Alistair Overeem has fought 60 times in MMA, including 13 in the UFC. Never was he handled the way was Saturday by the sport’s newest star, Francis Ngannou.
Ngannou undoubtedly earned a shot at the heavyweight title, currently held by Stipe Miocic, with a brutal one-punch knockout with a counter left hook Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Overeem, who charged out of his corner at the power-punching Ngannou, missed on a big left hook. Ngannou responded with a left hook to the chin that dumped Overeem on his back and put him out. Ngannou, not only massive at 6 feet 4, 262 pounds but also quick and athletic, immediately went after Overeem and landed a hammer fist before referee Dan Miragliotta could pull him off.
Overeem was out before he hit the mat, though he was up and walking around the ring about five minutes after the KO. The time of the stoppage was 1:42 of the first, as Ngannou improved to 6-0 in his UFC career with his sixth finish.
“I feel very good,” Ngannou said. “Very good. … Dana White said the winner of this fight will get a title shot, so I think I got it.”
If he doesn’t — and rest assured he will — it will be the most shocking development in the history of the UFC
A Miocic-Ngannou fight would be huge business for the company and could be an epic fight.
Ngannou, who was homeless as recently as four years ago, initially wanted to be a boxer after being inspired by ex-heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. He showed Tyson-esque power Saturday in blowing Overeem out.
Miocic is at the top of his game and it will be the fight to look forward to in 2018.