After his shocking upset loss to Ben Rothwell in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 50 last Friday, Alistair Overeem could himself in an unfamiliar position – on the UFC’s chopping block.

Fast start, fade fast

As in his previous UFC fights, the former K-1, Strikeforce and Dream champion had a fast start against Rothwell. He was comfortably moving around the Octagon landing knees, kicks and punches against the stalking Rothwell. But when Rothwell landed his first meaningful punch of the bout, a right uppercut that smacked Alistair’s chin, the complexion of the match suddenly changed.

Overeem backed up and then forced a clinch to recuperate. Still dazed after they broke up, Overeem landed a knee to the body but Rothwell kept pressing. Several seconds later, Big Ben connected on a right straight that flushed Overeem’s temple and dropped the Dutchman. Rothwell rushed in for the kill with vicious hammer fists and ended the bout at the 2:19 mark of round 1.

Alistair Overeem is just 2-3 in the UFC and has been 1-3 since 2013. All of those losses have been by knockout and he’s been stopped twice in the first round.

A major disappointment

Overeem was supposed to be one of the UFC’s most prized additions from the Strikeforce promotion. The former Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 world champion had an auspicious UFC debut when he retired former UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 with a devastating first round KO victory. The win earned him a title shot against then champion Junior Dos Santos, but that fight didn’t materialize because Overeem failed a random drug test for UFC 141. He has never been the same since then.

Overeem dominated Big Foot Silva for two rounds at UFC 156 but got knocked out in the third round. He was also close to stopping Travis Browne in the first round of their 2013 bout when Browne recovered and stopped him later in the round. A unanimous decision win over Frank Mir at UFC 169 last February stopped the skid, but Friday’s loss to Rothwell could be the last straw. Overeem was an overwhelming 4-1 favorite to defeat Rothwell who was coming off a 9 month UFC suspension.

In the news

Overeem has been in the news lately for his sparring sessions with Jon Jones which reportedly caused the injury that led to the postponement of the UFC 178 main event. Light heavyweight contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson also came out to claim that Overeem “intentionally hurts people in training.” A couple of days later, UFC President Dana White also questioned the rationale behind Jones’ sparring sessions with Overeem.

But while Overeem is undoubtedly a popular figure who often fills up news pages, his octagon performances have been sub-par. The UFC is known to cut fighters whose careers are skidding, and three losses in four bouts should qualify as such. It won’t be a surprise if we see Dana White unexpectedly hands The Reem the pink slip soon.

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