Tag Archives: Alistair Overeem

UFC Vegas 19 Fallout – Lewis calls for ‘personal’ Overeem fight after KO’ing Blaydes

Derrick Lewis has set his eyes on a personal match up after knocking out Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19 this past weekend.

‘The Black Beast’ wasn’t taken down once against the man who holds the record for the most takedowns in heavyweight history, before he turned Blaydes’ lights out with a single uppercut in the second round to make it four wins in a row.

Many people expected Blaydes to get the takedown relatively easily and grind out a win over Lewis, who has notoriously struggled once being taken down in the past. Instead, the first round was a stand up affair with both men landing strikes that wobbled the opponent.

The second round was a different story though, as Blaydes came out looking for a takedown early which was stuffed well by Lewis. Blaydes seemed too confident about getting the takedown because of both their strengths in the past, and that led to a very lazy takedown attempt which saw Lewis capitalise with that violent uppercut knockout.

During his post-fight interview, Lewis acknowledged that there wasn’t much point talking about a title shot considering the state of the top of the division right now. Stipe Miocic will defend the title against Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 next month and Dana White has already confirmed that the winner of the fight will welcome Jon Jones to the heavyweight division, most likely in the summer.

With Alexander Volkov beating Alistair Overeem earlier this month the belief was that he was now out of the hunt for UFC gold in what he described as his ‘final run’ at the belt. But Lewis has seemingly given him a way back in by calling for a fight with the legendary Dutch kickboxer after trash talk over the years.

Speaking to the media, Lewis said after his big win:

“I want Overeem next. Soon as possible. As soon as he passes his concussion protocol, whatever, his suspension, whatever he got.

“I don’t care [about his loss]. He’s had a couple of losses in a row. It’d be cool just to fight him, because he’s a so-called legend. So it’d be cool to fight somebody like that. And also, he’s been talking trash. He’s been saying his teammate, Curtis, could handle this lightweight. We’ve been trying to fight him for years, and he turned down the fight four times already.”

A fight between the two would mean Lewis putting his number two ranking on the line, although he acknowledges the rankings don’t mean much at the moment. He’s already beaten Volkov fairly recently and with a title shot unlikely this year without another win to keep his momentum up, he has to take the risk.

A three round fight against Overeem keeps the division moving but also allows the new blood in the weight class to get big fights too.

Chris Daukaus and Tom Aspinall both secured impressive stoppage wins on the night too, with Daukaus KO’ing Aleksei Oleinik in the first round while Aspinall submitted Andrei Arlovski in the second after a very aggressive first round on the feet too.

The two could likely fight each other next, although I’d rather see them kept apart until later down the line. If they’re matched up well later this year they could be in and around the top seven or so by the end of the year and looking at a title run themselves in 2022.

As for Blaydes, he must go back to the drawing board. His best bet is likely to fight the loser of the UFC Vegas 20 main event between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Cyril Gane, both of whom he has never fought before. He will have to work his way back up to title contention with another run of wins after being so close, but yet so far once again.


UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov – Results (Highlights)


Ode Osbourne def Jerome Rivera via Knockout, Round 1 (0:26)

Both fighters come out and meet in the centre and Rivera throws a high left kick. Osbourne rolls the kick, catching the kick on his shoulder and lands a huge left hand straight down the pipe! Rivera is down, Osbourne lands a couple of strikes on the ground but it’s over inside 30 seconds! Wow!

Timur Valiev def Martin Day via Unanimous Decision (30-25 x2, 30-26)

Good start to the round for Valiev as he comes out and attacks the legs early with a series of kicks. Day counters another leg kick with a short combo in the pocket but Valiev steps out of the way and then goes for a single leg takedown. He takes the back against the cage and has a body lock before dragging Day down to the mat, only for Day to get back up quickly. Valiev finally gets the fight down and stops the scramble attempt to end up in top position. Some nice short elbows from Valiev but Day is defending well as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Valiev.

Valiev opens the second round with some more leg kicks, before a nice one-two and a takedown have the fight on the ground in the centre of the octagon. Valiev passes into side control and Day tries to get back to his feet but it’s prevented well with some solid ground and pound. Valiev completely dominant right now with constant pressure on the ground, staying busy and landing shots to the body and head of Day. Complete domination for the entire second round, could be a 10-8 round. 20-17 Valiev.

Final round and Day starts throwing some kicks and a few strikes, knowing he needs a finish in this round. It doesn’t last long though as Valiev gets another takedown early in the round and controls the positions once again. More ground and pound strikes on the ground as Day tries to get back up, but Valiev is a nuisance and keeps a body lock and just drags him up and down as much as possible. Valiev switches between half-guard, mount and side control for the rest of the round for a dominant decision victory. 30-26 Valiev.

Seungwoo Choi def Youssef Zalal via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Tactical start to this fight from both guys as Choi takes the centre, but Zalal is happy to circle on the outside and jab while avoiding heavier shots. Choi throws a few big head kicks but Zalal slips them relatively easily. Zalal shoots for the takedown and gets in on the hips but Choi steps over the trip attempt and they end up tied up against the cage. Zalal continues to look for the takedown against the cage but they’re at a stalemate and the referee separates them. Another clinch against the cage as the round comes to an end and Choi gets a takedown right on the horn. 10-9 Zalal for me but could go either way.

