Augusto Sakai: Alistair Overeem broke four of my ribs
Japanese-Brazilian heavyweight Augusto Sakai entered the fight vs. Alistair Overeem in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 34 on Saturday night on a six-fight win streak. And he won the first two rounds vs. 'Reem. And then his streak was broken, and four ribs along with it.
Sakai spoke recently with Diego Ribas for Brazil's AG Fight, and explained the difference between the first two rounds, which he won, and the final three rounds, which he did not, was two broken ribs courtesy of an Overeem knee, and then two more broken ribs from an elbow. Sakai made clear that this was not an excuse, and gave all credit to Overeem. Sakai said further that his own conditioning was not factor.
“In the second round, I took a knee that dislocated two ribs," he said, via Google Translate. "When he put me down, he elbowed one more and broke two more. So, I was without four ribs, we can say so. And it really got in the way. I couldn't defend the takedowns, I couldn't show my jiu-jitsu, I couldn't defend myself very well. So, his merits. He certainly used the experience in his favor, but I expected that. What made it difficult - I am not giving any excuse, his merit for the victory - was the pain in my rib. But even so, I endured as far as it went.”
“My physical preparation is good, it gets better and better. Obviously, we always have to evolve, but I didn't die in the gas due to physical preparation. As I said, this problem in the rib made my game difficult, it made the fight difficult. So, it wasn't the fight I expected."
This was just the second loss of Sakai's career. Now 29 years old, Sakai started fighting in 2011, and won his first nine in a row before drawing with Dan Charles in 2016, and losing a split decision to Cheick Kongo in 2017. Sakai had been ranked #8 and Overeem #5, so the loss may not drop him down the rankings at all.