Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE and Esther Lin via MMA Fighting
MMAmania's Brian Hemminger previews tomorrow night's UFC on FX 5 main event between heavyweights Antonio Silva and Travis Browne. What's the key to victory for both men? Find out inside.
Browne has been a bit of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thus far in his UFC career, at times dazzling fans with his athleticism and knockout power, but then following up by fizzling out after the first round. He's got an opportunity in front of him to showcase his full potential in Minneapolis.
Antonio Silva was on the best run of his career before a pair of horrific first round stoppage defeats have raised questions about his ceiling. "Bigfoot" is still one of the meanest staredowns in the sport but he's going to have to prove a lot of doubters wrong if he wants to hand Browne his first defeat.
Can "Hapa" remain spotless in his career? Will Silva stop the skid? What's the key to victory for both men tomorrow night?
Let's find out:
Record: 12-0-1 overall, 4-0-1 in the UFC
Key Losses: none
How he got here: Travis Browne got his start in early 2009, fighting six times in five months and demolishing everyone in his path. He competed in multiple organizations from King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge and even Bellator.
"Hapa" punched his ticket to the UFC with a trio of knockouts in a combined 52 seconds from Nov. 2009 to Feb. 2010. He made his UFC debut against James McSweeney and cracked the Grudge-trained fighter's skull inside the first round to make his mark in the promotion.
The Jackson's MMA fighter was thrown to the wolves in a "sink or swim" match against Cheick Kongo at UFC 120, but Kongo seemed to have a fascination with Browne's shorts, clutching on to them like they were made of the finest silk. Due to a point deduction, the bout was ruled a draw.
Browne got a shot against the gigantic Stefan Struve at UFC 130 earlier this summer and knocked "The Skyscraper" down with a huge right hand when the giant went for an ill-advised flying knee after holding his own for the first few minutes.
"Hapa" showed his inconsistency once again against Rob Broughton, winning a grueling decision that was very un-fan friendly. He followed up by destroying Chad Griggs at UFC 145 in his last bout, winning by submission for the first time in his career.
After a bout against Ben Rothwell was scrapped due to late injury, he's back and ready to headline his first show against Antonio Silva
How he gets it done: Travis Browne packs one hell of a punch. He's got as powerful a right hand as just about anyone in the UFC heavyweight division and he can end a fighter's night very quickly if he can land it flush.
The key will be for Browne to show up in terrific shape, like he did against Struve and Griggs, be light on his feet, and take advantage of Silva's defensive liabilities. Browne should be able to get in, land strikes, and get out before Silva can react due to his lack of speed.
Speed kills in this match-up and if Browne can score with his fists or his flying knees, he could very well take advantage of Silva's deteriorating chin. We've already seen Silva lose by knockout and via cuts in his last two bouts so if Browne can keep the pressure on him and land that big blow, it could be three for three with stoppages.
Record: 16-4 overall, 0-1 in the UFC
How he got here: Of all places, Antonio Silva actually began his MMA career in the United Kingdom. "Bigfoot" began his training at the Wolfslair academy in the UK. After destroying everyone in his path in England, Silva branched out, losing to Eric Pele at Bodog Fight before settling at EliteXC.
He would shine in EliteXC, winning four straight over the likes of UFC veterans Wesley Correira and Ricco Rodriguez before winning the promotion's heavyweight title against Justin Eilers. He would be popped for steroids after the victory and never got a chance to explain himself or defend his belt before the promotion folded with the Kimbo Slice debacle.
After a couple easy wins in Japan, Silva signed with Strikeforce to compete against its stocked heavyweight division. Silva would drop a decision to Fabricio Werdum in his promotional debut.
"Bigfoot" briefly found his stride, defeating the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Mike Kyle and most impressively of all, ground and pounding Fedor Emelianenko to oblivion this past February in the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in a career-defining victory.
Silva would be upset by the eventual tournament winner Daniel Cormier, losing via first round knockout and before he'd get another opportunity to fight for Strikeforce, he was signed to the UFC's heavyweight division. When Frank Mir got a title shot, "Bigfoot" stepped up to the co-main event against Velasquez, but was brutally battered in the first round, losing via cut after being bombarded with elbows by the former heavyweight champ.
Now, Silva is looking to get on the right track and he's got a tough task ahead of him in the undefeated Browne.
How he gets it done: Silva's size is his biggest advantage. He's got to find ways to make that size work for him and it's not going to be by standing in the pocket and trading punches.
"Bigfoot" needs to close the distance whether it's with a takedown attempt or by pushing Browne into the fence. He's got a strong clinch game and could bully Browne against the cage with knees and punches while wearing him down.
Also, Browne has slowed down tremendously in his fights that get out of the first round so if Silva can simply hang on and let his conditioning work for him, he could take over later in the fight. This is a five round fight and Browne has not looked very good when a fight goes the full three rounds, whether alone five.
If Silva can wear Browne down and survive the first round, his chances of pulling off the upset go through the roof.
Fight X-Factor: The biggest X-Factor for this fight has to be the experience disparity. If you look at Antonio Silva's last six fights, he's stepped into the cage against the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski, Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez. Travis Browne hasn't fought anyone even close to on that level name recognition or career accomplishment yet at this point in his career. While he's got a ton of hype, he's still a bit unproven. Silva has seen it all against some of the best who have ever competed and that could play a huge factor here.
Bottom Line: The first round of this fight is going to be can't-miss television. The potential for a finish is going to be through the roof and fans will likely be on pins and needles waiting for whatever explosive maneuver is about to happen. After the first round? It's anybody's guess. Browne has not looked good if his fights go to decision and if this fight somehow goes all five rounds, the fans are likely going to be on the losing end. That being said, the odds of a first round finish are much better.
Who will come out on top at UFC on FX 5? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!
Which heavyweight will win the main event of UFC on FX 5 tomorrow night?
Travis Browne (19 votes)
Antonio Silva (16 votes)
35 total votes