Second round starts with an exchange of kicks before another clinch against the cage, as Zalal looks for the takedown again. He gets a single leg but Choi defends really well against the cage until the referee separates them again. Body kick and one-two from Choi lands clean as he starts to come forward more. He pushes forward with another combo before the clinch again against the cage, before Choi gets Zalal down to the mat before letting him straight back up. A few more exchanges before the end of the round, this one more clear cut in Choi’s favour. 19-19 or 20-18.

Choi starts the final round strong, as he looks to have Zalal beat in all areas right now. They clinch against the cage again and Zalal finally gets the fight to the ground and goes straight for a guillotine. It looks tight as he rolls through but Choi eventually turns into it and ends up on top in guard. Choi eventually works his way back up to the feet but Zalal goes for a single leg takedown again and gets Choi down against the cage. Every time Zalal gets him down in this round he pops straight back up, refusing to accept bottom position as we enter the final 40 seconds. Round comes to an end with a clinch against the cage and it will likely be a Choi decision win. 29-28 Choi.

Lara Procopio def Molly McCann via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Fast start to this fight as McCann comes out throwing leg kicks and punch combinations early, while Procopio looks to walk her to the cage and go for a takedown. After a battle against the cage, Procopio gets a beautiful trip and ends up in top position halfway through the round. Procopio dominating on the ground and has McCann’s neck tight to control posture, but McCann fights out of that position, although she eventually pushes into full mount. McCann gives up the back and Procopio looks for an armbar before transitioning to the back and looking for a choke but the horn goes. Dominant from Procopio, 10-9.

McCann comes out aggressively again and looks to keep Procopio with her back against the cage, but a clinch and takedown attempt ends with McCann on her back. Procopio looks to transition into different positions but McCann throws up an armbar! Procopio looks to stack her to escape but McCann rolls through and locks it in tight! She has a full extension but Procopio refuses to tap and eventually is able to escape the position! Eventually the women get back to their feet against the cage and then Procopio lands another takedown inside the final minute as both women trade shots before the horn. 19-19.

Final round and Procopio is breathing heavy, but she still engages with the clinch situation against the cage looking for a takedown. She gets the fight down to the ground in scrappy fashion and then quickly transitions looking for a heel hook. McCann rolls through twice and escapes, but Procopio immediately gets back on her and brings McCann back down to the ground a further three times just using her size advantage. 30 seconds to go and Procopio takes the back of McCann and starts throwing punches to see the round out and take a decision win. 29-28 Procopio.


Karol Rosa def Joselyne Edwards via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

An immediate shot and takedown from Rosa gets the fight down to the ground and the Brazilian into a strong position. She sits in half guard comfortably, throwing some nice ground and pound and just completely controlling the fight. Rosa moves into full mount and starts teeing off before Edwards throws her legs up and rolls through to get back to the feet. Both women exchange shots on the feet with Rosa beating up the legs as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Rosa.

Rosa comes out aggressively again with some heavy leg kicks, and Edwards buckles under the power of the kicks too. Rosa steps in and clinches before the separate and Rosa throws more kicks. Edwards charges forwards with a combination of hooks that land clean but she eats them well and comes forward with some shots of her own. Edwards comes forward again with a rush but Rosa gets hold of her and the fight goes back to the ground with Rosa on top. Rosa’s mouth is bleeding heavily but she’s staying on top and landing ground and pound well as the round ends. 20-18 Rosa.

Final round and after one exchange on the feet Rosa goes straight for the takedown and secures it. After some ground and pound and some grappling on the ground Rosa gets back to the feet herself and lets Edwards up, before they clinch up against the cage again. Edwards battling to stay on her feet as Rosa looks to wear on her with her physical advantage. Rosa drags Edwards down to the ground with under 90 seconds remaining and controls the position for the remainder of the round before ending with a big flurry of punches to take a decision win. 30-27 Rosa.

Devonte Smith def Justin Jaynes via Knockout (Doctor Stoppage), Round 2 (3:38)

Cagey start to the fight as both men look to feel each other out before committing to any big shots early on. Smith lands some nice jabs that rock Jaynes a little, but Jaynes is throwing tight left hook counters that are just missing too. Smith’s jab is working well to keep Jayne’s away from him but then Jaynes lands a nice right hand that wobbles Smith. Jaynes is covering up from the jab and then Smith lands a nice left followed by a kick that Jaynes catches. Smith lands some big shots while his leg is still in the air and Jaynes is rocked! Smith throws some knees and a right hand but Jaynes weathers the storm and the round ends. 10-9 Smith.

Jaynes comes out in the second round and goes straight for a takedown and they clinch up against the cage. Jaynes goes to sweep him but Smith explodes and reverses the position to end up on top in side control. He throws some nice knees to the body and some short punches to cause Jaynes some problems. Smith passes into full mount with ease and starts raining down punches before taking the back and looks for the rear naked choke but Jaynes reverses and escapes. Smith explodes back to his feet quickly and tells the referee he wants it back on the feet. Referee pauses the fight with Jaynes’ eye swelled shut and the doctor waves it off. TKO win for Smith!


