For a brief period of time in his UFC Fight Night 149 headlining bout against Alexey Oleynik, Alister Overeem was in danger. A single knee to the face changed everything.
Overeem (45-17) was pressured by “The Boa Constrictor” from the opening bell, when the Moscow native charged at him with a volley of punches to the head and body. Oleynik (57-12-1) appeared to rock the Dutchman with an overhand right to the head, and he never stopped heaving punches from everywhere. But even with Oleynik’s relentless charges, Overeem never worried.
“He was pressuring me,” Overeem said at the post-fight press conference. “He was putting a lot of energy in there. I don’t really stress easy, so, to me, a little pressure is okay. I was not stressing in there. I’ve had a lot of fights. Sometimes a fight can go wrong but [his punches] weren’t dangerous to me. My coaches didn’t like it, but I’m okay.”
Oleynik’s pressure and aggression eventually subsided, but that was only when one of the former K-1 World Grand Prix champion’s knees finally found a home on the Russian’s jaw. Overeem had been hurling knees to his foe’s head and body, but none of the blows were landing clean. But once one did, the fight was essentially over.
“He’s a very tough guy and he makes war with you,” he said. “I do know that my knees are very dangerous and you can’t just absorb them. You just can’t do that. I just kept throwing them and I knew it was a matter of time. A couple clipped him on the jaw and he took those. But the last one landed and he went down. I felt weakness and followed up with ground-and-pound.”
And just like that, the fight was over. Overeem has won his last two bouts and recently embarked on a quest to once again challenge for the UFC heavyweight title. He said that if he wins three in a row, he should be in line for a shot at whoever is champ.
“We are on track,” he said when asked about his goal. “I’m aiming for a fight in September. After three wins, we will talk about the title but not yet; it’s too soon.”
But next on his radar is the man he was supposed fight on Saturday; Alexander Volkov.
“The fight did not happen tonight, but I’m very open to that fight in the future,” he said about Volkov, who was removed from the bout due to health issues. “I’m still looking for that fight. I was looking forward to that fight. I didn’t happen tonight, but hopefully my next fight will be Volkov.”