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UFC 181 fight card: Travis Browne vs Brendan Schaub fight preview

Knockout artists Travis Browne and Brendan Schaub will battle this Saturday (Dec. 6, 2014) at UFC 181 inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. With such potential for a knockout, what adjustments must be made for either man in order to claim victory? Find out how below!

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweights Travis Browne and Brendan Schaub will look to get their names into title contention this Saturday (Dec. 6, 2014) at UFC 181 inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

After winning three straight fights via first-round knockout against increasingly tough opposition, Browne ran into Fabricio Werdum and was dominated en route to a decision loss. Now, he'll look to recover with a violent victory.

Schaub has been utilizing his grappling quite a bit lately, which led to victories over Lavar Johnson and Matt Mitrione. In his last performance, Schaub lost a questionable decision to Andrei Arlovski, who has since announced himself as an unlikely title contender. To get back in the win column, Schaub will need to overcome the odds against "Hapa."

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for each fighter.

Travis Browne

Record: 16-2-1

Key Wins: Josh Barnett (UFC 168), Alistair Overeem (UFC Fight Night 26), Stefan Struve (UFC 130)

Key Losses: Fabricio Werdum (UFC on FOX 5), Antonio Silva (UFC on FX 5)

Keys to Victory: Well over six feet tall, Browne is an excellent heavyweight blend of speed and power. He also has displayed a toughness uncommon among heavyweights, which he showcased in his bouts with Overeem and Werdum.

For the most part, Browne is a sprawl and brawl fighter. However, the "sprawl" portion also accounts for many of Browne's knockouts, as he's famous for his counter elbows when wrestling against the fence. Overall, Browne has finished an impressive 12 foes via knockout.

This fight is all about creating a connection with Schaub's chin. Technically, both men are fairly equal in most areas, though Schaub likely holds the edge in jiu-jitsu. However, the intangibles definitely fall to Browne, as he's stronger, more durable, and is one of very few heavyweights that can match Schaub's athleticism.

Therefore, Browne can freely chase his opponent down with combinations. As long as he keeps his feet under him, Browne should throw heavy punches whenever possible. If he connects with a hard shot or forces Schaub to shoot a crappy double, Browne will likely be able to capitalize and finish.

To help land his punches, Browne should look to his kicks if Schaub circles heavily. Browne kicks hard, so it won't take more than a few successful round kicks to deter Schaub from moving so much.

Brendan Schaub

Record: 10-4

Key Wins: Matt Mitrione (UFC 165), Gabriel Gonzaga (UFC 121)

Key Losses: Ben Rothwell (UFC 174), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (UFC 134)

Keys to Victory: A former professional football player, Schaub is one of the quickest fighters in the heavyweight division. He's developed into a well-rounded heavyweight, with dangerous offensive boxing and smooth ground skills.

Not only is "Big Brown" quick, but he can crack, evidenced by his seven knockout victories.

In this bout, Schaub needs to rely on his speed. If he can utilize in-and-out movement, then Schaub may be able to avoid many of Browne's power shots.

Schaub attempted to do something resembling an in-and-out gameplan in his last fight but made a couple of mistakes. Most importantly, he was incredibly predictable. Each time Schaub stepped into boxing range to strike, he threw an incredibly obvious overhand right.

Additionally, Schaub's volume was weak. Against Browne, he really needs to up his pace, which will score him points and force Browne to exhaust himself trying to keep up.

The other benefit of utilizing this type of game plan is that Schaub could mix in unexpected takedowns. Schaub has a definite grappling advantage, which could lead to a finish and would definitely tire Browne out.

Bottom Line: Since heavyweight frequently has a dearth of legitimate title challengers, any match up between top fighters can result in a new contender.

This is especially true for Browne. "Hapa" was nearly a title contender, and though he came up short, that doesn't eliminate the path of destruction he carved en route to that fight. At most, Browne is a couple of impressive victories away from another title contender opportunity.

However, a loss would seriously hurt Browne's momentum. As Werdum continually proves, he's a great and crafty fighter, which makes that loss excusable. Schaub, on the other hand, has never achieved that level of success.

Despite having wins over two top 15-ranked fighters and a very tight bout with the No. 7-ranked fighter, Schaub is somehow unranked. Obviously, he'd like to change that, and a win over an opponent in the top five is a sure way to do just that.

In this case, a knockout loss would be particularly devastating for Schaub. He's been faced with rumors for years now that his chin isn't up to par, and a defeat here would only give them further credence.

At UFC 181, Travis Browne and Brendan Schaub will go to war. Which man will walk away with a win?

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