Experience counts for a lot in combat sports. The longer you fight, the more skills and ideas you gain. However, the irony is that you’ve also probably taken a lot of damage throughout your career as well. That’s what makes fights between veterans and up-and-coming challengers so interesting.
Alistair Overeem is the definition of a wily veteran. The former Strikeforce and kickboxing champion is arguably the best heavyweight never to win the UFC title. With a record of 46-18 in MMA, he’s been around the game for a long time. Much longer than his opponent in Jacksonville, Walt Harris.
Of course, the story coming into this one was about Harris’s return after the tragic and appalling death of his daughter. However, after a strong start, Harris learned the hard way just how a cruel a sport MMA is. But Overeem celebrates his 40th birthday in style with a TKO win.
— UFC (@ufc) May 17, 2020
Overeem came into this fight determined to prove that he has something left to give. After a cruel defeat to Jairzinho Rosenstruik in his last outing – he totally dominated before getting smashed in the last couple of seconds – this was arguably make-or-break for the Dutch star. He showed his respects before the fight to Harris but then it was all business.
‘The Reem’ was elusive at the beginning before Harris dropped him. He suffered a barrage of punches but continued to scramble enough for Dan Miragliotta to allow the fight to continue. Another referee may have stopped it because he took a vicious beating. When he finally got back to his feet, his face was a bloody mess.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) May 17, 2020
However, that was only the midpoint of the first round. Overeem wasn’t out of this yet. He took Harris down and proceeded to dominate him for the rest of the round. It was literally a tale of two halves Harris may have taken it because of his more eye-catching damage. But it was very clear that he is a fish out of water on the mats.
That was the story of the second round. Harris looked tired as it began and he took his time as he tried to get his breath back. It was a smart strategy for his first five-rounder. But Overeem exploited this to land a brutal punch that staggered Harris. From there the pair went to the ground again. This time ‘The Big Ticket’ had no response as Overeem took his back and began to unload.
There was nowhere to go and nothing he could do to shake the Dutch legend off. Finally, Miragliotta intervened and stopped the fight in round two.
— ufcespanol (@UFCEspanol) May 17, 2020
The fight could have stopped in round one so this was tough for Harris. However, you have to give credit to Overeem for his toughness. He kept his wits despite the savage punishment. Afterward, he asked Harris to train with him. Will the Dutch star go on one final title run?
Then Harris gave an emotional speech in which he thanked the UFC and his team for being there through the toughest of times. ‘The Big Ticket’ will be back and he’ll learn from this.