Danilo Marques def Mike Rodriguez via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2 (4:51)

Immediate takedown from Marques as he shoots in for a single leg and uses lots of movement before eventually tripping him down. Rodriguez fighting hard to get back to his feet against the cage, but Marques keeping his hands locked up and eventually gets him back down once again. Marques working hard to keep Rodriguez down and he’s tying up the legs to do so. Rodriguez gets back to the feet but once again Marques drags him back down. Rodriguez gets back to the feet with 15 seconds to go and throws a few knees and body shots but he looks exhausted. 10-9 Marques.

Second round starts with the two exchanging feints on the feet, with Rodriguez landing a nice low kick. Marques fakes a couple of takedown attempts before landing an overhand right and then finally getting the big takedown. Marques passes into full mount against the cage and he starts raining down big ground and pound punches. Both men look exhausted as Rodriguez gets back to a knee, but Marques keeps landing big punches and then takes the back with both hooks in. He rolls to the back and sinks in a rear naked choke and puts Rodriguez to sleep. Wonderful performance from Marques.

Beneil Dariush def Diego Ferreira via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

A crazy pace to start this fight as Dariush comes out firing with strikes before shooting for a takedown. Ferreira defends it by pulling guard with an omoplata before exploding out back to his feet, but Dariush looks for a takedown again against the cage. When he can’t get it he separates and the two start trading bombs! Both men land huge shots on each other but Dariush keeps coming forward. Big knee to the body and Ferreira goes down! Dariush looks for ground and pound but Ferreira ties him up on the ground and is able to ride it out. Final 30 seconds and they get back to the feet, and Ferreira lands a big right hand clean. Dariush returns with a right of his own before a front kick to the face from Ferreira lands flush. What a round! 10-9 Dariush.

Second round starts as the first ended with both men throwing big strikes once again. Dariush looking a bit more tired than Ferreira, so he shoots for a takedown and then gets a trip against the cage and lands on top. Ferreira gets back up but Dariush puts him straight back down and starts to control on top. Ferreira defending but the pressure of Dariush is causing him a big problem and Dariush ends the round controlling position from the top. 20-18.

An insane pace continues into the third round as Ferreira starts to use his footwork more to avoid a brawl and keep out of the way of the takedown attempts. Dariush lands a couple of punches himself and misses a takedown before a kick lands on the cup of Ferreira and causes a short pause. Halfway through the round and we haven’t hit the ground yet but Dariush lands a beautiful one-two to the chin. Ferreira catches a kick and looks to put Dariush on the ground but a great scramble means they both get back to the feet and start swinging for the fences. Dariush shoots for a takedown with a minute remaining and gets it, and takes the back with a body lock as he sinks the hooks in but Ferreira shakes him off and the two scramble to the horn. Great fight, 30-27 Dariush for me though.

Alexandre Pantoja def Manel Kape via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Fun start to the fight as Pantoja looks to get right in Kape’s face early but ‘Starboy’ showing his amazing speed and slipping all attacks with his hands low. Kape making Pantoja miss a lot but barely throwing any strikes of his own as we move through the round, while Pantoja is trying to make reads and can’t. Kape’s jab is landing nicely when he throws it but just not enough volume. Pantoja lands a nice body kick and then Kape goes for a cartwheel kick that misses and Pantoja ends up on top. A couple of big strikes land while Kape is on the ground but he gets back up and ends the round with a takedown attempt of his own. 10-9 Pantoja.

Pantoja comes forward in the second round and throwing lots of kicks, and while Kape isn’t getting hurt or the sheer activity is giving Pantoja the rounds. Kape lands a nice one-two but Pantoja returns with some body kicks. Right hand lands from Pantoja but Kape returns fire with a nice one-two of his own. Kape trying to up the pace a little but still not throwing enough to trouble his opponent as we enter the final minute. Kape throws a head kick, follows it up with a left hand and then a takedown, but Pantoja rolls through and gets back to the feet quickly. Better round for Kape and it’s hard to score so could go either way. 19-19 for me.

Slower start to the round by both men in this one as Kape continues to feint and bounce, while Pantoja is almost waiting so he can counter. Nice left hook from Kape lands but Pantoja returns fire with a body kick. Leg kick from Pantoja misses and Kape lands a nice left hand in return before Pantoja lands a head kick. Kape not showing much urgency as we enter the final 90 seconds. Kape lands a left hand that troubles Pantoja and he follows it up with a nice combo. Kape shoots for a takedown and gets it but Pantoja rolls out again and the fight comes to an end. 29-28 either way for me.

Clay Guida def Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

A super fun start to this fight as Johnson and Guida meet in the middle of the cage and start trading bombs! Johnson lands a few nice shots before Guida responds with a right hand that lands on the eye and causes Johnson big problems. Guida keeps marching forward and lands more shots with the right hand before he shoots for the takedown and eventually gets him down. Johnson manages to get back to the feet and they clinch against the cage and exchange knees. Guida’s right hook is causing Johnson problems but he’s firing back with nice hooks of his own. Fun round, 10-9 Guida.

Second round continues at a frantic pace as Guida goes straight for a takedown this time against the cage. Johnson battles really well to stay up on his feet before breaking away and landing a nice knee, but Guida is relentless with his pressure and is forcing Johnson to grind. Several attempts are denied by Johnson between now and the end of the round as Johnson looks very tired when the horn goes. 20-18 Guida.

