Following our breakdown of the UFC 203 heavyweight main event we are also treated to a heavyweight co-main event match up between former title holder and Jiu-Jitsu ace Fabricio Werdum against the always dangerous Travis Browne.
This fight is of course is a rematch from the April 2014 UFC on Fox card headlined by these two heavyweights. The first fight saw both fighters in a highly anticipated number one contenders fight looking to challenge at the time title holder Cain Velasquez.
Of all the eventual outcomes few people had anticipated ground specialist Werdum to dominate the much longer knockout artist Travis Browne especially over the course of the full 25 minutes. Since Werdum has concentrated his striking training under the tutelage of master Rafael Corderio down at Kings MMA in Brazil he has massively improved his long time weakness which was his stand-up.
We saw a completely new Werdum regarding his stand up game. He was now throwing effective kicks, switch kicks, knees, elbows and anything else he could do to damage Browne. Not only did he look sharper in his offence but for the majority of the 5 rounds, except maybe the first couple minutes of the first, he completely shut down Travis Brown’s offence.
There were no moments in the fight where Travis was having a great deal of success and its because of this I expect Werdum to win again. Yes the first fight was over 2 years ago and we know a lot can change in MMA over the course of 2 years.
Nonetheless we have to analyse what has happened to each fighter of these 2 years. What we know is Werdum went on to defeat an all time heavyweight great in Cain Velasquez and then relinquished it to UFC 203 headliner Stipe Miocic in what some consider a momentary lapse of concentration.
Whereas Travis Browne seems to have taken somewhat of a downward spiral losing by TKO for the first time to team mate Andrei Arlovski after picking up a win over journeyman Brendan Schaub. Then succumbing to a second TKO against Cain Velasquez after a controversial decision win over Matt Mitrione. What I found more concerning was the manner he fell in the Velasquez fight. Travis normally known for his iron chin wilted against an early onslaught from Cain.
So who do I bet on?
Although Werdum is not known for his punching or kicking power for that matter. What he does have is a well rounded, diverse and high output of striking especially for a heavyweight.
Travis on the other hand has all the physical attributes for a destructive heavyweight. He’s tall, long, hits extremely hard and is relatively fast for a guy of his size. However he still fights like somebody new to the striking game. He talks of joining Edmond Tarverdyan’s Glendale fight club where he relearnt his fundamentals and concentrated on his jab. Although every time we see him in the cage his footwork looks laboured half way into the first round and his striking looks uncoordinated beyond belief for a top level fighter.
My conclusion is Travis has nothing in this second fight that he couldn’t have implemented in the first fight back in 2014. Werdum will fight smart and pressure Browne early and often, reminicient of the first fight he will break Browne down with punches and kicks in combinations on route to a decision or possibly a 3rd round finish now that Browne’s chin has diminished.
Make no mistakes Browne can win this fight… but it doesn’t look likely. Best odds are below!
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