The sense of an impending knockout lingered throughout the UFC 209 heavyweight fight between Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt. It was just a matter of who was going to win the battle of attrition in Las Vegas as the two delivered one big blow after another.
Turns out Overeem had a little more left in the gas tank. A brutal knee to the jaw caused the ultra-tough hunt to faceplant, giving the former Strikeforce champion a knockout victory at 1:44 of the third round.
The fight opened with Hunt throwing low kicks. Overeem checked one, which opened a brutal gash on Hunt’s right shin. Both guys showed one another respect as they warily picked their spots. Hunt landed most often with low and body kicks, while Overeem’s jabs often found a home.
In the second, Overeem managed to better dictating the flow, landing with a crisp straight left hand and several big knees in the clinch. But Hunt landed the most telling blows of the round with standing elbows that rocked the ‘Reem.
In the third, Overeem scampered to safety when Hunt had an angle on him, causing the crowd at T-Mobile Arena to jeer. But it turned out Overeem knew what he was doing, as soon thereafter, he initiated the exchange which led to the devastating finish.
It was Overeem’s second career finish of Hunt; he submitted Hunt in Japan in 2008. It was also Overeem’s fifth win in his past six fights, as he shook off a UFC 203 loss to heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.
“This man is tough, I fought him once before,” said Overeem (42-11, 1 NC) after his 38th career finish. “I’m a fan of Mark, he’s shown tremendous skill. We work hard, we always worked hard. We’re not done yet.”
The 42-year-old Hunt, who is in the midst of a lawsuit against the UFC, dropped to 12-11-1 (1 NC) in his career.