Never Count The Reem Out… Can He Force His Way Back Into Title Contention? The Dutch Kickboxing Legend Took Out Alexi Oleinik in Style in Front of a Partisan Russian Crowd…
You could make a strong case that Alistair Overeem is the best UFC heavyweight never to win the title. The former Strikeforce, DREAM, and K-1 champion has never managed to get his hands on the shiniest belt of them all but looks set for a final surge towards title glory.
After getting brutally KOed in two straight fights – against Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes – ‘The Reem’ has got his career back on track with back-to-back wins over Sergei Pavlovich and Aleksi Oleinik. He obviously likes beating up Russians, because he beat the latter up in St. Petersburg in the main event of UFC Fight Night 149.
Check out the clips below as we bring you highlights of the best moments from this fight.
— mma 21+ ⚉ (@mma21plus) April 20, 2019
One and Done
This fight was finished in the first round. Oleinik came out of the gates hard, looking to put pressure on the Dutch fighter and his questionable chin. Overeem was forced back against the fence and he looked in real danger, but he was able to cover up well and the danger passed.
He then went on to demonstrate arguably the best clinch game in the heavyweight division. His kickboxing has long been celebrated, and he remains one of just two fighters to have held kickboxing and MMA titles at the same time.
Overeem had his Russian opponent in the clinch. He drove a couple of very heavy knees into Oleinik’s body and chin, dropping him to the ground. Then he went on to smash him with punches and finally a heavy elbow. That was all Marc Goddard needed to see before waving this one off.
— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
Everybody loves a narrative, but Overeem himself admits that it is too early for him to be thinking about a title shot. Right now, Stipe Miocic, Junior Dos Santos and Francis Ngannou are ahead of him, while who knows what Brock Lesnar is doing. Add in the fact that Jon Jones could literally walk into a heavyweight title fight, and it’s a congested picture.
“I’m aiming for September. Fighting in September and then again later in the year. But after three wins we will start talking about the title,” Overeem said at the post fight press conference from Saint Petersburg, Russia on Saturday. “Not yet, it’s too soon.”
— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
This is the heavyweight division. Four straight wins pretty much guarantee you a title shot. Overeem is halfway there. He’s not picky about who he fights next either but does have another Russian in his sights. While he would prefer not to fight his teammate Curtis Blaydes again, he’s pragmatic about the future. He said:
“There’s not choice in the UFC. I mean you choose who you fight? That’s not how the UFC works. The UFC will match you with whoever is interesting and that’s based on rankings. To me, Alexander Volkov is still ranked somewhere there, we were supposed to fight tonight. I’m still looking for that fight. Let’s do that first and then we’ll figure out who comes after.”
The Reem is on the march.