Alistair Overeem took the advantage in a rivalry that now spans three fights and 11 years with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 213 on Saturday. The 37-year-old defeated Vai Cavalo via majority decision on the main card from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Bleacher Report's MMA account tweeted out the final scores:
Bleacher Report MMA @BR_MMA
Official result: Alistair Overeem def. Fabricio Werdum by majority decision, 28-28, 29-28, 29-28. Low-action affair. #UFC2132017-7-9 04:10:54
Werdum fired the first shots in the fight, coming across the cage with a flying knee that didn't connect and throwing heavy kicks while Overeem waited patiently and picked his spots.
The first frame amounted to an extended feeling-out period where both fighters spent most of the time gauging distance. Kevin Iole of Yahoo scored the first round for Overeem, but there wasn't a lot to judge.
Kevin Iole @KevinI
I guess you have to go with Werdum there, but not a lot to choose from2017-7-9 03:55:09
The second round provided a little more action. Overeem landed a knee that stunned Werdum, but he followed the Brazilian to the mat rather than forcing him to continue to strike.
Overeem's increased offensive effort in the second frame gave him the edge in the round, highlighted by this combination:
Getting loose here in round 2! @AlistairOvereem lands a nice combo on Werdum #UFC213 https://t.co/oujbL3Iv252017-7-9 04:00:17
Werdum gained the momentum in Round 3, though. Vai Cavalo rocked Overeem with a brutal combination that was capped by a knee to the head that floored him. The UFC passed along the highlight:
OHHHHHH @FabricioWerdum ROCKS OVEREEM!! #UFC213 https://t.co/0an4E2pHWq2017-7-9 04:05:14
Minutes later another combination put Overeem against the fence. Rather than keeping the fight standing and going for the knockout, Werdum took down Overeem, where he maintained the dominant position but failed to pick up the finish. That opened the way for The Reem to pick up the majority decision.
After the bout, The Reem stayed on message in his campaign to get another crack at the title:
UFC Europe @UFCEurope
"The work will not stop until I have the heavyweight title. Boom!" - @Alistairovereem at #UFC213 https://t.co/dSU3uDvsgS2017-7-9 04:12:36
The win gives Overeem new life in the quest for another championship fight. In fact, he envisions his rematch coming against Stipe Miocic directly after this bout.
"To me, the only thing that makes sense is fighting Stipe after this fight," Overeem said, per Fernanda Prates and Ken Hathaway of MMAjunkie.
Overeem is familiar with rematches. This was the third fight between Werdum and Overeem. The Brazilian got the better end of the matchup with a submission win over The Reem in Pride in 2006. However, Overeem earned the nod via decision when the two fought again in 2011 under the Strikeforce banner.
Now, it's only fitting that they have settled their series in the UFC, where both fighters came into the fight in the Top Five of the UFC's rankings.
Despite Overeem's loss to the champion via first-round knockout in September 2016, it might not be long before we see Overeem-Miocic 2. That's just the way it goes in a heavyweight division that hasn't seen much change in the Top Five over the last few years.
At 37 years old, Overeem continues to reinvent himself and score wins over the best fighters in his division. After vanquishing another highly ranked opponent, the former Pride and Strikeforce star might just earn himself a shot at putting UFC gold around his waist for the first time in his lengthy career.