight and so he appeared to play it on the safe side.
As for Mir, he never really looked in the fight and aside from surviving the early onslaught there’s few positives to take from his performance. He said pre-fight that he wouldn’t retire whether he won or lost, but with four losses in a row on his record it may well be that his long run in the UFC could have drawn to a close tonight.