Alistair Overeem: Daniel Herbertson | Sherdog.com
Alistair Overeem ascended to the top of the kickboxing world on Saturday, defeating three opponents to win the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix.
The Strikeforce heavyweight champion began his night’s work inside Tokyo’s Ariake Coliseum with a quarter-final matchup against Tyrone Spong. After winning the first round on all three judges’ scorecards, Spong’s aggressive start appeared to tire him out, prompting Overeem to take the driver’s seat. The hulking Dutchman assaulted Spong with hooks, knees and kicks to the body for the final six minutes, and took a unanimous decision with scores of 29-27 (twice) and 29-28.
Next in Overeem’s path was Golden Glory teammate Gokhan Saki, who went four hard rounds with Daniel Ghita to reach the semis. After being floored by a spinning hook kick, Overeem quickly regained his senses and stalked his opponent around the ring, landing a thudding kick that was absorbed by Saki’s arm. Following a standing eight-count, Saki indicated to the referee that he could not continue, halting the bout at 2:33 of the opening round. HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon would later confirm on Twitter that Saki had broken both his hand and elbow.
In the championship bout, Overeem met countryman Peter Aerts, who advanced the finals by knocking out “Mighty” Mo Siliga and decisioning defending champ Semmy Schilt. Overeem and Aerts had previously met in 2009’s Final 16, where Overeem upset the three-time K-1 WGP champion via unanimous decision.
Overeem would need far less time to dispatch of “The Dutch Lumberjack” on this occasion. After an early barrage of hooks and uppercuts, Aerts stumbled into a corner, where Overeem piled on the damage with further punches and knees. The referee stepped in for a standing eight-count and Aerts fell to the canvas. Though Aerts appeared to clamber to his feet just in time, the referee halted the contest after just 67 seconds.
The tournament run capped a flawless 2010 for Overeem, who went 5-0 in K-1 in addition to his lone MMA bout, a May Strikeforce title defense against Brett Rogers. Overeem is expected to squeeze in one more fight on New Year’s Eve at “Dynamite 2010,” though it’s unknown whether that fight will be under K-1 or MMA rules.
One other MMA stalwart competed on Saturday’s K-1 card, though with less desirable results. Former Pride Fighting Championships star Sergei Kharitonov met Singh “Heart” Jaideep in a non-tournament heavyweight super-fight. Jaideep bounced around the perimeter of the ring, pecking away with kicks to the legs and body of Kharitonov before twice stumbling the Russian with cracking right hooks. Although he remained vertical with the help of the ring ropes, Kharitonov was on wobbly legs and clearly in danger, forcing the referee to wave off the contest at 2:58, with just two seconds left in the round.
This item was updated at 12:25 a.m. ET on Dec. 12 to correct information on the Overeem-Saki bout.