Third round and Guida comes firing out once again with crazy pressure. Johnson circles and looks to land a jab but Guida is throwing hooks and uppercuts, then lands a big knee before shooting for a takedown. They clinch up against the cage before Guida gets him down before taking his back. He locks up a body triangle and rolls him over, then looks to sink in a rear naked choke. Johnson fights the hands and breaks the grip on the hands but can’t break the body triangle and the horn sounds for the end of the fight. Clay Guida should take the win here, 30-27.

Cory Sandhagen def Frankie Edgar via Knockout, Round 1 (0:28)

Edgar comes out into the centre with Sandhagen and throws a leg kick as ‘Sandman’ circles on the outside. Edgar steps in with a looping left and SANDHAGEN WITH A FLYING KNEE!!!! EDGAR IS OUT COLD!!! OH MY GOD!!

Alexander Volkov def Alistair Overeem via Knockout, Round 2 (2:06)

Odd start to the round as Volkov throws a leg kick and Overeem seems to freeze and shell up against the cage, allowing Volkov to land some shots. Volkov continues to step forward with leg kicks and Overeem looks tense, but he explodes with two heavy left hands that land clean. Both men trade shots at the same time but as Volkov lands Overeem loses his balance and falls. Volkov jumps on him to land ground and pound but Overeem gets back to his feet quickly and they break. Volkov walking Overeem down against the cage and unloads a big combo as he covers up before the round comes to an end. 10-9 Volkov.

Volkov starts landing some nice jabs and Overeem is struggling to cope with the length and power. Volkov’s strikes landing through the guard of Overeem and he is busting him up bad. Overeem looks for a takedown but Volkov stops it easily and starts landing more shots. Overeem is badly hurt but he’s trying to fight back. Volkov lands a big left hand and Overeem falls to his knees and the referee waves it off to prevent further damage. What a performance from Volkov!

UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov – Main Card Predictions

The UFC returns to the APEX in Las Vegas for the first time in 2021 after a successful trip to Fight Island kicked the year off.

Alistair Overeem looks to continue his final run en route to UFC gold when he takes on Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division in the main event, with both men knowing they need a win to enter the top five conversations.

In the co-main, Cory Sandhagen takes on the legendary Frankie Edgar in the bantamweight division with both guys believing a win could set them up with a title shot against the winner of UFC 259’s title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

In a 13 fight card, we’ve split it up into three to break down and predict. We’ve already predicted half the prelims here and the second half here, so now we move onto the main card.

Last time out we went 4/10 at UFC 257 with three perfect picks for a bad night, to take us to 216/337 (64.09%) with 96 (44.44%) perfect picks. We look to improve that record with this card.

Diego Ferreira (17-2) vs Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A really fun fight in the lightweight division between two of the dark horses in the 155lbs division. Diego Ferreira has won his last six, defeating Anthony Pettis by submission last time out in January 2020, while Dariush has won his last five in a row including a spinning back fist against Scott Holtzman last time out in August.

These two met seven years ago, with Dariush coming out on tap in a grappling match essentially for a decision win. Since then, Ferreira has become a top pressure fighter with good punching power too. Dariush’s striking has improved too in that time, but not like Ferreira’s. That said, he still maintains the grappling advantage so Ferreira will look to keep the fight standing. It should be a fantastic fight between these two and a contender for fight of the night, and I’m backing another win for Dariush.
PICK – Beneil Dariush via Decision

Cody Stamann (19-3-1) vs Askar Askar (11-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A short notice fight between two bantamweights fighting at featherweight, as Cody Stamann takes on highly rated UFC debutant against Askar Askar.

Stamann went 1-1 in 2020, beating Brian Kelleher in June at UFC 250 before losing on Fight Island against Jimmie Rivera, while Askar won his last fight in the LFA with a decision victory over Kevin Wirth in October. Stamann is a straight up wrestler, who looks to get the fight down to the ground early and control from the top position for decision wins while Askar is a striker who has great leg kicks and good power punches, but is also a fantastic wrestler looking for top control.

It’s really going to be a battle of who can cope better with the pressure and it’s hard to go against Stamann considering the level of competition he has beaten previously in comparison. I think it’ll go the distance and will be well contested, but Stamann will take the win.
PICK – Cody Stamann via Decision

Alexandre Pantoja (22-5) vs Manel Kape (15-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An incredibly fun fight in the flyweight division between two fighters looking to get into the title conversation at 125lbs at some point in 2021. Pantoja was expected to be one of the lead contenders in 2020 but two defeats in his last three have pushed him down the pecking order, including his decision loss to Askar Askarov on Fight Island in July. Manel Kape was the Rizin champion before moving to the UFC and served as the back up for the UFC 256 title fight and is tipped for a huge 2021.

