UFC 209 opened with a massive fight between two premiere heavyweights, Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt. The battle between the two contenders was hard-fought, bloody and intense, ultimately ending with Overeem connecting with a hard knee to Hunt’s face in the third round, causing the veteran MMA fighter to fall unconscious. With his win, Overeem is now a step closer to earning yet another shot at the title.
An ESPN report stated that the fighters, who are currently ranked at No. 3 and No. 8, respectively, met on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Overeem and Hunt already met inside the UFC Octagon back in July 2008, with the former winning the match via submission. This time, however, both Overeem and hunt are both in need of a notable win.
The 36-year-old Overeem was looking for redemption inside the ring after losing definitively to heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in the first round during his last title shot. Since his loss, Overeem has been putting the pedal to the metal, culminating in his confrontation against Hunt.
For his part, Hunt is also in need of a win, especially since the fighter currently has an ongoing lawsuit against UFC, the company’s president Dana White and current WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar, who defeated the fighter last July at UFC 200. After the fight, it was revealed that Lesnar had been under the influence of a banned substance, causing the former champion to be fined and suspended.
For his bout against Overeem, Hunt has made it clear that he was apprehensive about the match. While not as contentious as Lesnar, Overeem also courted some controversy in the past after the fighter was tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. In an interview with FOX Sports, Hunt stated that if it were up to him, he would not be sharing the ring with Overeem at all.
“I was forced to be here. I wasn’t supposed to be here and they said if you don’t take this fight it’s against your contract. Like I said, why should my family suffer and miss out on my hard work. They should deserve to have the better things in life because I’ve gotten beaten up to get here. So why should they miss out?
“I haven’t done nothing wrong so why should I be feeling like the outsider here? That other guy is the guy that cheated. All these guys that cheat should be the ones that should be put out on a pedestal like ‘that guy’s a cheat.’ He shouldn’t be here. Why do I feel like that?”
During their fight, however, Hunt showed no hesitation at all, as he immediately put pressure on Overeem with a series of powerful low kicks. At one point, Hunt kicked Overeem so hard that his shin split open when the latter blocked his strike. Nevertheless, Hunt still continued his offense. Over the course of the first round, Hunt appeared to be at an advantage.
The story was completely different in the second round, however, as Overeem took his offense to the next level, keeping Hunt on the defensive with massive knees and strikes and drew even more blood from his opponent. Hunt was still able to get some good strikes in, however, including a massive uppercut that almost stunned Overeem. When the second round came to a close, Overeem was reeling after Hunt fired off an elbow that connected to the side of his opponent’s head.
The two fighters pounced on each other during the third round, with Overeem attempting to clinch early as Hunt continued to fire off massive shots that sent blood flying once more, according to MMA Mania. Eventually, Overeem was able to close in and press Hunt against the cage, where the fighter saw the perfect opportunity to deliver a perfect knee to Hunt’s face. Hunt was immediately knocked out, and the referee promptly stopped the fight.
Despite the seemingly bad blood from Hunt, Overeem stated that he had nothing but respect for his opponent.
“This man is tough, I’ve fought him once before. I’m actually a fan of Mark. He’s showed tremendous skill throughout his career,” Overeem said.
[Featured Image by Steve Marcus/Getty Images]