UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai odds and preview
Alistair Overeem continues to keep Father Time at bay, but will the emerging Augusto Sakai be the one who reminds him that time waits for no man?
Sun, September 6 2020, 3:00 AM
Sakai is tailor made for Overeem
Overeem once again finds himself opposite another prospect looking to climb the ladder, and Sakai comes with a style tailored to the aging warrior.
While his chin has faulted and his reflexes have dulled, Overeem is a crafty veteran who uses his years of experience and doesn’t waste his energy in the octagon. Even at this stage of his career, it takes a special fighter to take him down.
Sakai’s glossy record of 15-1 doesn’t have a lot of weight on it. He went the distance with the ancient Andrei Arlovski just two fights ago and has the look of a fighter who has gotten by with brute force and soft touches. He is strong and wild, which makes him unpredictable in exchanges. But he is taking a massive step up in class, against a fighter who can still make a case for a title shot.
Overeem needs to stay on the outside
Overeem will need to fight like an old man to stay on the outside and get a read on how aggressive Sakai’s approach is.
With no ground game, Sakai is going to try and bomb Overeem out from the start. His inexperience will smother his own offense, because he will punch his way into a clinch and allow Overeem to reset. Overeem can pick away with leg kicks and bait a counter shot that could potentially end the night early.
At the same time, age does fear the advantages of youth. As good as Overeem is, his mileage and vulnerable chin are liabilities against a big, wild striker like Sakai. Much like Overeem's fight with Jairzinho Rozenstruik, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that Sakai can land a big, desperate shot.
Sakai needs to exploit these potentially fatal defects with activity. He cannot give Overeem any chance to catch his breath once he has him going.
Can Sakai fight with his head and his fists?
This fight is going to come down to Sakai’s intelligence, and he doesn’t fight with much tact. The brute-force approach that has carried him this far is going to play right into the veteran’s hands. Sakai's only hope is that Overeem approaches this as a bar brawl instead of an MMA fight.
After a physical first round that might go Sakai’s way, Overeem will make the adjustments, time the attack, and score a sensational knockout late in the second round.