Craig Fallon's dreams of an Olympic medal were dashed after he lost to Israel's Gal Yekutiel in the penultimate contest before the play-off for bronze in the 60kgs category.
The Wolverhampton 25-year-old was seeking to make Britain's first mark on the medal table in Beijing but he came unstuck despite dominating the early stages of his contest.
He was ahead with two throws, one a waza-ari, with just over two minutes gone but his opponent hit back with two waza-aris to win by awasete ippon with one minute 45 seconds remaining of the five-minute contest.
It meant Fallon finished seventh - his current world ranking - but it represented a disappointing end to a Games he had high hopes for after a surprise defeat in the second round four years ago in Athens knocked him out.
"I haven't been brilliant all day and I didn't expect to be so far ahead," said Fallon.
"I got well ahead in the fight but I did feel my legs begin to tire a bit, which might just reflect how I've felt all day.
"And then I made two major mistakes. I felt comfortable in the first score to get turned and then to be countered from that comfortable position, I was a bit disappointed.
"I don't think it is anything missing from my judo. I know when I'm full speed and not feeling so drained I'm capable of doing anything.
"I just feel tired and I don't think it is anything to do with the training or making the weight."