Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweights Josh Barnett and Travis Browne fought on the main card last night (Dec. 28, 2013) at UFC 168 from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pitting the No. 5-ranked Browne against the No. 6-ranked Barnett, the bout held important ranking implications in a shallow UFC 265-pound division. An experienced veteran of mixed martial arts (MMA), "Warmaster" recently made a successful return to UFC when he finished Frank Mir at August's UFC 164.
He sought to get on a win streak against "Hapa," who won his last fight with a come-from-behind knockout of Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night 26. It was Barnett's vaunted submissions game against Browne's power striking, and "Hapa's" standup won out in a big way. Let's take a look back at his alarmingly quick finish of the tough Barnett.
The fight began a bit sloppy with Browne sprawling a takedown. Action soon went up against the cage and Browne rocked "Warmaster" with a vicious knee to the face.
"Hapa" began to unleash his trademark elbows, nailing Barnett on the side of the head with some violent shots to immediately put an end to the fight.
Barnett was out cold and dazed with blood pouring out of his face. It was a quick and devastating victory that cemented him as one of the top contenders in a division starved for true title contenders.
"Hapa" called out for a bout with Fabricio Werdum in his post-fight interview. With divisional champion Cain Velasquez on the shelf until late 2014 with a shoulder injury, that's an excellent fight to make so a clear title contender can be decided. Owning three consecutive knockout wins since his late 2012 loss to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, Browne is looking every part of the future of the division.
Barnett was completely outclassed against the best up-and-coming heavyweight prospect in UFC. In an odd reversal of roles, he lost in almost the same fashion that he destroyed Mir, eating a handful of big knee and subsequent strikes on the fence. He'll fall towards the bottom of the heavyweight top 10. A fight with Mark Hunt, could make sense for "Warmaster" once "Super Samoan" returns from the injuries he sustained in his five round war against "Bigfoot" at UFC Fight Night 33.
Barnett appeared dazed and confused after Browne throttled him with ruthless efficiency. The full extent of his injuries is unknown but Barnett did take a trip to the hospital to get his knee checked out. Early reports have indicated that Barnett avoided any serious damage. If that's the case, timing could match up for him to face Hunt sometime next year.
Travis "Hapa" Browne backed up his claim of being the ‘new breed' in the UFC heavyweight division by finishing crafty veteran Josh Barnett at UFC 168. Set to face Fabricio Werdum next, will Browne eventually be the man to take Cain Velasquez' title belt?