Alistair Overeem (above) could not put away Roy Nelson on Saturday. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
While Alistair Overeem was able to pick up his third win in four outings at UFC 185, he encountered a less-than-appreciative audience at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday night.
The resurgent Dutchman battered Roy Nelson with a variety of kicks, knees and punches en route to a unanimous decision in a featured heavyweight bout, but the announcement of the decision was soundly booed by those in attendance. Perhaps that was because Overeem took a cautious approach against the heavy-handed “Big Country,” often getting on his bicycle to avoid being lured into a brawl.
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“Well, of course it’s never nice to get booed, but I’m getting booed a little bit often lately,” Overeem said. “Sometimes you’ve got to stick with the game plan. I actually wanted to be a little bit more aggressive, but my corner was like, ‘Hey, he’s very dangerous. Stay calm and do your game plan.’
“Otherwise, you might have a Travis Browne situation where you’re kicking the s--t out of somebody, and then he comes back and it’s a loss.”
Overeem was on the verge of victory against Browne at UFC Fight Night “Shogun vs. Sonnen” in August 2013, only to lose via TKO after a brutal onslaught of knees failed to produce a finish. The Jackson-Wink MMA fighter’s strategy proved to be sound against Nelson, although Overeem did receive a scare when the portly Las Vegas resident dropped him with with a left hook late in the final stanza.
While Overeem survived to earn the victory, he absorbed his share of punishment in the fight.
“I’m actually a little bit banged up. He’s a dangerous guy, and this proves it. I’m clipping him left and right, and I’m banged up on my feet from kicking him,” he said. “Every time I hit him, I could see in his eyes he wanted to take my head off. Every time I hit him, he got more angry, kind of like the Hulk or something.”
In an in-cage interview with UFC commentator Joe Rogan, Overeem set his sights on Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum, who will square off at UFC 188 in Mexico City in a heavyweight title unification bout. At the post-fight press conference, “The Reem” backed off his call-out, if only slightly.
“I just [told] Cain and Werdum [that] I’m coming. Obviously they’re going to fight first,” he said. “I’ll have some work to do before that can happen. We’re gonna have some time off and I hope to fight again soon.”