Alistair Overeem got back to winning ways in style last night, but not in the cage, instead returning to the kickboxing ring for a long-awaited trilogy showdown with his old rival Badr Hari at Glory: Collision 4.
Overeem took a while to warm up in the fight and appeared to be coming off second best until the third round, when he softened Hari up with a punch, knee and kick to the body, followed by an uppercut, then staggered him with a clubbing right hand and followed up immediately with a left hook to drop him for the first time.
After a slow count Hari managed to rise back to his feet, but he was clearly still dazed and Overeem took full advantage as he continued to apply pressure and floored him again with another clubbing right hand.
Hari managed to get back up again and made it to the end of the round, at which point Overeem was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
The 42-year-old Overeem had been released from his UFC contract last year after a TKO loss against Alexander Volkov, but his desire to compete was not yet extinguished and so he signed up for a return to kickboxing with a three-fight deal with Glory.
That paved the way for a third fight against another star of the sport, the 37-year-old Hari, who he’d KO’d in the first round at Dynamite!! 2008, before suffering a second round TKO loss to him the following year in the semi-finals of the K-1 Grand Prix in 2009.
Overeem’s last kickboxing fight had been back in 2010 when he won the K-1 Grand Prix that year, making him the first fighter to simultaneously hold titles in both MMA (Strikeforce / Dream) and kickboxing at the same time.
Last night’s fight showed that Overeem still remains a dangerous fighter in the kickboxing ring against a legend of the sport, although it should be noted that Hari, a former K-1 heavyweight champion himself, had lost his last six bouts prior to this match-up and announced his retirement in the ring after his loss to ‘The Reem’.
A fight with current Glory heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven would appear to be next for Overeem after he confronted him in the ring after the match, and that figures to be a considerably tougher test for him, with the 33-year-old currently being on a 16-fight winning streak that includes two TKO finishes of Hari.