UFC caps week of return to action; Overeem wins

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Alistair Overeem (left) defeated Walt Harris during UFC on ESPN at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday (Manila time). -- JASEN VINLOVE-USA TODAY SPORTS

THE ULTIMATE Fighting Championship capped a busy week of return to action with another event in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday (Manila time), which was highlighted by the second-round technical knockout victory by heavyweight contender Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem.

Its third event in eight days after taking a temporary break because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the UFC said it hoped that by staging the fights it could somehow give some semblance of normalcy and jump-start things for the return of sports in the United States, which is still struggling to battle the highly contagious respiratory disease.

Dutch Overeem (46-18) was hurt and busted open by American Walt Harris early in their scheduled five-rounder but managed to survive and swing the tide in his favor as the fight progressed.

In the second round, Mr. Overeem managed to land a solid leg kick to the head of Mr. Harris and followed it with a punch to the face that sent the latter to the canvas.

It signalled the end for Mr. Harris as once Mr. Overeem got on the back of his opponent he pounded him with a barrage of punches before the referee stopped the fight at the three-minute mark of the second round.

The win was a bounce-back victory for Mr. Overeem after losing in his previous fight while Mr. Harris (13-8) saw his two-fight winning streak come to an end.

Meanwhile in the co-main event, Brazilian Claudia Gadelha edged American Angela Hill in their women’s strawweight battle by split decision, 28-29, 29-28 and 29-28.

UFC on ESPN was held anew at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena behind closed doors with only essential personnel in attendance in accordance with the protocols set to help stop the spread of COVID-19. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo