Fabricio Werdum dominates Travis Browne in UFC on FOX main event

Coming into Saturday night’s UFC on FOX main event, Travis Browne had rarely ever been challenged in a fight. His only loss in 18 pro bouts came after he tore his hamstring during action and was essentially competing on one leg.

In 2013, he was dominant, winning all three of his fights via knockout. He had become so highly regarded that just moments before he faced off with Fabricio Werdum at Orlando’s Amway Center, a poll showed that 88 percent of viewers expected Browne to win. 

Werdum, who had fought only once since the midpoint of 2012, was the UFC heavyweight division’s forgotten man. And anyway, the feeling went, he didn’t have the horsepower to stay on his feet against Browne.  

As it turns out, these assumptions were very, very wrong. When the two met, it was one-sided, but in the Brazilian’s favor. Exhibiting an all-around game that should ignite increased interest in a title match against champion Cain Velasquez, Werdum dominated, earning a unanimous decision.

The judges scored it 50-45, 50-45, 49-46.

How one-sided was it? Werdum out-landed Browne in total strikes 171-77, and more than doubled his output in significant strikes, 121-60. Werdum also landed nearly 70 percent of his overall strikes.

Werdum, who came into the fight at just 232.5 pounds, clearly focused on his conditioning during training, because he never seemed to fatigue when Browne (16-2-1) began to fade after the first round. Werdum sapped Browne of energy after a first-round takedown where he had Browne in submission danger. Browne did well to escape the Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard, but it was the beginning of the end.

Werdum (18-5-1) landed crisp combinations, targeting Browne’s entire body, while Browne soon resorted to throwing single strikes. That became the recipe for success for Werdum, who was so energized that he kipped up from flat on his back to a standing position midway throught he third.

His offensive onslaught didn’t lead to a finish, but he had Browne bloodied by the finish. After improving to 4-0 since his return to the UFC, Werdum will likely be pushed into a title fight with Cain Velasquez, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery and is expected back later this year.