Pantoja is a really good kickboxer but an even better submission grappler, while Kape is a fantastic boxer with incredible footwork. They have a a common opponent, where Kape was beaten and Pantoja strangled him within a round but Kape has improved immensely since then. Kape has a speed and power advantage in this fight and if he can deny Pantoja’s takedowns he should be able to get the win on the feet in a potential fight of the night.
PICK – Manel Kape via Decision

Michael Johnson (20-16) vs Clay Guida (35-17) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Two veterans of the UFC octagon meet in the lightweight division as Michael Johnson looks to return to the win column after losing six of his last eight and each of his last three. He’ll take on the legendary Clay Guida who has lost three of his last four including both of his last two, including against Bobby Greene back in June 2020.

Johnson has struggled in the past against pressure fighters but has had incredible knockout power in his hands throughout his career. That said, his last knockout win came all the way back in 2016 when he stopped Dustin Poirier. Guida is a grinder who loves to use his volume punches to apply pressure and get takedowns with his wrestling. Guida has the wrestling advantage while Johnson’s power is greater, but stylistically it’s not a fun fight for Johnson. He doesn’t like being forced to fight at a pace and without a knockout in nearly five years, I don’t know if he has that one punch power anymore. Guida will overwhelm him with volume and score takedowns to take a decision win.
PICK – Clay Guida via Decision

Cory Sandhagen (13-2) vs Frankie Edgar (23-8-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

This fight could easily be a main event in it’s own right, as two bantamweight contenders face off looking for title contention with a win. Sandhagen bounced back from an embarrassing 88 second defeat to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250 with a spinning heel kick knockout over Marlon Moraes. Edgar bounced back from defeat in the featherweight title fight with a win in his bantamweight debut over Pedro Munhoz in a close fought fight.

Sandhagen is a lengthy striker, with fantastic jabs and a great kicking game while Edgar is a wrestler by trade who can more than hold his own in the striking realm too. He’s finally fighting in his natural weight class too, after being a champion at 155lbs before becoming a contender at 145lbs. It’s a really interesting fight, because Sandhagen has shown a flaw in his game by being taken down in the past but Edgar has been wobbled before by clean strikes and isn’t exactly a spring chicken anymore.

It’s a really fun fight and one that I don’t see ending early, but I think Sandhagen can use his length and strikes to outland Edgar and keep off the mat for a decision win.
PICK – Cory Sandhagen via Decision

Alistair Overeem (47-18) vs Alexander Volkov (32-8) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Main event time and it’s a fight that will shape up the heavyweight division going forward. Alistair Overeem has been open in saying this is his final run in the UFC, and he is currently on a run of four wins in his last five with the defeat pretty controversial. Volkov is in a similar boat, having won three of his last five with one of those defeats being a knockout to Derrick Lewis with 11 seconds left after dominating the entire fight.

Overeem beat Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai most recently, while Volkov was beaten by Curtis Blaydes back in June before beating Walt Harris with a knockout at UFC 254. Both men are excellent kickboxers with power in their hands and feet. Volkov has struggled with takedowns in the past, something Overeem will likely try to exploit but Volkov has shown an ability to get back up to his feet. Both are great strikers and they match up really, really well.

‘Demolition Man’ has got great ground and pound but also legit submission skills and I think the takedown ability and change in style over recent years will lead him to getting a win once again, potentially via stoppage with that ground and pound.
PICK – Alistair Overeem via Decision

Alistair Overeem looking for one final run at heavyweight

My time is running out,” were the words from Alistair Overeem himself in a recent interview, as he prepares to do battle with Alexander Volkov at UFC Vegas 18.

It almost certainly is too, as the 40-year-old prepares for his 67th professional MMA fight. A UFC veteran and a fan favourite, you’ll struggle to find someone who doesn’t want to see Overeem with gold around his waist before he lay the gloves down.

He already knows how it feels to be a champion though, having won heavyweight titles under two previous promotions, however it’s the UFC belt that he so badly craves.

Overeem has been doing this since he was 15 years of age and dedicated his life to the sport of MMA. Reaching the top of the UFC heavyweight division would be the most satisfying reward of his career.

Having lost his only title fight in his UFC career so far against Stipe Miocic in 2016, he is desperate to get one more crack at it. He doesn’t care that only one fighter has won a championship belt beyond 40 years of age in the UFC.

He has four wins in his last five fights, all coming via knockout against ranked heavyweights trying to break through into the high end of the rankings. This has kept Overeem in the top six and shown he won’t just be a gatekeeper for this division yet.

You could say Overeem can count himself unlucky that he’s not on a five fight win streak too. Overeem was up on the cards against Jairzinho Rozenstruik two fights ago, before being on the wrong end of a wicked right hand late in the fifth round and a controversial stoppage. He would have certainly survived the last four seconds of that fight if his lip hadn’t almost fallen from his face.

UFC Fight Night: Overeem v Rozenstruik : News Photo

In his last outing though he defeated the young and tough Brazilian, Augusto Sakai who was on a six fight win streak before running into Overeem. ‘The Demolition Man’ wore down the number nine ranked heavyweight in the championship rounds and forced Herb Dean to stop the fight in the fifth after some brutal ground and pound.

Overeem is arguably in his best form since joining the UFC back in 2011. Talking to MMA Junkie, the Dutchman said; “I think I’m the most dangerous to fight right now. I’m in the most peak performance I’ve ever been.

He’ll need that to be true at UFC Vegas 18 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.

Alexander Volkov is another very experienced fighter and will be a tougher opponent than his recent victims. The seventh ranked heavyweight also has championship ambitions in the UFC, having held the belt under former promotions Bellator and M1.

