Alistair Overeem kicked off his UFC career with a bang Friday night, and in doing so took out the sport’s biggest pay-per-view star—retiring Brock Lesnar with a first-round liver kick at UFC 141 at the MGM Grand.
“Today was all about bad intentions. First or second round, I promised,” said the 31-year-old Dutch kickboxer (36-11 MMA record), who picked Lesnar apart with a series of knees before catching him with the crippling kick and finishing the fight with a dozen right hands.
“Junior Dos Santos is next. I promise you guys that.”
Immediately afterwards Lesnar told the crowd of more than 12,000 that he was hanging up his four-ounce gloves.
“My hat’s off to Alistair Overeem,” said Lesnar (5-3), who’s been battling diverticulitis the past three years and had 12 inches of his colon surgically removed in May.
“I want to take my hat off to all my training partners, to my wife, my family. I’ve had a really difficult couple of years with my disease. I’m going to say officially, tonight was the last time you’ll see me in the Octagon. I want to thank everyrone. I want to thank the Fertittas [co-founders of Zuffa, UFC’s parent company]. Brock Lesnar is officially retired. I promised my wife and kids, if I won I’d get a title shot and it would be my last fight. It’s been a pleasure.”
UFC president Dana White said he was surprised, but not shocked that Lesnar was walking away from the sport the former WWE superstar took up only four years ago.
“I had no idea he was going to do that,” White said at the post-fight news conference. “Am I surprised? No. He’s made a lot of money in his career. He’s achieved a lot of things.
“Brock came to me one night here at the MGM. He said he wanted to fight in the UFC and I laughed. He had only had one fight. What that man accomplished coming in with only one fight is amazing. I get it. I doesn’t shock me. But I didn’t know it was coming.”
Nate Diaz beat Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone in a co-main event lived up to all its pre-fight hype as the fighters battled all the way to the bell, exchanging punches as the fans stood and shower their appreciation.
Diaz, the younger brother of MMA bad boy Nick Diaz, picked apart Cerrone with his superior punching to earn a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
“It’s over now,” Diaz said of his and Cerrone’s pre-fight beef, which featured him knocking off Cerrone’s Cowboy hat at Wednesday’s press conference.
“We fought, and we did what we had to do.”
UFC 141 Results
Featherweight (145 pounds) — Diego Nunes defeated Manny Gamburyan by unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28.
Welterweight (170) — Fight between Matthew Riddle and Luis Ramos was canceled due to illness by Riddle.
Lightweight (155) — Jacob Volkmann def. Efrain Escudero by unanimous dec. 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
Welterweight (170) — Dong Hyun Kim def. Sean Pierson by unanimous dec. 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.
Lightweight (155) — Danny Castillo def. Anthony Njokuani by split dec. 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Featherweight (145) — Ross Pearson def. Junior Assuncao by unanimous dec. 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.
Featherweight (145) — Jim Hettes def. Nam Phan by unanimous dec. 30-25, 30-25, 30-26.
Light heavyweight (205) — Alexander Gustafsson def. Vladimir Matyushenko by TKO (punches, 2:13-Round 1).
Welterweight (170) — Johny Hendricks def. Jon Fitch by KO (:12-Round 1).
Lightweight (155) — Nate Diaz def. Donald Cerrone by unanimous dec. 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.
Heavyweight (265) — Alistair Overeem def. Brock Lesnar by TKO (strikes, 2:26-Round 1).