Five Fights: Alistair Overeem

To celebrate the announcement of his UFC 213 rubber match with Fabricio Werdum, here are world-class striker Alistair Overeem’s top five fights in mixed martial arts.

 

By Alistair Overeem:

 

1

Breakthrough

Vs. Vitor Belfort

Pride Total Elimination 2005

It took until ‘The Reem’s 25th pro fight to claim his first big scalp, but it was worth the wait – a former UFC champion in a Pride tournament. “I beat him twice but the first win was very special to me,” said Alistair. “He was basically the first big name I had ever beat in MMA. It was in the opening round of the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. I had given him his only submission loss at the time. That fight and outcome gave me great joy.”

 


2

Heavy Duty

Vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Pride 31 (2006)

“When I beat him I was a light-heavyweight and he was the number-two-ranked heavyweight in the Pride organisation. I beat him with a number of vicious knees. It was special. Going into the fight I was the underdog. He is a very underrated fighter now. At the time he was a hard-hitter. He was finishing all of his fights by knockout. He was a very scary proposition. I came into that fight weighing 20lb less than he did. It was a big achievement for me.”

 


3

Triple Threat

Vs. Spong, Saki and Aerts

K1 World Grand Prix 2010

“Fighting three of the top guys in one night in Tokyo, Japan, and taking the K-1 belt home was very special. In the first round I won a decision over Tyrone Spong. In the semi-final I TKO’d Gokhan Saki in the first round. And in the final I TKO’d Perter Aerts in just 67 seconds. That entire night, more than just one fight, was one of my most memorable experiences in combat sports.”

 


4

Bad Attitude

Vs. Badr Hari

Dynamite 2008!!

“This was another kickboxing match. I knocked him out beautifully. Hari invited me into the K-1 ring after slamming my one-sided beatdown of Mirko Crop Cop. At first, I was waiting for a rematch with Mirko, but I was told by Dream it wasn’t going to happen. Two fights with Hari were offered, the first K-1 and the second MMA. I knew the second fight would never happen as he was a kickboxer only, so I made sure we didn’t need a second fight. I knocked him out with a left hook. That was my entry into K-1 and 18 months later I won the title. Fate and Badr Hari’s bad attitude got me into K-1.”

 


5

Taming the Beast

Vs. Brock Lesnar

UFC 141 (2001)

“Let’s not forget Brock Lesnar. This was my first fight in the UFC and only my second fight in Las Vegas. There were billboards and posters everywhere of me versus Brock. Two big beasts at UFC 141. The fans made that night too. They were so enthusiastic and had so much energy. They just electrified the entire experience. I finished him with a beautiful liver kick followed by some punches before the referee stepped in for a TKO victory. I was going to fight for the title after that performance, but it didn’t happen at the time. So I’ve worked my butt off and I’m really happy to be able to fight for the title next.”

 


(Alistair Overeem was speaking to Tony Reid)