Overeem won the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 2010 with a brutal display of striking Saturday in Japan, using a vicious body shot to stop Peter Aerts in the final of his three fights in the eight-man, one-night tournament.
Aerts got to the final with a shocking majority decision upset over defending champion Semmy Schilt, and if the 40-year-old Aerts had won the whole tournament it would have been a great moment for longtime K-1 fans, who have long loved Aerts' fighting style in the ring and gentlemanly ways out of the ring.
But instead it was Overeem, a relative newcomer to kickboxing, who took the crown. Since taking up kickboxing on the side while continuing to fight MMA, Overeem has been nothing short of spectacular. And now he's a champion, having beaten Aerts, Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong all in one night.
The biggest surprise of the night was that Schilt didn't make the final. Aerts (who had knocked out Mighty Mo in the first round) surprised Schilt with an incredibly aggressive attack in the first round, and he had Schilt on the ropes for nine minutes before winning a majority decision. It just wasn't Schilt's night; in his opening fight with Kyotaro he also didn't look particularly impressive, as Kyotaro took him the distance.
Now the question fight fans around the world will want to know is what's next for Overeem. This victory makes him the No. 1 fighter in heavyweight kickboxing, and he'll have lucrative offers to continue in that sport. But MMA fans want to see him return to the Strikeforce cage and defend his title against the likes of Fabricio Werdum or Fedor Emelianenko.
Overeem is expected to return at K-1's Dynamite event on New Year's Eve in Japan, where he's likely to fight for the Dream heavyweight title against an opponent to be named later. After that, he's expected to return to Strikeforce some time in the spring, although winning the K-1 World Grand Prix will give him plenty of offers to fight in kickboxing in 2011 as well.
Whatever he does next, fans who watched the K-1 World Grand Prix Final will be in a lather for it. Overeem put on a show.
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