LAS VEGAS -- Alistair Overeem bounced back from a loss in his last fight in a big way with a highlight reel finish over Mark Hunt to kick off UFC 209 on Saturday night.
The heavyweights were actually facing off in a rematch after Overeem submitted Hunt back in 2008 but now they met again in the UFC with both fighters in need of a win.
For Overeem, it was a pivotal moment after he suffered a heartbreaking loss to heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in his last fight but he's certainly doing his best to climb back into the title picture given his performance against Hunt.
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As the fight got underway, the first exchange of the resulted in a nasty cut being opened on Hunt's shin after he unloaded a big leg kick that Overeem blocked. When Hunt pulled his leg away, a cut was opened up and blood was gushing down his shin.
The gash on his shin didn't slow Hunt down as he continued to plod around the Octagon as he stalked Overeem like his prey while unloading a hard body kick with that injured leg that left a spray of blood on his opponent's midsection.
Hunt stayed on the attack throughout the opening round as Overeem fired back with a series of kicks to the legs and body while trying to stay away from the New Zealand native's devastating power.
Overeem was much more aggressive in the second round while attacking Hunt before grabbing onto the clinch and trying to muscle him around the cage.
When the fighters finally separated, Hunt landed a glancing elbow that appeared to stun Overeem for a moment before he backed away against the cage. Hunt tried to capitalize but Overeem played great defense until he recovered before reversing positions in the clinch.
Overeem did a good job of using knees to the midsection to punish Hunt while trying to zap his gas tank before the fighters moved into the third and final round.
All fight long, Overeem had been closing the distance on Hunt and pressuring him against the cage while using his size advantage to land knees and the strategy paid off in a huge way.
With Hunt doing his best to defend shots to the body, Overeem launched an elbow strike to the head this time before connecting on a devastating knee strike that saw the veteran heavyweight contender slowly crumble to the mat.
As Hunt crashed to the ground, the referee swooped in to stop the fight before he took any undue damage.
"We're not done yet," Overeem said in reference to his title hopes as he gets a huge win over Hunt on Saturday night.
Overeem now moves to 5-1 over his last six fights as he remains planted in the top five of the heavyweight division with another impressive performance against Hunt.