When he came into the UFC he charged up to number three in the rankings after just four fights, including a notable win over Fabrício Werdum.

So this will be yet another tough night in the octagon for Overeem and although he may be tempted to be smart, patient and use his elite clinch and ground game to wear down the durable Russian for a points victory, an emphatic finish would be some statement.

UFC Fight Night: Werdum v Volkov : News Photo

This is make or break for Overeem though in terms of ever being in potential title contention again. A loss will see him drop at least one ranking place immediately and possibly more if Ciryl Gane defeats Rozenstruik at the end of the month.

If that happens then it will be too difficult and long a road ahead from there for a fighter of his age to come back from. Dana White would also likely look to other fighters to push into his limelight.

A win however sets up a run of rematches on the last stretch to the top. Four of the five men above him in the rankings, including the champion, have beaten him before, so it would truly be something special should he do so.

Overeem has admitted that if he ever does lift the UFC belt he will retire there and then, despite saying he feels he can fight on on for another five years.

A perfect sign off to his career is one I’d love to see and I’ll certainly be rooting for him on Saturday, as I’m sure a lot of others will be.

UFC Vegas 9 Fallout – Overeem Keeps Winning In Final Run

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.

UFC Fight Night: Pereira v Imadaev : News Photo

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.

UFC Vegas 9: Overeem vs Sakai – Main Card Predictions

An interesting card is set to take place this weekend in the APEX once again in Las Vegas, as heavyweight gatekeeper Alistair Overeem takes on up and coming contender Augusto Sakai in the main event.

Last weekend in the light heavyweight division, I secured 8/10 picks including five perfect predictions (winner, round, method) for a pretty good night overall. This time around I’m expecting it to be a bit of a tougher task, with lots of fighters I’m not the most knowledgeable on and a few pick’em fights in there too.

There is due to be 10 fights on the card this weekend, with five prelim fights and five main card fights scheduled. I’ve already made my prelim predictions, which you can read here and will now break down the main card.


Thiago Moises (13-4) vs Jalin Turner (9-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Another classic grappler vs striker match up here as Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt Moises and the rangy and aggressive striker Turner. Moises has shown great kickboxing and solid wrestling to compliment his phenomenal grappling but with Turner holding a 7 inch reach advantage and nine stoppages from nine wins he will need to be at his best to close the distance and avoid the knockout. With that said though the gap on the mat is just vast that if this fight hits the mat with Moises still conscious and able to fight, this could be finished pretty quickly.
PICK – Thiago Moises via Submission, Round 1

Michel Pereira (23-11) vs Zelim Imadaev (8-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Pereira recently came to prominence for his acrobatic performances in the octagon, but has lost his last two fights technically including a disqualification against Diego Sanchez. Zelim Imadaev is a 25 year old prospect who also loves to fight in a bit of a wild way, using aggression and relentlessness to overwhelm his opponents. Pereira showed an improvement against Sanchez, seemingly understanding that by doing all the unnecessary flips he burns extra cardio if he doesn’t finish the fight. He’ll still almost certainly throw crazy strikes and he is the much bigger man naturally, so carries more power in his hands and kicks. For that reason and that reason alone, I’m going with Pereira to finish it with strikes but this fight could go in absolutely any direction.
PICK – Michel Pereira via Knockout, Round 2

Sijara Eubanks (6-4) vs Karol Rosa (13-3) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very interesting women’s bantamweight bout where two very skilled fighters will compete. Eubanks is a great boxer with a black-belt in jiu jitsu and solid wrestling, while Rosa is a high-level Muay-Thai kickboxer who relies on a crazy output to overwhelm her opponents and win by decision. Eubanks’ best performances came in the 125lbs flyweight division and yet she went 3-2 in that division. Rosa is more natural at this weight and with a reach advantage, good kicks plus an output that sees her average almost 10 strikes per minute she should be able to win this fight based off that alone.
PICK – Karol Rosa via Unanimous Decision

Ovince Saint Preux (24-14) vs Alonzo Menifield (9-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
*This fight was supposed to happen on the Munhoz-Edgar card two weeks ago but was cancelled on the night. So I’ve copy & pasted over the breakdown and prediction from then.*

A short notice fight for Menifield after stepping in on one week’s notice for Shamil Gamzatov, he is looking to bounce back from his first professional defeat against Devin Clark back at UFC 250. Ovince Saint Preux was once an opponent for Jon Jones in a title eliminator, but he has now lost four of his last six bouts. Menifield’s last appearance saw him get completely outclassed and when he couldn’t land that big punch, he was beaten. OSP will have a four inch reach advantage, a wrestling advantage and is experienced enough to avoid that big punch. If he can get the fight to the ground, it’s impossible to rule out OSP landing ground and pound before ending the fight with his signature Von-Preux choke.
PICK – Ovince Saint Preux via Submission, Round 2

