Rothwell stuns Overeem as lucrative underdog

Published on Saturday, 9/6/14, at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

We’ll get to the main event in a moment, but we’ve got to start out with Ben Rothwell’s stunning upset win over Alistair Overeem. Rothwell, who was returning to the Octagon for the first time in more than a year following a nine-month suspension, scored a vicious first-round knockout to hook up his backers as a +340 underdog.

Overeem appeared to be getting the best of most of the stand-up exchanges, landing some big knees and heavy right-handed shots. But Rothwell’s chin held up just fine and when both men simultaneously threw shots, Rothwell’s right landed clean to Overeem’s temple.

The punch sent Overeem to the canvas and Rothwell swarmed him for the finish with a slew of brutal shots. The victory improved Rothwell’s UFC record to 4-3 and sets him up to face a top-10 contender (or Matt Mitrione, who is poised to jump into the rankings, more on this below).

As for the ‘Reem, who has been a monumental disappointment during his five-fight UFC tenure, the Dutch kickboxer is now 2-3 with the promotion and is probably going to take a pink slip. Overeem beat Brock Lesnar in his debut, but he has been KO’d in three of his last four bouts. The crazy thing is that Overeem was comfortably winning all three fights before his chin gave way.

In the main event at UFC Fight Night 50, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza dominated Gegard Mousasi and ended the fight with a third-round submission. Souza, who prevailed as a -240 ‘chalk,’ may have earned a title shot against the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort.

In another heavyweight tilt, Matt Mitrione needed just 41 seconds to put Derrick Lewis asleep with a first-round KO. Mitrione improved to 8-3 in the UFC and will likely move into the rankings. The organization could set him up against Rothwell or another fringe top-10 guy.

In the lightweight loop, the Fight of the Night went down between Joe Lauzon and Michael Chiesa. This was an action-packed contest from start to finish, with both fighters enjoying stellar moments. Chiesa gave Lauzon all sorts of trouble out of the clinch, connecting with knees as he kept Lauzon pressed against the cage.

But Lauzon was getting the best of most of the stand-up exchanges, while the work by both men on the ground was basically even. The fight came to an all-too-early end (it had the makings of Jim Miller-Lauzon-like bloodbath that garnered Fight of the Year in 2012) after Lauzon opened up a massive cut over Chiesa’s right eye with a huge knee that he followed with a solid right-hand punch.

With blood pouring down Chiesa’s face, referee Herb Dean halted the bout to get instructions from the ringside doctor, who immediately called the fight upon observing the monster gash. Lauzon was a short underdog leading into the fight but big money came in on Chiesa on fight day, so Lauzon backers who wagered late Friday afternoon cashed a generous ticket in the +180 range (risk $100 to win $180).

I would think that Chiesa will get an immediate rematch since the fight was even when the cut was created.

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