A lot was on the line when decorated Dutch veteran Alistair Overeem faced off with former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in the main event of today’s (Sun., May 8, 2016) UFC Fight Night 87 from the Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
As the only man who could conceivably headline the UFC’s Dutch debut, Overeem was looking for a title shot on the strength of a four-fight win streak after he knocked out former champion Junior dos Santos last December.
Arlovski, meanwhile was looking to rebound from a fast knockout loss to title challenger Stipe Miocic at UFC 195, a result that snapped an impressive six-fight win streak for the longtime veteran. The winner at UFC Rotterdam would swim in the notoriously volatile UFC heavyweight waters, while the loser would sink for now.
And of course, everyone was expecting fireworks from the two thunderous knockout sluggers.
The pivotal heavyweight fight started off with the crowd not surprisingly chanting Overeem’s name. He started out calm and calculating, but Arlovski poured it on with some big shots including uppcercuts, a hook to the body, and a knee. The former champ stayed pressuring on Overeem, who landed a quick knee to the body. A clinch saw two big knees to the body and head from Overeem.
“The Reem” finally rushed in, landing a hard shot and a knee. Overeem followed with a hard body kick, and Arlovski slowed as he swung at air. Overeem got another knee and scored a nice trip, following Arlovski to the ground. The home favorite went to work from inside Arlovski’s guard, landing hard right hands only to eat an upkick as the opening round came to a close.
Arlovski came out with a big lunging overhand that only partially landed in the second. He continued pressing the action , but Overeem countered with some stiff punches and two hard kicks. Arlovski fought back, but Overeem landed an absolutely emphatic front kick to the jaw and a follow-up shot that dropped him.
He followed to the ground with a barrage of ground shots to earn the stoppage and quite possibly a title shot, although his toe was dislocated on the front kick. The cageside doctor popped his toe right back into place, but he could be out for some time.
After the win, Overeem had some outspoken words, calling out the champion in his native Dutch:
“I said, we’re gonna get that belt in November. November 12, Madison Square Garden. Werdum-Stipe; may the best man win, but I’m going to take on that winner; I’m gonna beat that winner. And then next year, 2017, we’ll be defending the belt here in Amsterdam Arena.”
Quite the bold statement, but at this point, it’s tough to deny “The Reem” on the heels of four straight wins capped off by this spectacular performance.
Final Result: Alistair Overeem def. Andrei Arlovski via R2 TKO (front kick and punches, 1:12)