Alistair Overeem (46-18-0 1NC) vs Augusto Sakai (15-1-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A burly veteran in Overeem against another up and comer in Sakai as the UFC once again give ‘The Demolition Man’ the honour of being the gatekeeper for the top of the division. Overeem is fresh off a win over Walt Harris in May while Sakai beat Blagoy Ivanov just two weeks later via split decision. Overeem is one of the best kickboxers MMA has seen but at 40 years old he’s not a spring chicken. Sakai is a typical big-man, who comes forward with his hands up and throws bombs. He’s on a six fight win streak and is undefeated in the UFC. This is a bout made for Overeem to shut down the hype train. He’s the much more skilled fighter but his chin has been a little bit suspect in his last few fights. He dominated against Jairzinho Rozenstruik for four full rounds and 4:50 of round 5 before a big punch put his lights out and he was knocked down by Walt Harris but survived as his opponent gassed himself out. Sakai has a lot of power in his hands overall he’s not the best mixed martial artist for me and Overeem should be able use his skills to get a late stoppage with it being Sakai’s first time past three rounds.
PICK – Alistair Overeem via Knockout, Round 4

Top 10 Fighters To Never Win A UFC Title

So.. BT Sport caused a bit of a fuss, didn’t they?

Following on from the midweek Fight Island card, BT Sport compiled a list from each of their analysts of the best fighters to never win a UFC title. They discounted interim titles, which opened the door for several fighters but their picks caused backlash online.

British MMA legend Dan Hardy, who once fought Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title included names such as Kenny Florian and Jon Fitch, while Adam Catterall had Dan Henderson as No.1 on his list.

After seeing these lists and seeing obvious names left out, I felt obliged to compile my own list.

10. Alexander Gustafsson

UFC 232 Weigh-ins : News Photo

The big Swede in his prime was one of the best light-heavyweights we’ve ever seen in the UFC. His elite level boxing saw him KO plenty of opponents, while he was also the first man to ever successfully complete a takedown against Jon Jones. Gustafsson got three shots at the title during his tenure but unfortunately for him came up against two of the best mixed martial artists of all time. He controversially lost to Jon Jones in his first title fight, with many describing that bout as the best UFC title fight ever. He then took on Daniel Cormier following Jones’ stripping of the belt and was outwrestled by an Olympian to a decision loss. He got a final chance against Jones again when Cormier relinquished the 205lbs belt after winning the heavyweight title, but was outclassed and beaten in a TKO loss. In any other generation without Jones and DC around, I’m confident Gustafsson would have reigned supreme for a long time at 205.

9. Alistair Overeem

UFC Fight Night: Weigh-ins : News Photo

A kickboxing legend, Overeem holds the record for most professional fights on his record before receiving a UFC title shot. His only opportunity came against Stipe Miocic in 2016 in his 57th fight, and he was viciously KO’d in the first round. That doesn’t take away from a stunning resumé that has seen the Dutchman take out legends like Brock Lesnar, Fabricio Werdum, Junior Dos Santos, Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Vitor Belfort and Frank Mir. He’s unlikely to ever get to the point of title recognition again now at the age of 40 but his career will go down as one of the best in MMA heavyweight history.

8. Joseph Benavidez

The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Benavidez v Cejudo : News Photo

The flyweight legend has been around in the UFC since before the division’s inception back in 2012. He competed for the inaugral title, being beaten by Demetrious Johnson before building his way back up for a rematch just over a year later. He was beaten again by ‘Mighty Mouse’, this time by knockout. He went on a run of 9 wins in his next 10 fights before receiving a third title shot earlier this year, for the strap vacated by Henry Cejudo. A headbutt saw him get cut wide open against Deiveson Figuereido and then quickly knocked-out, meaning he is 0-3 in title fights for the Flyweight belt. He was the last man to defeat Henry Cejudo prior to ‘Triple C’ retiring and will get another chance this weekend on Fight Island to finally claim UFC gold. For now though, he ranks on this list.

7. Jorge Masvidal

UFC 244: Masvidal v Diaz : News Photo

A to Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 means ‘Gamebred’ still has a place on this list. Street Jesus has gained mainstream notoriety in the last year and a half following a crazy run of viral moments, but he has been around for 17 years now. His record in the UFC is very good and he has beaten plenty of world class fighters during his time in the company. He’s obviously most known for his flying knee finish of undefeated Ben Askren, while he has KO’d Donal Cerrone, Darren Till and Nate Diaz too. But his all-round skillset is definitely underrated. He showed his wrestling skill in the defeat to Usman where he stuffed several takedowns, while he also has a submission win over Michael Chiesa. Masvidal is among the best to never win a belt but is on a mission to change that in the near future. If he never succeeds though, he will without doubt be one of the best to never hold a UFC championship.

6. Urijah Faber

UFC 199 Weigh-in : News Photo

The Bantamweight king, who never held Bantamweight gold in the UFC. ‘The California Kid’ came to the UFC having been dominant in the WEC 135lbs division, where he held the title and dominated the division. When he switched allegiances after Zuffa purchased the company, he challenged Dominick Cruz for the Bantamweight title as the last man to beat Cruz. He was defeated via decision and when Cruz had to relinquish the title due to persistent injuries, it was Faber who stepped up. In the bout for the vacant title, he was once again beaten though – this time by Renan Barao. Cruz eventually returned and reclaimed his title, which set up a trilogy fight between himself and Faber and the founder of Team Alpha Male once again fell at the final hurdle. Despite never winning the gold, Faber is recognised as one of the best Bantamweight’s of all time and thus deserves his place on this list.

