Despite a promising start early, UFC heavyweight contender, Augusto Sakai succumbed to massive ground-and-pound opposite veteran striker, Alistair ‘The Demolition Man’ Overeem at UFC Fight Night Vegas 9 last weekend – suffering a number of notable rib injuries in the process.
Opening a massive couple of cuts on the Brazilian’s forehead and eyelid, decorated Dutch kickboxing ace, Overeem sliced Sakai in the third, fourth, and fifth-round – on his way to a stoppage win after a significant rally.
Utilising some decent clinch work in the opening two-frames, Sakai took a notable number of Muay Thai knees to the midsection from Overeem – a staple we’ve become accustomed to from the veteran over his storied career.
Speaking with Brazilian outlet, Ag Fight this week – Sakai detailed how he suffered two broken ribs, and dislocated another couple on his way to his first promotional blemish.
“In the second round, I was hit with a knee that dislocated two of my ribs,” Sakai told. “When he (Alistair Overeem) took me down, he hit me with an elbow that broke two more. So I was without four ribs, so to speak. That got in the way a lot. I could not defend takedowns. I could not show my Jiu-Jitsu. I could not defend myself very well. Kudos to him. I’m sure he used his experience in his favour, but I was expecting that. What made things difficult for me, and I’m not trying to come up with an excuse here, was the pain in my ribs. Even then, I tried to endure it as much as I could.” (H/T Bloody Elbow)
For the former Bellator MMA feature, his headlining defeat to Overeem came as his first since he established an eye-catching four-fight winning streak under the UFC’s banner. Scoring the #7 rank in the division, Sakai managed wins over Chase Sherman, former titleholder and common-foe, Andrei Arlovski, Marcin Tybura, and Blagoy Ivanov – despite a couple of contentious fence grabs opposite the Bulgarian.
Picking up the #5 rank at heavyweight with the win, Overeem added Sakai to a prior rallying win this year over the returning Walt Harris at a UFC Fight Night Jacksonville event in May. The 40-year-old had featured opposite knockout ace, Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Fight Night D.C. last December, dropping a buzzer-beating knockout defeat, following a largely dominant performance over five rounds. Speaking after his win over Sakai, Overeem noted his interest in a potential re-run with Rozenstruik, claiming he had already “schooled” the Suriname striker.