Alistair Overeem showed his savvy veteran skills tonight at UFC Fight Night 176 as he switched up his strategy in the late rounds with takedowns and nasty ground and pound to earn a fifth round TKO victory.
Overeem feels out with the jab and right hand to measure the distance. Sakai also tentative with his opening offense here.
Overeem suddenly bursts into a quick flurry of punches, but Sakai copes with it ok. Big right hand from Sakai sails over Overeem’s head.
Again Overeem tries to flurry without success. Body kick for Sakai and then marches forward aggressively as The Reem covers up. Sakai into the clinch here and presses Overeem into the cage.
Overeem tries to reverse the clinch, but Sakai cuffs him with a right hand. Overeem pushes him away, but Sakai does land a knee as they separate.
Oblique kick from The Reem. Overhand right from Overeem who staggers backwards momentarily. Right hand for Sakai comes off Overeem’s guard. An uppercut does land though. Now a glancing right hand.
Overhand attempt from Overeem doesn’t pay off. Inside leg kick for The Reem. Uppercut from Sakai and then tries to follow up behind it with more punches without much success.
Leg kick from Overeem, but strays to the groin and forces a very brief stoppage. Inside leg kick for The Reem. Glancing right hand from Sakai as the round ends.
Inside leg kick for Overeem. Both kick at the same time. Hard flurry of punches from Sakai and then a knee upstairs, but Overeem took it well.
Now it’s Overeem who lands a solid knee. Sakai starting to back up Overeem. Punch and then a head kick attempt from Sakai is blocked.
Overeem rushes into a body punch and then the clinch against the cage. Knee to the body from him and then they separate.
OVereem tries to flurry, but isn’t effective and then it’s Sakai’s turn as he peppers him with punches to the head and body, some of which come off the guard.
Overeem works back into the clinch. Sakai turning and Overeem knees him to the body. Sakai has him into the cage now, but it’s not long before Overeem is back in the dominant position.
They continue to jockey for position against the cage and now it’s Sakai’s turn to have a shot, but Overeem lands another good knee to the body and turns into him. Now a left hand for him. Short elbow inside from Sakai and then another.
Overeem backs up. Kick to the body from Sakai. He lands another. A third connects. Sakai with a left and right hook and moves into the clinch, landing a final knee to the body before the round ends.
Hard outside leg kick for Overeem. Now a front kick to the body. He goes for a low kick inside now. Sakai with a short flurry to the head and a hook to end it. Side kick to the knee from Overeem. Both land a punch at the same time.
Punch for Sakai, kick for Overeem. Another flurry of punches from Sakai and a leg kick behind it. Glancing left hand for Overeem. The Reem coming in again, but Sakai lands a short counter punch.
Sakai marching forward with punches as he backs Overeem up to the other end of the cage. Overeem blocking a lot of that, but it still looks good for Sakai.
Back in the center of the Octagon now after a clinch. Jumping switch kick for Overeem to the body. Sakai with a leg kick. Leg kick for Overeem.
Hard body punch from Sakai. Knees to the leg from Sakai against the cage. Overeem executes a nice trip takedown with 90 seconds of the round remaining.
Overeem inside Sakai’s guard and starting to land a couple of punches. Sakai kicks him off, but Overeem is trying to stay on him. Sakai with an upkick. Overeem looking to pass his legs, but easier said than done right now.
Finally Overeem does get back down into his guard and Sakai hammerfists him. Big hammerfist lands for The Reem. He moves into side control and Sakai is bleeding as the round comes to an end.
Jab for Overeem. Another connects. Sakai with a one-two. He throws again. Overeem still keeping his guard high to fend off these blows.
Leg kick for Overeem. Sakai coming forward with piston-like punches, but perhaps with a little less steam than in the earlier rounds.
Glancing kick for Sakai to the body. He unleashes another flurry without much power. At close range Sakai lands a good knee and an elbow.
Punches off the guard from Sakai and then a kick. Hard elbow for Sakai has opened a cut to the center of Overeem’s forehead.
Spinning back kick to the body from Overeem, but unfortunately it lands to the groin and forces a stoppage.
Back to it they go. Switch kick to the body from Overeem. Head kick attempt from Sakai. Sakai with a hard low kick.
Overeem goes into a takedown attempt and gets it. two minutes to go as The Reem postures over Sakai. He settles into the guard now and land a hard right hand.
Sakai kicks him off momentarily, but The Reem gets back on top in half guard and lands a couple of big blows. Sakai looking hurt as he moves to his knees and turtles up with his face bloodied. The Reem with a few punches. Sakai rolls to his back.
The Reem in half guard again. He lands a punch and a hameerfist. Now nasty elbows to the head. Final 10 seconds of the round and more short, choppy elbows land. Sakai slowly back to his feet after the round ends.
Sakai slowly comes out for the fifth. Overeem immediately into a takedown and lands it again. Overeem starts blasting him with a few nasty elbows, a hammerfist and that’s it, Herb Dean has seen enough and waves off the fight, handing The Reem a hard fought TKO victory at 0.26mins of the final round.