Two heavyweights who's careers were moving in completely opposite directions battled it out inside the Octagon last night (Oct. 5, 2012) as Antonio Silva looked to end his two-fight skid against unbeaten prospect Travis Browne in the main event of UFC on FX 5 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"Bigfoot" Silva, after moving into the mix with the top six or seven heavyweights in the world following his dismantling of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, was reeling from consecutive first round stoppages to American Kickboxing Academy standouts Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier respectively.
Browne, on the other hand, had stepped his game up a notch moving his training camp permanently to Albuquerque with Greg Jackson and was hoping last night would be his coming out party.
But instead, Browne would crash and burn following a freak injury and "Bigfoot" capitalized, scoring an emphatic TKO stoppage to get back on track in the division.
So how did it all play out? What set up the injury? And where do both talented heavyweights go from here? Our Antonio Silva vs. Travis Browne UFC on FX 5 post-fight review and analysis are posted below.
At the beginning of the bout, Browne came out aggressively throwing kicks which showcased his quickness and athleticism. These weren't just regular kicks either. He whipped out a spinning wheel kick, something you would never see from a heavyweight. (That's the kick that Edson Barboza posterized Terry Etim with earlier this year if you're wondering).
When Browne tried another aggressive push kick, Silva pounced with a right hand straight down the pipe that caught him and forced him to reconsider being so "cute" with his offense.
After the first 30 seconds, something seemed off. Browne was still utilizing some unorthodox movement to try and confuse Silva, but he was favoring his left leg and he definitely buckled a bit when stepping in for an overhand right attack which Silva blocked by keeping his lunchboxes he calls his fists held high.
Silva wisely closed the distance, pressing "Hapa" into the fence in the clinch and perhaps thinking about a takedown, but Browne fended him off by threatening with knees from the Thai plum and blatantly grabbing the fence (he should have been deducted a point immediately). It was at this time that commentator Kenny Florian noticed Browne gingerly walking about the cage.
Browne buckled badly again when stepping forward with a left hook and Silva smelled the blood in the water. He countered nicely with a right hand which caught the Greg Jackson-trained fighter and after Browne backed himself into the fence, a leg kick and then a massive right hand put Browne down. Some follow-up ground and pound put him away for good.
For Travis Browne, this loss was mostly out of his control. He hurt his leg early (apparently his hamstring) and his biggest advantage, which was his speed and athleticism, was completely taken away from him. His blatant cage crab was a big factor in the bout as he prevented a Bigfoot takedown when being pressed against the fence. Perhaps the injury could have been avoided if he wasn't moving around so herky jerky like Dominick Cruz (there's a reason only fighters below 155 pounds move like that, it's called physics) or perhaps he just got a raw deal with an extremely untimely injury. Either way, he deserves some props for trying to scrap it out anyways and going out on his shield.
Once Browne recovers, there are plenty of options available to him. The most obvious one is Stipe Moicic, who also recently saw his unbeaten streak come to an end. It would quickly get one of the prospects back on the winning track with a quality win. Other options include the formerly unbeaten Shane Del Rosario or perhaps Mike Russow.
For Antonio Silva, he made the best of a good opportunity. It's also not like he was getting manhandled on the feet before Browne hurt himself either. He was landing some pretty accurate counter strikes in response to Browne's diverse attack and was scoring some big shots. He smartly closed the distance, getting in some effective clinch offense and when Browne looked vulnerable, he capitalized, stepping inside with a leg kick and throwing one of the heaviest right hands he's ever thrown in his career. It caught "Hapa" on the chin and that was all she wrote.
With the win, Silva is back and deserves to keep getting fights against major competition. A bout against Stefan Struve (suggested by Jesse Holland) probably makes the most sense right now. Other options include Mark Hunt or perhaps the upcoming Shane Carwin vs. Roy Nelson winner.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Was this simply a case of Silva being the better man? Or do you think it would have been a completely different story if Browne had not been injured?