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Overeem on One Last Title Run

This weekend the octagon will hold two heavyweights on a quest for heavyweight gold, but for different reasons. Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem is looking for one last title run in his legendary career as he looks to stop rising star Augusto Sakai in the main event.

Overeem, currently ranked No. 6 in the heavyweight division, has had a legendary career – one many fighters could only dream of having. He is a former Strikeforce Heavyweight champion, DREAM Heavyweight champion, K-1 World Grand Prix champion and one of the two fighters to hold world titles in MMA and K-1 kickboxing at the same time. In regular terms, Overeem is a big deal.

Overeem used to fight in PRIDE at light heavyweight, where they fight at 205 pounds. Through the years, Overeem made the decision to move up to heavyweight and that’s where he’s had the most success. Overeem debuted in the UFC in 2011 and fought former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. He TKO’ed Lesnar in the first round.

This was supposed to start a title run for Overeem, but unfortunately, it took longer than expected. Overeem would have mixed success in the UFC before finally receiving a title shot in 2016 against Stipe Miocic. Overeem had his moments, but ultimately was knocked out in the first round.

Now at age 40, Overeem has made it clear he doesn’t have a lot of time left in the sport, so he’s hopeful to make one last title run. Overeem has won 46 fights while losing 18. Fourteen of those 18 losses have been by KO/TKO. Overeems ability to take a punch has been questioned throughout the years, but Overeem’s patience and own power has helped him in recent years.

Overeem needs to fight cautiously and not engage in a brawl with Sakai. Overeem needs to pick his shots on the outside and wear Sakai down as the fight goes on to be successful for that last title run.

Sakai, currently ranked No. 9, has been on a tear lately and will be looking to make a title run of his own. Sakai burst onto the scene for the UFC in September 2018 and won his fight by TKO in the third round. Sakai is currently 4-0 in the UFC and is on a six-fight win streak with four wins by KO/TKO.

Sakai’s UFC run has been a bit underwhelming at times, seeing a controversial split decision win over former champion Andrei Arlovski, and his most recent win coming by a split decision that is less controversial this time. Sakai is still working to be a complete fighter, but he has power to put the division on notice.

This is by far Sakai’s biggest fight of his career so far.

Sakai will need to stay calm in this fight and not fold under pressure. As I mentioned before, Overeem’s ability to take a punch has gone down through the years, and if Sakai can stay calm long enough and pick his shots just right, he’ll be one step closer to that title shot.

Will Overeem be able to get closer to capture the one title that has eluded him so far or will Sakai take another step towards potentially being UFC Heavyweight champion? There’s a lot on the line this Saturday for both men’s legacy, and I’m picking Overeem by decision to continue his one last title run. Catch all of the fights this Saturday on ESPN+!

Tidwell’s pick record: 3-2 (correctly picked Rakic to win by decision last week)

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