5. Chad Mendes

UFC 189 Weigh-in : News Photo

Maybe a left-field shout, but Mendes for me is in a similar position to Alexander Gustafsson. In his generation had it not been for the best of all time reigning supreme, Mendes would have almost certainly had at least one reign with the championship. His first fight with Jose Aldo came after an 11-0 start to his career but he was knocked out by a brutal knee to the face at the end of the first round. He worked hard and went on another 5 fight win streak to earn a rematch where he took Aldo the full distance in the Fight of the Year in 2014. In that bout, he was outclassed once again but it was at a time where Aldo was literally seen as unbeatable. He’s also remembered for his short-notice fight with Conor McGregor in which he was knocked-out in the second round. What many forget though is that Mendes dominated the first and second round before that KO and with a full fight-camp, it’s very possible we would have seen a different outcome in that fight and the whole Conor McGregor era would have ended before it ever began. Mendes tainted his legacy by failing a drugs test towards the end of his career but he should be remembered for being the best Featherweight to never hold the belt.

4. Nick Diaz

UFC 183: Silva v Diaz : News Photo

The Stockton gangster is far more remembered for his antics outside of the cage than inside of it, but that doesn’t depreciate his skill and ability. The older brother to Nate, Diaz won the Strikeforce and EliteXC welterweight titles before the UFC bought them out. He entered the UFC and beat BJ Penn, before losing to Carlos Condit for the interim welterweight title. He then lost to champion Georges St-Pierre in a title bout before his infamous no contest against Anderson Silva. That was his last fight in the company after USADA banned him for five years for marijuana use and it will always be a question of ‘what if’ for Nick Diaz. His record shows however that he is among the best to do it at welterweight and he can count himself mightily unlucky that he never got to be champion in the UFC at 170lbs.

3. Dustin Poirier

UFC 242: Weigh-ins : News Photo

Two divisions, one title shot and yet he’s never held the gold in the UFC. He started off in the featherweight division and amassed an impressive record of 8-3 at 145lbs before deciding to move up to lightweight. Since his step up in weight and competition, Poirier has lost just twice in 13 fights with impressive knockout wins over the likes of Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje. He held the interim title belt after beating Max Holloway, but was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his only UFC title shot to date last September. He is the best pure boxer in the 155lbs division and has knockout power for days but his ground game is also underrated. 7 submission wins in his career prove that his ground game is up there with the best too and and in any other generation of fighters he’d likely be at the top of the mountain. He just happened to be around in the most stacked division of all time with some of the best fighters of all time. He has time to get there but it’s a tough ask so for now, he has to make do with a place on this list.

2. Yoel Romero

UFC 213 & TUF Finale Open Workouts : News Photo

The Soldier of God. Yoel Romero. How has he never won a UFC title? The Cuban wrestling machine amassed a record of 8-0 when he entered the UFC including wins of Lyoto Machida, Jacare Souza and Chris Weidman. It led him to a UFC title shot against Robert Whittaker, where he lost via a unanimous decision in a close fought fight. He then fought Luke Rockhold for the interim belt, only to miss weight and be ineligible. That didn’t stop him knocking Rockhold out cold and earning a rematch with Whittaker later that year. He then missed weight for that bout too, meaning he was ineligible to win the belt even if he beat the New Zealander and he very nearly did. In another clash that went the full 25 minutes, many believe Romero won the fight where he knocked Whittaker down twice and caused plenty of problems. He had a third title shot against Israel Adesanya earlier this year but really fumbled his chance at the title when he basically refused to strike first, allowing Adesanya to throw leg kicks and get a decision win in one of the most underwhelming fights of both their careers. Romero is now 43 and after fluffing his chance against Adesanya will likely never get another chance to win the belt. A real shame for one of the best to do it at 185lbs.

1. Tony Ferguson

UFC 229: Ferguson v Pettis : News Photo

Not only the best to never win the belt, but he’s never even had a shot at the undisputed belt in his career. ‘El Cucuy’ is one of the most feared fighters ever, dominating the 155lbs division ever since he joined the UFC back in 2011 by winning The Ultimate Fighter. After losing to Michael Johnson in 2012, Ferguson went on a 12-fight win streak, defeating the likes of Donal Cerrone, Edson Barboza, Gleison Tibau, Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis and Rafael Dos Anjos. He won the interim title when he beat Lee, but never got his earned shot at the undisputed belt as he got injured during fight week. The rise of Conor McGregor didn’t help him, as the Irishman ventured outside of the UFC while being the champion. He continued to win though and was ready for his shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and cancelled that arranged bout for a fifth time. He took on Justin Gaethje on short notice and lost by knockout, meaning he lost his title shot and undefeated streak in a bout he didn’t need to take. He now needs to rebuild to get back into title contention. Much like Dustin Poirier, he has time to do it but with the division as stacked as it is don’t bet against the two of them needing to fight each other on the way to a shot at the top of the mountain. A fearsome striker and dangerous grappler, Ferguson is one of the most complete fighters of all-time and it will be a tragedy if he never gets the opportunity to become undisputed lightweight champion.

Do you agree with my list? Let me know if you think I’ve missed anyone out too.