Alistair Overeem Makes History and Demolishes Peter Aerts for K1 Title
Now this may be kickboxing related, but the man who won this years K1 Grand Prix title was and still is a heavyweight champion of mixed martial arts before winning any championships in kick boxing.
"The Demolition Man" Alistair Overeem achieved his goal of being the first mixed martial artist to compete for and win the most prestigious kickboxing title in the world. Not only did he claim his first K1 Grand Prix heavyweight title, he took it in the most decisive way possible.
Alistair's first fight of the night in the tournament ended up being a surprising three round hard fought decision over Dutch-Surinamese kickboxer Tyrone Spong. After that it was all Overeem, beating the Turkish-Dutchman Gokhan Saki via technical knockout to move onto the final.
In the final, Overeem demolished fellow veteran Dutchman Peter Aerts in the first round. Overeem showed no mercy and Aerts' will was broken. Aerts looked in visible pain after the barrage of strikes that came his way with just five seconds remaining in round one of the final.
Aerts, a veteran kickboxer, tried dealing with a flurry from Overeem, but was out on his feet, putting his hands down and eventually falling over before the referee stepped in to give Aerts what would be the final count. Even though Aerts was standing up during the final count, fans could see in his eyes that he wanted no more of it.
When Aerts came to, there was a look of absolute disbelief on his face. Aerts had lost to Overeem before, but the last time he lost was in a three-round decision. In my opinion, it looked as if Aerts was shocked with the force Overeem was generating in his strikes tonight.
Overeem wanted to win the title, but he wanted to win it against kickboxing legend and multiple time K1 champion Semmy Schilt, surprise, surprise, another Dutchman. That being said, Overeem fought the next best opponent since Aerts is the one who defeated Schilt by way of decision in the semifinals earlier last night. It should be noted that the three round war with Schilt had Aerts looking much more physically spent than Alistair Overeem, but that is the name of the game in tournament style combat sport.
In any case, Overeem must be on top of the world right now. What is more interesting to fans of mixed martial arts after Overeem's victory tonight is what all this means for the heavyweight division, not just in Strikeforce, but across the different promotions, as well.
With what Overeem accomplished last night, he has legitimized himself as the best striker to set foot in the heavyweight division and into a class of the best strikers in all of mixed martial arts.
It should be noted that this isn't as if Overeem just transitioned from kickboxing to MMA like American boxer James Toney, Overeem has more professional fights in MMA than in kickboxing with 45 professional MMA fights versus 14 professional fights in kickboxing.
He is a legitimate heavyweight fighter in mixed martial arts and is currently holding the Strikeforce heavyweight title hostage.
Hopefully, this K1 victory means more mixed martial arts for Overeem down the line. There are some criticisms against Overeem in the mixed martial arts community and hopefully his win in K1 will put him on the path to proving his critics wrong.
Many people feel that Overeem doesn't defend his Strikeforce title often enough and the fact of the matter is that he doesn't. Overeem won the Strikeforce heavyweight strap back in November 2007 and has defended it only once in May of 2010 against a man coming off a loss in Brett Rogers.
Overeem claims to have been prepared to defend against Fedor Emelianenko or Fabricio Werdum this fall. Overeem ultimately chose to enter the K1 tournament because Strikeforce was unable to make these fights materialize.
The level of competition Overeem has faced since moving from light heavyweight to heavyweight has also been heavily criticized. Since winning the Strikeforce title, Overeem hasn't faced one top-10 heavyweight with the exception of Brett Rogers, a man who's top-10 status at the time was in question (Rogers is now far removed from the top 10).
Finally, there is the question of performance enhancing drugs, can Overeem pass the urine test? Overeem in the last four years has transitioned from being a long and lean light heavyweight to being an extremely thick heavyweight.
Next to Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, Alistair Overeem is probably the biggest and strongest heavyweight inside of the top 10. People argue that this dramatic transition in body shape for Overeem is unnatural and one can understand their argument.
Overeem has fought the majority of his heavyweight fights in mixed martial arts and in K1 overseas in Japan. Now that is fine, but it is also one of the other reasons that the performance enhancing drugs question swirls around because there is no drug testing in Japan. That being said, Overeem has fought in North America twice and no drug related questions were raised after his fights.
Now, Overeem has realised his dream of capturing the K1 title and the question for MMA fans is whether or not Overeem will be focusing solely on MMA from here on out. It is a legitimate question and Overeem himself claims he was already prepared to focus more on his mixed martial arts career, but that the timing and level of competition hasn't been there for him.
Overeem has a possibility of two solid fights in Strikeforce against one of the world's greatest heavyweights of all time Fedor Emelianenko and the man who beat the greatest Fabricio Werdum. There isn't a lack of competition for Overeem at the present moment.
Strikeforce aside, Dana White and the rest of the UFC brass should be on notice because Overeem is hitting the prime of his career and they better try and sign him earlier rather than later.
The last thing mixed martial arts fans want to see is a Fedor repeat. Fans don't want to see Overeem tear through the heavyweights outside of the UFC and by the time there is an outside chance of signing him, his prime years will already be behind him.
Signing Overeem may be a possibility for the UFC, it really depends on whether or not he wants to continue competing in K1 or whether or not the UFC would be willing to let him compete in K1 if he wanted. Signing a striker of Overeem's caliber (he's no slouch on the ground either) would really help to open up and legitimize the UFC's heavyweight division even more than it already is.
Of course, there have been questions surrounding Overeem's chin with nine of his 15 losses coming by way of knockout or technical knockout. However, since making the move to heavyweight, he has only been knocked out twice and that is in MMA and K1 combined.
Overeem, claimed the weight cut to light heavyweight hurt his endurance in the past, but at heavyweight that is not the case, hence why he maybe performing better.
For now we should let Alistair Overeem ride the wave of excitement he must be feeling right now, but fans will want to see him in the cage soon enough. He mentioned in his documentary that he would be taking a break after the K1 tournament and that he would be back fighting for Strikeforce by April 2011.
Let's hope what he says is the truth and lets hope that by late 2011 or early 2012 that he has fought Fedor Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum and that Dana White can lure him over to fighting for the UFC.