Despite getting dropped by a Werdum knee in the final round, Overeem managed to best Werdum 29-28 on two of the three judges scorecards. The third judge had it a 28-28 draw. ESPN also scored it 28-28.
Overeem, of Amsterdam, never really put Werdum in trouble, but he landed cleaner strikes over the first two rounds. Action wasn't fast-paced, but the fight took place at a longer kickboxing range that favored Overeem, and he scored with kicks to the body and occasional punches.
Werdum resorted to pulling guard on several occasions in the second round and had little success off his back. The Brazilian turned things around in a big way, however, in the third, blasting Overeem with a one-two combination that led into the heavy knee. After Overeem managed to get back to his feet, Werdum hurt him again with a right hand. He spent the final 2.5 minutes of the fight in top position.
Nevertheless, it's Overeem who moves on with the win. A former Strikeforce champion, Overeem fought Stipe Miocic for the UFC title last September and had the champ hurt before he was knocked out late in the first round. He is 2-0 since that loss. Werdum falls to 1-2 in his last three.
Anthony Pettis gets right, decisions Jim Miller
Pettis, 30, out-struck Miller 94-to-50 according to Fightmetric, and showed some of his patented flash along the way. He dictated distance well, especially in the first round, rocking Miller with several hard body kicks and right hands.
Miller had some success with leg kicks and a takedown in the second round, but ultimately fell to unanimous 30-27 scores. He also suffered a deep cut around his left eye.
It was a throwback performance for Pettis, who came in riding a 1-4 skid. The Milwaukee native looked hesitant in recent fights, including a two-fight stop at the 145-pound division. On Saturday, he encouraged fighters to compete at a comfortable weight class.
"I really feel better than ever and I tried to keep it interesting out there," Pettis said. "I've been working hard on my wrestling defense and I got to show that off along with my striking tonight. It was a fun fight and now I'm just looking forward to getting back out there. I'll tell you what's next for me: three-time world champ."
Miller, of Sparta, New Jersey, is now 0-2 in 2017, with losses to Pettis and Dustin Poirier. Saturday was his 27th fight inside the Octagon.
Oleynik scores second round sub, hands Browne fourth straight loss
Russian heavyweight Alexey Oleynik (52-10-1) moved to 4-1 in the UFC, as he submitted Travis Browne (18-7-1) via rear-naked choke at 3:44 of the second round.
The 40-year-old veteran survived an early scare en route to the win. Browne dropped Oleynik with a left hook in the opening minutes but couldn't secure a finish. Oleynik returned the favor later in the round, dropping Browne with a winging right.
Oleynik actually finished the round on Browne's back, looking for a choke. He ended up running out of time but secured the position again in the next frame and forced Browne to tap.
Browne, who trained for the fight in Las Vegas and is engaged to former UFC champion Ronda Rousey, has just one win in his last six fights. He began his UFC career with a stellar 7-1-1 record but has struggled since.
Rob Font takes advantage of opportunity
UFC bantamweight Rob Font (14-2) moved up from the preliminary portion of UFC 213 to pay-per-view on short notice -- and turned in a pay-per-view-worthy performance.
Font, of Boston, was moved up in the card after the UFC lost its main event fight hours before doors opened. Font responded with a guillotine choke finish over Douglas Silva de Andrade (24-2) at 4:36 of the second round.
It was a pretty sublime performance by Font, start-to-finish. He kept Andrade guessing all night with varied offense -- peppering him with punches from all angles and stepping into some wicked knees. The submission finish came shortly after he staggered Andrade with an overhand right and hard elbow along the fence.
Font is now 4-1 in the UFC, with four finishes. He is in line for a step up in opponent.