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Alistair Overeem’s clinch work and ground-and-pound took their toll on Augusto Sakai over the course of their UFC Fight Night 176 headliner last weekend.
In a recent interview with Ag Fight, the Brazilian heavyweight revealed that he suffered multiple rib injuries during the fight as a result of Overeem’s onslaught. Those injuries ultimately made it difficult for Sakai to remain upright, and he succumbed to the Dutchman via fifth-round TKO at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
“In the second round, I was hit with a knee that dislocated two of my ribs,” Sakai said. "When he took me down, he hit me with an elbow that broke two more. So I was without four ribs, so to speak. That got in the way a lot. I could not defend takedowns.”
Sakai did well on the feet through the opening 10 minutes, but momentum shifted after Overeem landed his first takedown of the fight in Round 3. “The Demolition Man” nearly ended the contest with ground-and-pound in the fourth frame before one final salvo halted the bout 26 seconds into Round 5.
Sakai admitted he was hindered from the accumulated damage. "I could not show my jiu-jitsu. I could not defend myself very well. Kudos to him,” Sakai said. “I’m sure he used his experience in his favor, but I was expecting that.
“What made things difficult for me, and I’m not trying to come up with an excuse here, was the pain in my ribs. Even then, I tried to endure it as much as I could.”
Sakai, who began his Octagon tenure with triumphs over Chase Sherman, Andrei Arlovski, Marcin Tybura and Blagoy Ivanov, suffered his first MMA defeat in more than three years.