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Five Things We Learned from UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai – Overeem’s Title Dreams Still Alive and More
Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Sakai was an interesting one, to say the least.
Before a single punch had graced the Octagon, the promotion had to deal with seeing a number of fights pulled from the card. But they got the show going, and despite having just seven fights make through, it was a success.
Here’s what we learned from those fights on Saturday night.
Menifield Needs More Work
There is clearly no shame in losing the way he did to Ovince Saint Preux, but the simple fact of the matter is that Menifield should NOT have lost the way he did to Ovince Saint Preux.
Despite running through nine straight opponents, Menifield was dominated by Devin Clark in his first professional defeat in June. That loss clearly took something from the Angeleno, as his confidence was demonstrably shot against OSP.
He came into this fight looking as though he had made the right adjustments. At the very least, he looked measured and conscious of not blowing his wad too early. But you can’t strut into range against a wily old veteran like Saint Preux and expect to live to tell the tale.
Menifield needs work, so it’s back to the drawing board he goes.
Muniz vs. Kasanganay Should Happen
Andre Muniz made it six from six in his second win from his first two UFC fights on Saturday.
Muniz submitted Bartosz Fabinski with a sweet armbar in the first round to the delight of his fans watching from home. Those same fans will be looking forward to finding out who is next for the “Contender Series” graduate.
Well, why not fellow “Contender Series” product Impa Kasanganay? I think these two would make an excellent fight. It would also raise the profile of the series, so let’s make it happen.
It will eventually, so why not just get it signed off?
Michel Pereira Needs a Big Name
No, I’m not saying throw Pereira in with the likes of Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, or Jorge Masvidal.
But why not someone like Robbie Lawler, Anthony Pettis, or Nate Diaz? Three guys who are all legends but won’t find themselves fighting for a title any time soon. And by title, I mean a real one…
Pereira is exciting. He proved this again on Saturday by putting another wildly exciting, crazy-ass masterclass over Zelim Imadaev. The Brazilian battered the unfortunate Russian before submitting him in the third round.
Can you imagine a full-on slapping contest between Pereira and Diaz? Man, I’d pay double to watch that fight!
But Masvidal next? Not so fast, Michel…
Watch Out for Ovince Saint Preux
Say what you will about OSP, but he bagged himself a big win over Menifield on Saturday.
It was his first victory at light heavyweight in more than 12 months, and it came against a very dangerous dude. Regardless of how easy OSP made that knockout look, it far from elementary.
I spoke before that fight about how Saint Preux might be recharged by Jon Jones’ decision to vacate in favor of a move to heavyweight. And by the look of his performance on Saturday, I think he will be eyeing one last run at the title.
Without Jones, the whole division looks different. Saint Preux will back himself to work for one final shot at gold, and I don’t think we can write his chances off until we see them written off for him.
Don’t Count Overeem Out… Yet
It felt as though I was the only guy from my group of friends that was backing Overeem to win this fight.
But I kept my faith in the “Demolition Man” to get the job done over Augusto Sakai. And I was happy to see the legend of mixed martial arts keep his own title dreams alive with a ground and pound stoppage in the fourth.
Overeem will need one more fight to get close to the man at the top of the division. Incumbent champ Stipe Miocic will rematch Francis Ngannou for the title at the end of the year, while Jon Jones will take on the winner.
This leaves Overeem looking at the winner of Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis for a potential title eliminator, and he will be up for both. Blaydes has already knocked Overeem out, but will happily take him on should he get past Lewis.
Whatever way you look at things, Overeem is — barring injuries and unforeseen circumstances — no more than two fights away from a title shot. You can quote me on that.