As UFC Vegas 9 came to an end on Saturday night, it was the familiar sight of Alistair Overeem with his hands raised in victory that left us all.
A fifth round TKO win after some vicious ground and pound saw ‘The Demolition Man’ pick up the 47th professional win of his career against Augusto Sakai and made it four wins from his last five fights.
Labelled as the gatekeeper for the heavyweight division, Overeem has other ideas. He wants another crack at the title picture, with his only previous opportunity seeing him get knocked out by Stipe Miocic back in 2016.
He could arguably currently be on a five-fight win streak at the moment, with his defeat to Jairzinho Rozenstruik very questionable. He dominated the fight for 24:30 of the 25 minutes, before Rozenstruik threw a big punch that dropped Overeem and split his lip in half. The referee stopped the fight with 4 seconds remaining, even though Rozenstruik walked away after his punch landed and Overeem was completely responsive.
The win in this fight against Sakai, plus Rozenstruik’s most recent knockout win over Junior Dos Santos means the two must surely now face each other in a rematch. With the heavyweight title picture seemingly backed up, Overeem’s chances of a title shot any time soon remain slim.
Elsewhere on the card, Michel Pereira had another eye catching win over Zelim Imadaev. After spinning attacks, showboating and open hand slaps to the face Pereira was able to secure a rear-naked choke in the third round for his first win in three fights. He immediately called out Jorge Masvidal afterwards, something that grabbed fans’ attentions but definitely won’t be happening any time soon.
Masvidal is in talks for a ‘BMF Title’ rematch against Nate Diaz in January and Pereira is barely a ranked fighter at this stage. It’s a fun call-out and something that would definitely draw eyes, but realistically it probably wouldn’t be all that competitive and Masvidal gains absolutely nothing from it.
Pereira would be better looking to take on someone like Robbie Lawler. The former champion has a similar type of name-appeal to Masvidal, but is currently on a four-fight losing streak after being dominated by Colby Covington and most recently Neil Magny in consecutive fights. A win for Pereira would get him into the rankings but would also be a big name on his resumé, something he’s deeply missing to be in any of these conversations.