UFC on ESPN+ 34: Overeem vs. Sakai Live Coverage

On Saturday night, the UFC put on a seven-fight “Fight Night” card from their headquarters, the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The card includes seven fights with a main event between heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Augusto Sakai.

Follow along throughout the evening for live updates.

Quick Results:

Bout 1: Hunter Azure def. Cole Smith via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 2: Viviane Araujo def. Montana De La Rosa via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 3: Brian Kelleher def. Ray Rodriguez via Submission, Guillotine Choke (RD 1, 0:39)

Bout 4: Andre Muniz def. Bartosz Fabinski via Submission, Armbar (RD 1, 2:42)

Bout 5: Michel Pereira def. Zelim Imadaev via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 3, 4:39)

Bout 6: Ovince St. Preux def. Alonzo Menifield via KO, Left Hook (RD 2, 4:07)

Bout 7: Alistair Overeem def. Augusto Sakai via TKO, Strikes (RD 5, 0:26)

Live Coverage:

Bout 7: Alistair Overeem (46-18) vs. Augusto Sakai (15-1-1) (Heavyweight)

Overeem Stops Sakai Late

Having success on the ground, Alistair Overeem was able to finish Augusto Sakai in the fifth round via ground and pound. The fight saw Overeem turn the fight around after being able to secure takedowns over Sakai that allowed the chance for strikes on the ground.

Sakai opened the fight with success, being able to come forward with combinations of punches and knees that made Overeem cover up.

The third and fourth rounds were better for Overeem, who was able to do ground and pounds and pound damage after getting takedowns. Similarly, Overeem landed a takedown seconds into the fifth round that lead to a stoppage.

Overeem’s previous fight was also a main event win, defeating Walt Harris last May.

The loss snapped Sakai’s four-fight streak of wins in the UFC that dated back to his promotional debut. The fight was the first time in Sakai’s career that he fought past the third round.

Overeem versus Sakai play-by-play.

Bout 6: Ovince St. Preux (24-14) vs. Alonzo Menifield (9-1) (Light Heavyweight)

St. Preux Successful In Return To Light Heavyweight

A sudden left hook from Ovince St. Preux put a halt to a fight in the second round, knocking out Alonzo Menifield. The stoppage came late in the round, with St. Preux connecting the punch on his backfoot to earn a walk-off victory.

St. Preux was ahead in the fight before, succeeding by using his reach and height advantage over Menifield.

“I do good going backwards,” said St. Preux in his post-fight interview, referring to the finish of the fight.

After the fight, St. Preux crossed his arms, doing the “Wakanda Forever” sign which is known from movie “Black Panther” featuring late actor Chadwick Boseman.

The fight was St. Preux’s return to the light heavyweight division, as his last fight was a decision loss at heavyweight to Ben Rothwell.

The fight was the second-straight for Menifield, who also lost in his previous bout last June against Devin Clark.

St. Preux versus Menifield play-by-play.

Bout 5: Michel Pereira (23-11) vs. Zelim Imadaev (8-2) (Welterweight)

Pereira Snaps Two-Fight Skid With Win Over Imadaev

Getting his first win since his UFC debut, Michel Pereira defeated Zelim Imadaev in the third round via rear naked choke. The stoppage came after three rounds that saw Pereira out-strike Imadaev while doing his usual taunting, slaps, front flips and jumps off of the cage.

Replays made it hard to tell whether Imadaev tapped to the rear naked choke that Pereira applied.

Pereira’s fight snapped a two-fight losing streak which came against Tristan Connelly and Diego Sanchez within the last year. The fight was important for Pereira, as it was his last fight on his UFC contract.

After the fight, Pereira called out Jorge Masvidal.

“I want the BMF,” said Pereira, referring to Masvidal.

Imadaev was given his third consecutive loss in the fight. He has yet to win in the UFC.

Pereira versus Imadaev play-by-play.

Bout 4: Bartosz Fabinski (15-3) vs. Andre Muniz (19-4) (Middleweight)

Muniz Stops Fabinski With Armbar

Getting a quick win, underdog Andre Muniz stopped Bartosz Fabinski in the first round via armbar. Muniz won from a bottom position on the ground, getting the finish after trying for a guillotine choke before.

“I was expecting him to strike more. I expected him to take me down,” said Muniz’s translator in the post-fight interview.

The previous outing for Muniz was his UFC debut, defeating Antonio Arroyo via decision last November.

Fabinski’s last fight was a win as well, defeating Darren Stewart last March on a Cage Warriors card (originally booked for a UFC show, the bout was moved to a Cage Warriors event due to COVID-19 restriction.

Muniz versus Fabinski play-by-play.

Bout 3: Brian Kelleher (21-11) vs. Ray Rodriguez (16-6) (Featherweight)

Kelleher Gets Quick Win Over Rodriguez

Earning a quick victory, Brian Kelleher stopped short-notice opponent Ray Rodriguez within a minute via guillotine choke. The choke was put in while Rodriguez scored a takedown, with the submission coming only moments after.

Rodriguez made his UFC debut in the bout, stepping in for Kevin Natividad, who withdrew from the card on Friday.

“I had a lot of nerves coming in here, a lot of pressure on my back,” said Kelleher in his post-fight interview, mentioning how numerous opponent changes was a struggle for him.

The fight was Kelleher’s fourth of 2020, an amount of stats that only a few other fighters have been able to attain this year. He mentioned after the fight that he plans to compete a fifth time before the end of the year.

Kelleher’s last fight was a loss, not being favoured in a decision against Cody Stamann last June.

Kelleher versus Rodriguez play-by-play.

Bout 2: Montana De La Rosa (11-5) vs. Viviane Araujo (8-2) (Flyweight)

Araujo Wins In Return To UFC

After three rounds of high-pace striking, Viviane Araujo won a unanimous decision over Montana De La Rosa. The fight saw Araujo hurt De La Rosa with leg kicks and jabs, among other strikes that connected frequently.

Despite losing, the performance was also an impressive one for De La Rosa, who continued to respond with punches on the backfoot.

Araujo dedicated her fight to her grandmother, Lucia, who passed away earlier in the year due to COVID-19 along with a previous case of Chagas Disease.

“I want to fight this year. December, November,” said Araujo in her post-fight interview, mentioning the possibility of a quick turnaround.

The fight was Araujo’s return to the octagon off of a loss last December to Jessica Eye.

De La Rosa won her previous fight, defeating Mara Romero Borella last February.

Araujo versus De La Rosa play-by-play.

Bout 1: Cole Smith (7-1) vs. Hunter Azure (8-1) (Bantamweight)

Azure Wins Decision Over Smith

Bouncing back from his first loss as a pro, Hunter Azure picked up a unanimous decision victory over Cole Smith. Azure’s striking matched with his tiring grappling skills lead him through the first two rounds of his win.

“To me it wasn’t my best performance but I’ll take it,” said Azure in his post-fight interview.

Azure scored a knockdown in the first round, dropping Smith with a two-punch combination of hooks. Azure spent most of the round in control on the ground. The second round was just as successful for Azure, having control over Smith with takedowns and control in body locks.

The final round was Smith’s best, getting on the back of Azure and attempting a rear naked choke in the second half of the round.

With the victory, Azure bounced back from a loss in May to Brian Kelleher.

Also coming off of a loss, Smith’s last fight was a split decision loss to Miles Johns just under a year ago.

Azure versus Smith play-by-play.

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