SPORTS


Alistair Overeem TKO win highlights UFC Fight Night in Jacksonville

Baku, May 17, AZERTAC

Alistair Overeem defeated Walt Harris in the main event to conclude UFC Fight Night late Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, according to the Palm Beach Post.

It was a week of comebacks.

So Alistair Overeem ended it with a comeback of his own.

Nearly finished off inside the opening 90 seconds, Overeem rallied to defeat Walt Harris in the main event at UFC Fight Night late Saturday, a conclusion to a one-week, three-night display of mixed martial arts combat on the First Coast.

Twenty-two fighters capped a week of sweat and occasional blood inside the octagon, a return to competition amid the continuing uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

A sports world whose two-month hiatus began in part on the First Coast — with the abrupt end to The Players Championship after a single round on March 12 — resumed inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

While the action inside the octagon resembled other nights in UFC, the atmosphere outside it, like the other bouts this week, felt miles away from the norm.

The precautions first installed for the May 9 UFC 249 bouts — disinfectant sprays of the octagon, temperature scans at the arena entrance, masks for everyone from media members to cornermen to announcer Bruce Buffer — remained in place for Saturday.

So did the most conspicuous sign of all, the rows of empty seats in an arena barred off from spectators.

No further COVID-19 disruptions have been reported since May 8, when Brazilian fighter Ronaldo Souza, known as Jacare, and two cornermen tested positive for the coronavirus and were withdrawn from competition.

Still, it may not be apparent for days or weeks whether those precautions were effective in squashing the spread of the virus.

In the main event, Harris downed Overeem and pummeled him with punches inside the early 90 seconds, opening a large cut over his eye.

But Overeem (46-18) rebounded, knocking down Harris later in the round. Then, at the start of the second, he knocked down Harris with a right-foot kick and a punch, proceeding to pile on with more punches until the fight was stopped at 3:00 of the round.

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