Last night's (Sat., Aug. 17, 2013) Heavyweight mixed martial arts (MMA) bout between Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 26 from TD Bank Garden in Boston, Mass., promised to deliver some heavy-hitting fireworks for the fans.
It's safe to say the fight delivered on that promise, providing a back-and-forth brawl with one of the most jaw-dropping finishes we've seen this year.
Browne showed impressive athleticism for a big man when he attempted a huge flying knee early on. However, Overeem pressed forward to put "Hapa" up against the cage. Using his world-class Muay Thai pedigree, Overeem nailed Browne with a series of crushing knees to drop his opponent to the mat. "Demolition Man" followed up with several punches, and for a second, it looked like Browne would lose the fight via technical knockout.
Miraculously, he recovered from the heavy damage to mount a comeback. Overeem secured a quick single-leg takedown but couldn't capitalize on the opportunity as Browne scrambled free. The Greg Jackson-trained Browne began to fight back with strikes of his own, showing some stiff kicks. You could almost feel the tide of the fight turn to Browne's favor as Overeem appeared to gas. That's been a common knock on him, and he had expended a ton of energy trying to put Browne away with the early flurry.
Then just like that, it was finished.
"Hapa" uncorked a vicious front kick that landed flush on the chin of "The Reem," who fell to the mat stunned. Browne followed up with some ground-shaking hammerfists to earn the biggest victory of his career. It was a true statement win for the fast-rising Browne, who has a great record in the UFC but had yet to face an opponent of Overeem's experience and stature. After the fight, Browne declared that he has his sights set on UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, who is set to defend his title against Junior dos Santos in the main event of UFC 166 on Oct. 19, 2013, from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Browne may be a fight or two away from his coveted title shot, but he sent a clear message to the rest of the UFC Heavyweight division last night, letting them know that he is near the top of the food chain.
For Overeem, the loss creates a career crossroads for the Dutch striker. He could have silenced a ton of critics with an impressive win at UFC Fight Night 26, and he all but had the victory sealed up. Once again, he let a fight that he was winning turn into an absolutely spectacular finish for his opponent. Unfortunately, Overeem has failed miserably in living up to the lofty expectations that were placed upon him when he signed with the UFC.
He's miles away from a title shot now, and it appears that his chin is beginning to betray him on a regular basis.
Overeem has had an accomplished career in both MMA and kickboxing. A UFC belt would be the last piece of gold to add to his collection, but that appears to be only the smallest of possibilities right now.
Browne, on the other hand, will face a top-flight opponent in his next fight. If it's not for the title, a bout between he and Fabricio Werdum could prove to be very exciting.
What will "Hapa's" next big move be?