The UFC has literally beefed up its year-end UFC 168 event with a heavyweight fight that features some serious title shot implications. Travis Browne and Josh Barnett are set to square off on the Dec. 28 main card, and the winner will certainly insert themselves into the mix for a title opportunity in 2014.
Barnett made an impressive return to the organization at UFC 164, as he stopped Frank Mir in the opening round. It was “TheWarmaster’s” first appearance back with the organization in 11 years, and the former UFC heavyweight champion showed that he still remains one of the best heavyweights on the planet. While the stoppage was a bit premature in some people’s eyes, it seemed inevitable that Mir was going to be finished after taking a vicious knee to the face. Barnett remains a Catch Wrestling ace and the veteran will definitely have the experience advantage going into this fight.
As for Browne, his stock has never been higher after his remarkable win over Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night 26. “Hapa” rebounded after taking a serious beating in the early portion of the fight to finish Overeem in devastating fashion in that very same opening round. It was his second straight first round stoppage after suffering his only defeat against Antonio Silva. Thanks to the exciting performance, he draws perhaps the stiffest test of his career. There had been rumblings of a possible December matchup against Stipe Miocic, but this is clearly a more high-profile matchup.
It is clear that the UFC is looking to finish 2013 on a high note, as an already highly anticipated UFC 168 event gets even better with this stellar addition. The card is headlined by the middleweight title rematch between champion Chris Weidman and challenger Anderson Silva, and Ronda Rousey defends her women’s bantamweight belt against arch rival Miesha Tate.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports