When the new UFC heavyweight rankings come out early in the week, expect there to be some changes.
Heading into Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 26 fight card, Alistair Overeem was ranked as the No. 5 fighter in the division, while his opponent, Travis Browne came in as the No. 8 heavyweight.
4:08 after the fight began, Overeem was flat on his back looking up as referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in and prevented Browne from landing a third hammerfist to Overeem’s chin. Just like that, the pre-fight rankings were rendered meaningless.
The fight, the event’s co-main event, was supposed to put Overeem back in UFC title contention; instead the loss makes one wonder just what the future holds for Overeem with the promotion.
Overeem looked like a world-beater in his UFC debut, knocking out former champion Brock Lesnar, and sending him into retirement. Now, one failed drug test and two knockout losses later, one has to think that Overeem may very well be on his way out the door.
Overeem looked dominant in the early going on Saturday night. He forced Browne to the fence and landed his trademark knees to the body. He then stalked Browne around the Octagon before briefly looking for a guillotine choke. The two separated again, and Overeem dropped Browne with a knee to the body.
Browne was clearly hurt at that point, and Overeem sensed that the advantage had shifted in his favor. Overeem immediately attacked with strikes as Browne cowered on the ground. Overeem’s right hand repeatedly smashed into Browne’s head, and more knees followed the head and body (including one that was clearly illegal), but Browne hung in there, doing just enough to show referee Yamasaki that he was able to intelligently defend himself.
Overeem slowed a bit after Browne got to his feet and this allowed Browne to regain his faculties. The beating that he had just laid on Browne may have also tripped a switch in Overeem’s head that said, “Oh, I got this” and he proceeded to stand directly in front of Browne, allowing him to measure the distance to Overeem with several kicks.
Once Browne had the distance sussed, he delivered a front kick directly to the chin of Overeem that had the 255-pound Dutchman falling to his back. Once Overeem hit the ground, Browne dove in and landed two hammerfists before the fight was waved off by referee Yamasaki.
The victory moved Browne’s record to 15-1-1 and will see him move up the rankings of the heavyweight division. Where the loss will land Overeem, well, that’s anyone’s guess, but considering Overeem took home $285,714.29 for his last fight, a loss to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, a place on the unemployment line is not out of the question.