Alistair Overeem’s world came crashing down around him at UFC on Fox Sports 1 when he was knocked out by Travis ‘Hapa’ Browne in devastating fashion. Overeem spent the majority of the fight pounding Browne, sending the Hawaiian to the canvas multiple times. Once again, Overeem lost a fight that he was thoroughly dominating, making many people question his ability to be a top contender.
So, was the Demolition Man always over-hyped? The answer is yes.
Overeem is obviously a destructive force, which was displayed in the first few minutes of his latest fight, as his knees from the clinch are devastating. Overeem uses some nice boxing techniques, enjoys stepping in with his punches to generate more power, and has good combinations once an opponent is against the cage.
I wrote in a previous article that I felt Overeem would never win a UFC title because his defense does not work in MMA. If we study Overeem’s stance when he was hit by Antonio Silva at UFC 156, you can see fundamental openings that lead to his knockout loss.
When Alistair is trying to avoid shots, he does one of two things. His first response is to simply lean away from the shot while having his hands at his side, which puts him at risk of getting knocked out with one strike. His other strategy is to cover up with his elbows very high, which exposes his body. This type of defense can work in kickboxing, where the gloves are larger and more protective. In an MMA bout, the gloves will slot through openings, and the impact will be enough to make your legs wobble.
Travis Browne’s knockout of Overeem came from a front kick which should have never landed. The easiest way to avoid a front kick is to move away from it, or constantly circle away from them. Browne threw multiple front kicks at Overeem, and someone with Alistair’s kickboxing credentials should not have been caught with a kick like that. Overeem’s defense is simply too porous in the heavyweight division.
Overeem’s gas tank is also cause for concern. No real elite fighter gasses so quickly that they can’t defend themselves in the first round. The amount of muscle mass that the Demolition Man carries demands a huge oxygen supply, which can cause fighters to tire incredibly quickly. The little men in the heavyweight division are the kings right now, and Overeem will never wear the UFC title.
Marcus Pordoy is an MMA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMAnalysisRoom, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.