The UFC’s heavyweight title is set for a new challenger, as Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne will face off at the UFC on Fox 11 in a title eliminator bout. Browne has been on a run of spectacular knockouts, putting famously tough Josh Barnett to sleep with some vicious elbows and knocking off Gabriel Gonzaga with the same method. Fabricio has also been on impressive streak himself, submitting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in his last outing, and recently battering Roy Nelson for three rounds.
The fight promises fireworks, with Travis Browne being an electric striker with fairly decent takedown defense, and Werdum being a submission wizard with recently improved muay thai. These men are both fairly tough fighters as well, with Werdum only being stopped by Junior Dos Santos in his career, and Browne only being knocked out by Antonio Bigfoot Silva following a leg injury in the middle of the first round.
Cain Velasquez is rumored to return in late 2014, with Mexico slated to be the location, in a bout that would see the champion coming back from an injury. Velasquez is coming off quite possibly the biggest win of his life, battering dangerous boxer, Dos Santos, for the second time in his career. Cain has validated himself as the most dangerous fighter on the planet and placed himself in a league above every other fighter in the division. That poses the question, does Browne or Werdum pose a threat to the championship?
Werdum creates a very interesting scenario in a match-up against Cain Velasquez with his incredible abilities off his back. The champion would most likely want to stand with Werdum and outmatches him in that aspect, but if Werdum managed to end up on the ground with the Mexican wrestler, he could find himself wearing the title belt. Submitting Nogueira, one of the best ground fighters in history, and tapping out the greatest heavyweight of all time, Fedor Emelianenko, are incredible feats, so you can’t count Werdum out of this fight.
Browne is a more exciting matchup in this hypothetical heavyweight championship bout. Browne is possibly the only other fighter to match Velasquez and Dos Santos in speed, and his attacks or more diverse than Dos Santos’. Browne also has an incredible amount of heart, which was on full display in his fight with Alistair Overeem, where he came back from a violent beating to knock out Overeem with a front kick. Even more intriguing is Browne’s recent success defending takedowns, in which he has knocked out his opponents with devastating elbows as they struggled to take the Haiwaian down. Whether or not Browne will actually have the time to implement these elbows or not is questionable, as Cain will shoot on him incredibly fast, but it’s enough of a tool to make the champion think.
Truthfully, Velasquez looks almost unstoppable as of late, and I wouldn’t bet against him for any of his upcoming fights, but Browne and Werdum have the styles to test the champion more than he has been in the past.
Marcus Pordoy is an MMA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMAnalysisRoom, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.