Posted on: September 5, 2020, 01:12h.
Last updated on: September 4, 2020, 02:36h.
Veteran Alistair Overeem will once again walk into the Octagon as a favorite on Saturday night when he takes on promising prospect Augusto Sakai in the main event of UFC Fight Night 176 in Las Vegas.
PointsBet has posted Overeem as a -170 favorite, with Sakai fetching +135 odds as the underdog.
Overeem Pits Experience Against Sakai’s Youth
Overeem (46-18) has grown familiar with fighting in main events and other big bouts over the years. While he never achieved the kind of results that would make him an all-time great, Overeem has fought many of the best in the UFC’s heavyweight division during the past decade. He has firmly settled into the ranks of second-tier contenders.
Fighting at that level means sometimes serving as a gatekeeper for up-and-coming fighters like Sakai. While Overeem believes he’s still capable of fighting the best, he also knows that he’s nearing the end of his career.
I think I’m the best that I ever was because I’m still learning, I’m still growing,” Overeem said on Thursday’s virtual media day. “But at the same time, I’m 40 years old. I still have a couple more fights. But probably one, two, maybe three years, and then I’m gonna call it quits.”
For Sakai (15-1-1), Saturday’s fight represents an opportunity to establish himself as an elite heavyweight. While he boasts a gaudy record, Sakai hasn’t fought anyone at Overeem’s level just yet. The UFC might use this fight to find out if Sakai is ready for the big time, or if the 29-year-old needs more experience before challenging top competition.
“I’m ready to also become a legend and write my own history inside the heavyweight division,” Sakai told reporters. “After winning against Overeem, the top five is where I’ll be, absolutely.”
Overeem enters the fight with far more experience, while Sakai will be making his first appearance in a five-round fight. That dynamic could give Overeem an advantage, especially since Sakai isn’t known as a knockout artist, meaning there’s an excellent chance that the fight goes to the championship rounds.
Menifield Ready for St. Preux
The co-main event at UFC Fight Night 176 features light heavyweights Alonzo Menifield (9-1) and Ovince St. Preux (24-14). The UFC planned to hold this fight two weeks ago, but St. Preux tested positive for COVID-19, forcing a delay in the bout.
Menifield enters the fight as a -140 favorite over St. Preux (+112). A dynamic prospect with one-shot knockout power, Menifield says he wasn’t bothered by having to wait in order to get his biggest opportunity to date.
That Saturday when I got the news, I was like, ‘Oh man, this is terrible,’” Menifield told reporters. “I quickly got over it because we rescheduled and I was happy – and here we are.”
Also on the UFC Fight Night 176 card, Michel Pereira (-120) takes on Zelim Imadaev (-105) in welterweight action, while Thiago Moises (-165) faces Jalin Turner (+130) in a lightweight bout.