Saturday night marked another great step for MMA and the UFC with the premier of FOX’s newest sports network, Fox Sports 1. The card was stacked from top to bottom and almost every fight on the card delivered. The night ended with a beautiful submission victory for Chael Sonnen over Mauricio Shogun Rua but before those two stars faced off Travis Browne and Allistair Overeem went to battle. The fight was lopsided as Overeem came out pressing forward forcing Browne to turtle up while the Reem delivered countless shots. Browne was able to tough his way through the early storm and went on to drop Overeem with a front kick to the face with less than a minute to go in the very first round. So let’s take a look at what is next for these two heavyweights…
Saturday night’s knockout over Allistair Overeem gave Travis Browne his 15th professional victory. Browne, now 15-1-1, certainly made a statement last night showing fans and fellow fighters everywhere that he is incredibly difficult to finish and has knockout power in his feet as well as his hands. Browne had his first professional fight just 4 years ago and it is scary to think that his natural athleticism and mental toughness have gotten him to where he is today. Browne fans were a bit nervous Saturday as he was struck by a vicious knee to the body by Overeem which forced him to ground. Browne eventually was able to work his way up and begin to be offensive with Overeem who expended a lot of energy trying to finish the fight. Even with the win there are still improvements to be made by Browne in his stand up technique and over all game. That being said he is still very young in the sport, has all the physical tools to be a star, and is at arguably the best gym in the world. It is going to be very exciting to see this Hawaiian fighter throughout his career.
Up next for Browne could be a number one contender fight against Jiu-jitsu black belt Fabricio Werdum. Werdum most recently finished Big Nog with an arm bar and is in the hunt for a shot at the belt. Although in my opinion Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez are at a different level than everybody else in the division, the winner of Werdum/Browne would have made their case for a shot at whoever wins at UFC 166. Browne did not seem to sustain any injuries Saturday night and with Werdum on the shelf waiting for his next opponent, look for Browne and Werdum to be matched relatively soon. Werdum has mentioned that he would be willing to wait for a title shot but with Browne’s impressive KO victory over the number five ranked heavyweight, look for the UFC to put some pressure on Werdum to take this fight.
It was another rough night for Allistair Overeem as he suffered his second consecutive KO loss in seven months. Overeem has had some struggles since making his very impressive UFC debut against Brock Lesnar back in 2011. Overeem’s Testosterone levels were abnormally high during a random pre fight drug test months before he was set to face, then heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos. He was forced out of the fight and hit with a nine month suspension by the athletic commission. In his next fight against Bigfoot Silva, Overeem came in extremely confident, with his hands down and out struck Silva for the first two rounds. However Alistair looked noticeably fatigued after the second round and was eventually knocked out late in the third. After the bout it was released that Overeem’s testosterone levels were dangerously low, especially for a world class athlete. Overeem’s UFC on FS1 test results have not yet been released but it is nearly impossible to deny that he was on some type of performance enhancing drugs earlier in his career and now that he is unable to use them due to strict moderation and drug testing his body is not functioning like it was prior to his UFC 156 fight with Silva.
Overeem is in a difficult position after his second UFC loss. Overeem is still a huge name and will still get big fights but he now has a very long road ahead of him if he wants to challenge for the UFC belt that has forever eluded him. What is more realistic for Overeem is the UFC using his star status to help build up and coming fighters. Overeem does not seem to be the killer we had seen from him in the past but he is still a good test for a UFC newcomer and a chance for a top prospect to takeout a man who fans know.