In the lead-up to his rematch with Alistair Overeem at UFC 209 in Paradise, Nevada, Saturday night, heavyweight fighter Mark Hunt was critical of his opponent’s past transgressions when it comes to drug tests.
Also, Hunt remains embroiled in a lawsuit against the UFC as a result of his fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 200 after Lesnar failed pre and post-fight drug tests. But instead of focusing on past failed tests or comments from an opponent, Overeem handled his business and won via a third-round knockout.
“People know what I’ve done. People know what I didn’t do, and again, I really feel positive,” Overeem said. “I’m an optimist. I think his whole avenue was pretty negative from the get-go. I’m talking about the lawsuit toward the UFC and complaining.
“Clearly stated, I would’ve never taken the same attitude. I’m more of a guy with a phone, make an appointment and I come in to talk about what’s going on and you come to a resolution. I thought his whole demeanor was pretty negative.”
Throughout the fight, Overeem was the more active and accurate fighter, landing 59 of his 76 overall strikes, 55 of which were considered significant, according to FightMetric, while Hunt landed only 29 punches, kicks and knees during the duration of the bout.
After absorbing a brutal elbow in the clinch early in the third round, Overeem disengaged from the dirty boxing in the middle of The Octagon, turned his back to Hunt, ran away and regrouped before again locking up with his opponent. Then, Overeem got Hunt against the cage where the Dutchman, known for his kickboxing prowess, began peppering his opponent with knees to the body.
A final knee to the head from Overeem dropped Hunt and the referee called a stop to the bout at the 3:17 mark of the third round.
“I remember from my first fight with Mark, the guy is durable, but above all, he’s very strong,” Overeem said. “He has that one-punch knockout power, so that’s something that’s constantly in your mind. Before you know it, you’re waking up in the locker room and it’s done. That’s something you’ve got to be careful about, and that means, it’s going to stop your attack, your offensive.”
The No. 3 ranked heavyweight in the UFC, Overeem improved to 41-15-0 with one no contest after the 21st knockout win of his nearly two-decade MMA career, while Hunt fell to 12-11-1 overall and has now lost three of his last six fights, all by knockout.
“I keep it positive,” Overeem said. “I look at my own situation. I look at my own position. I put in a lot of work for this fight, and again, at the same time, I respect Mark Hunt because he’s a champion and I love his fight style. We’re okay outside of The Octagon, but I didn’t want to get drawn into that negativity. But I did give him that look like, ‘I’m going to whoop your (butt),’ at the weigh-ins, and he knows it.”
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