BOSTON – Travis Browne might want to consider taking Mario Yamasaki out for a steak dinner.
Yamasaki, refereeing Browne’s bout with Alistair Overeem, gave the Hawaiian lots of time to recover when Browne was in trouble in the first round. And Browne took advantage of that opportunity – by knocking out Overeem minutes later with a front kick to the face.
The bout was the co-main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 26 at Boston’s TD Garden. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and Facebook.
Browne pawed early, then backed up as Overeem quickly came forward and landed knees to the body. He pushed Browne against the cage as Browne tried to regain position before finally pushing free. An Overeem body shot was answered with a body punch from Browne. But after Browne seemed to have Overeem stunned, Overeem started to pile it on.
He landed dozens of right hands with Browne turtling up against the fence, though Browne blocked many of them by covering up. Overeem landed what appeared to be an illegal knee to the head with Browne grounded, but it went unpunished by Yamasaki, who gave Browne plenty of time to recover after warning him to protect himself.
And that chance paid off for Browne, who survived and even landed a bit of offense of his own afterward. With two minutes left in the round, the fight moved back to the center of the cage, where Browne looked to land some kicks and continue to regain his composure.
Over and over again, Browne worked front kicks to the body, then mixed in high kicks toward Overeem’s head. And then, almost out of nowhere if not for the kicking pace he had set seconds prior, Browne landed a front kick straight to Overeem’s chin. Overeem fell backward and Browne landed two big right hammerfists on the ground to get the stoppage.
“He throws knees like I’ve never felt before,” Browne said. “I was there mentally, but my body was shutting down. All I could hear was Mario saying, ‘Move.’ So I kept moving to try to get to my feet. I felt him starting to slow down. As soon as I felt him starting to slow down, I knew this was my game. I did it. This is just another goal in my career that I’ve achieved, taking out a top-five guy. I’m not done yet. I want that strap. Cain (Velasquez), you’re the best in the world right now. But I want that belt.”
Browne (15-1-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) now has won back-to-back fights since a loss to Antonio Silva in October 2012. Overeem (36-13 MMA, 1-2 UFC) lost for the second straight time and has lost consecutive fights for the first time in more than six years.
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 26 results include:
- Travis Browne def. Alistair Overeem via KO (head kick, punches) – Round 1, 4:08
- Urijah Faber def. Yuri Alcantara via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
- Matt Brown def. Mike Pyle via KO (punches) – Round 1, 0:29
- John Howard def. Uriah Hall via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Michael Johnson def. Joe Lauzon via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
- Michael McDonald def. Brad Pickett via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 3:43
- Conor McGregor def. Max Holloway via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Steven Siler def. Mike Brown via KO (punches) – Round 1, 0:50
- Diego Brandao def. Daniel Pineda via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Manny Gamburyan def. Cole Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ovince St. Preux def. Cody Donovan via KO (punches) – Round 1, 2:07
- James Vick def. Ramsey Nijem via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 0:58
For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 26, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
John Morgan and Steven Marrocco contributed to this report on-site in Boston.
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