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Boy, were we looking forward to Alistair Overeem’s UFC debut. Strikeforce didn’t have a lot of things over the UFC, but its heavyweight division was certainly one of them, and the Dutchman was the pick of the bunch.
He looked every inch the monster we had anticipated when he dispatched Brock Lesnar within a round at UFC 141. A title shot against Junior dos Santos was in his future.
Unfortunately, a failed drug test followed in early 2012, delaying the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion’s UFC career for more than a year.
When the juice-less Overeem returned a year later, he looked softer than we had seen him in some time. He still looked like a superhero but with fewer wrinkles in his six-pack.
In his return bout against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, he seemed hesitant to engage but still dominated the fight with his grappling. However, he unexpectedly gassed out in the final round, allowing Silva to land one of the most violent combinations in the sport’s history. The Dutchman crumpled, taking his title hopes with him.
A similar story followed against Travis Browne in his next fight. Overeem excelled early and almost finished his opponent. In trying to end the fight, though, he once again gassed out. It didn’t take long for Browne to capitalise, finishing the breathless Overeem with a front kick to the chin and the obligatory follow-up punches.
Like Uriah Hall, there is still time for Overeem to recover from his setbacks against Silva and Browne. He looked formidable against Frank Mir in his most recent bout. One gets the feeling that the Dutchman’s Ferrari-like gas tank and candy-glass chin will continue to hold him back, though.