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Sports Illustrated Notebook: Alistair Overeem destined to make kickboxing return for trilogy bout in October

The future UFC Hall of Famer will headline 'GLORY: Collision 4' in the Netherlands against Badr Hari.

Alistair Overeem isn't done competing.

"I wasn't built for a 9-to-5 job," says a smiling Overeem, whose athletic build remains as timeless as his look. "And I'm not done yet."

Now 42, the future UFC Hall of Famer is stepping outside the octagon and returning to kickboxing for the first time in over a decade. Overeem is set to headline "GLORY: Collision 4" in the Netherlands this October, facing off against Badr Hari in a trilogy bout.

The first meeting between the two fighting icons took place in 2008, which saw a left hook from Overeem knock out Hari. The rematch was the following year, a TKO victory for Hari. Nearly a decade and a half later, the two heavyweights will seek closure this fall.

"I'm from the Netherlands, so this is like a home match for me," Overeem says. "It's destiny for me to return to kickboxing and Glory."

Overeem will apply the lessons he has learned in MMA to kickboxing when he returns in October.

Overeem last fought for UFC in February of 2021, a TKO loss to Alexander Volkov. He was released the following month, yet he plans to end his career on his terms.

"I wasn't ready to leave fighting when I finished with UFC," Overeem says. "I learned so much from my time in MMA, and I will incorporate that into my kickboxing. I'm really motivated to be back."

Overeem (47-19), who is only three wins shy of his 50th victory, still has plenty of career goals before retiring from active competition.

"I look it at a little different," Overeem says. "I've had a total of 93 fights in my career. There was some thought about getting to 100. But it's only a number, right? We'll see how this goes."

Initially scheduled to return to GLORY last October until an injury forced him out of action, Overeem is healthy and keeping active with his training. He is even on the verge of starting a new career in pro wrestling, an industry he was once largely critical of in the past.

Overeem was scheduled to headline the inaugural Wrestling Entertainment Series show this Saturday in England, where he was to become the new promotion's first-ever champion, Sports Illustrated learned. But that show was canceled, which is the third time WES has promised a show and then failed to deliver. Despite encountering that frustration, Overeem remains open to a future in pro wrestling.

"I've been critical of pro wrestling in the past, but I was also a huge fan a long time when I was young," Overeem says. "It's something I've considered over the last year and a half. I'm not convinced this is my next step. I really enjoy my teaching, but pro wrestling is something I am considering. And I know the other kickboxers will hate it that I'm wrestling. So I like that."

While pro wrestling could re-emerge as a future possibility, there is no question about his immediate future in GLORY.

"It's a big match for GLORY and a big fight for me," Overeem says. "That is exactly what I signed up for. I can't wait."

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Fairly quietly, Bellator has acquired a number of high-level lightweight fighters.

That shouldn't be the case much longer, as this group – beginning later this month at Bellator 283 – will start to make considerable noise.

The signings include Archie Colgan, Tofiq Musayev, Max Rohskopf and Mansour Barnaoui. Colgan and Musayev both compete at Bellator 283, with Colgan (4-0) on the prelims. He was supposed to fight Justin Montalvo, but his new opponent will be announced soon.

Musayev (18-4) finds himself with a golden opportunity at 283, getting a crack at top-ranked lightweight Sidney Outlaw. This was initially scheduled to be Patricky "Pitbull" Freire defending his lightweight title against Outlaw, as well as Musayev against Adam Piccolotti – but "Pitbull" and Piccolotti both pulled out. That creates an opportunity for the unranked Musayev to challenge Outlaw – and, potentially, completely alter Bellator's lightweight rankings.

Rohskopf and Barnaoui are also important additions for Bellator. A decorated amateur wrestler at North Carolina State, Rohskopf (7-1) has the ability to be a submission specialist in Bellator. And Barnaoui (19-4), a former Road FC champ, has an outrageously high 95 percent finish rate.

* * * * *

MMA Junkie's report on the PFL 6 payouts is fascinating.

Despite losing by submission, Anthony Pettis received the highest payday at $750,000. His loss to Stevie Ray doesn't hurt him, as Pettis already qualified for this season's playoffs. Kayla Harrison was second on the list with $500,000, followed by Rory MacDonald at $250,000. Those who also earned six-figure paychecks included Jeremy Stephens, Magomed Magomedkerimov, Brendan Loughnane, Lance Palmer and Omari Akhmedov.

The positive to this is that the fighters are making great money. PFL was likely thrilled those numbers were released, and it undoubtedly grabbed people's attention. A downside is overspending, though that is a necessity for every promotion not named UFC to attract high-quality fighters.

Watching the return on investment will be interesting as the promotion continues to grow.

* * * * *

Rafael Fiziev headlines Saturday's UFC on ESPN 39 card, seeking the most significant win of his career against former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.

A 29-year-old fighter from Kazakhstan, Fiziev (11-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) has won his last five. Currently ranked tenth in the division, a victory against seventh-ranked dos Anjos (31-13 MMA, 20-11 UFC) will elevate him closer to the top five.

"This is a dream fight," Fiziev says. "It is a big challenge for me, but a win also makes me much closer to the title."

Fiziev enjoyed himself earlier this week on social media, replying to Conor McGregor on Twitter after McGregor shared some over-the-top advice on axe kicks.

"This is not the first time Conor talked about my fighting," Fiziev says. "So, since I have his attention, I am inviting him to my gym, Tiger Muay Thai. If he comes, he can show me what he would do in all situations with defending kicks."

A bout against McGregor is within the realm of possibilities if Fiziev defeats dos Anjos. This is a fight that will help determine the latter half of the top-10 lightweight rankings, as well as provide an answer to who is the UFC's best Rafael.

"I'm ready for five rounds," said Fiziev. "I'm going to show why I am the best Rafael in UFC."

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