With a new multi-fight deal in place with the UFC, Travis Browne now has his sights firmly set on becoming the promotion’s next heavyweight champion. Browne can get a step closer to that goal with a victory on April 19 in Orlando against veteran Fabricio Werdum in their title eliminator at UFC on FOX 11. Browne has been on a tremendous roll with three consecutive first-round Knockout of the Night efforts including a most recent destruction of Josh Barnett at UFC 168.
As for Werdum, he was waiting on a title shot against Cain Velasquez but was forced to take this dangerous matchup after the champion underwent shoulder surgery. Velasquez won’t return until late this year, so the promotion didn’t want the veteran Brazilian to have too much down time. Werdum hasn’t fought since defeating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in June. It was his third straight win in his second stint in the organization.
Browne has been a man on a mission since suffering his only loss to Antonio Silva. “Hapa” needed just 60 seconds to knock “The Warmaster” senseless and also demolished Gabriel Gonzaga and Alistair Overeem. It was the Overeem bout where Browne really made a name for himself as he survived a furious onslaught from “The Reem” to rally and finish his opponent in the first round in what was a sensational come-from-behind victory. The towering Hawaiian has been adding more elements to his arsenal showcasing solid leg kicks, elbows and powerful punches. The 6-foot-7 Browne has tremendous athleticism and is one of the most dangerous finishers in the division. Of his 16 career wins, 14 have come by either knockout or submission, and he only seems to be getting better.
Many wondered if Browne would be up to the challenge of beating a battle-tested veteran in Barnett, and he passed the test with flying colors. While Werdum presents a strong challenge given his stellar submission skills, there’s no evidence to suggest that Browne isn’t capable of getting the job done and continuing his tremendous momentum.
The Browne-Werdum clash shapes up as a high-stakes showdown that has the potential to an explosive affair that very likely won’t be left in the hands of the judges. The winner will be truly deserving of a title opportunity against a very formidable champion later this year.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports