UFC Fight Night 50 will prove as career-defining moments for heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Ben Rothwell. Alistair Overeem took two KO losses against Travis Browne and Antonio Silva before turning around his fortunes with his last decision victory over Frank Mir in UFC 169. Ben Rothwell was penalized with a nine month suspension after a positive test for elevated levels of testosterone in UFC 164, and a clean win means everything to move forward. A victory for either fighter in UFC Fightnight means more than just a paycheck for these heavyweights, it means a solid future in the UFC.
Alistair’s biggest problem in his previous losses, especially to Travis Browne, was his conditioning. He really tried to lay on the punishment for a quick KO that Browne was able to capitalize on when he gassed out. In his latest matchup against veteran Frank Mir, his conditioning turned out to be one of his greatest advantages. He ended up in a great position for ground and pound for much of the fight, and never once looked like he slowed down in all three rounds. He was very economic in his striking against Mir, taking advantage of punching combinations he stood a great chance of landing instead of throwing hay makers in hopes for a knockout. Using the same pacing will work very effectively for “the demolition man” to make sure he can bring the punishment in a longer match if necessary.
Big Ben Rothwell
Rothwell’s last performance against Brandon Vera only highlighted the best qualities about his style. Rothwell has tremendous knockout power and ability with his punching that took a heavy toll on Vera. However, this came at the cost of eating repeated kicks to the ribs from Vera. Regardless, he was able to connect and make the sacrifice count even on a guy as mobile as Vera when he gets in close. The best moment of the fight was the absolute psyched-up assault he put on Vera in the third round leading to a KO victory. Once he starts to really lay on heavy, the power of those punches can take away even the toughest fighter’s steam
Overeem Vs. Rothwell
As seen in Rothwell vs. Vera, Big Ben will take leg kicks and punches if it means he can get into effective punching range. His hands were up high in the fight, and Vera was able to connect on great kicks to his ribs in the opening round. Rothwell has to be able to close the distance between Overeem safely, because he will not be able to withstand the same punishment from the Reem’s K-1 kicks. Conditioning will prove one of the greatest determining factors of this fight, because both fighters have proven deadly once they can capitalize on knockout opportunities. If Overeem is able to tire Rothwell out and take him down, he will have a hard time maintaining his energy. The last place you want to be is in Alistair’s powerhouse elbows from the top position.