Alistair Overeem and Nate Diaz scored significant underdog wins on Saturday night in Orlando, taking out Junior dos Santos and Michael Johnson, respectively, at UFC on Fox 17.
Overeem stopped former UFC Heavyweight Champ JDS in the co-main event, landing several damaging strikes in the second round before putting him down with a huge left hook. He got in a couple more hammerfists before dos Santos could get his wits about him, and Dan Miragliotta stepped in to stop it. The victory was his third straight at heavyweight, and perhaps the biggest of his career. It was also the final bout on his current UFC deal, so he’s likely looking at a major pay bump whether he stays with the UFC or is allowed to sign elsewhere.
Diaz picked up a decision win over Johnson in a great fight, but his post-fight rant may be remembered even more fondly. Calling out new UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor once again, Diaz’s expletive-laden ravings were censored out on the Fox broadcast, but got the point across anyway. The decision came as Diaz out-struck Johnson through the final ten minutes of the fight, scoring combination after combination while taking the best Johnson had to offer. It was one of his better career performances, and firmly re-establishes him in that mix in the top end of the lightweight division.
In the opener on Fox, newcomer Karolina Kowalkiewicz put forth a highly impressive performance against Randa Markos, scoring an upset decision of her own to kick off the network TV card.
[Alistair Overeem art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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