Top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight contenders Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne collided once again last night (Sept. 10, 2016) at UFC 203 inside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Since losing his title, Werdum’s demeanor has clearly been different, meaning the Brazilian was more than determined to ascend the ladder once more. Opposite Browne — a man he had battered once before — Werdum was looking to make a statement.
This was a must-win fight for Browne. He’s already suffered some ugly losses as of late, and he really couldn’t afford to be shut down by another top fighter. Plus, this one was personal for Browne, as there was quite a bit of heat between the two athletes. The rivalry didn't help him in the least. Unlike the first bout, it was Werdum who struck first. He came out of the gate with a massive flying side kick that somehow landed, and he didn't waste time in continuing to smash Browne with kicks right after.
Browne landed several nice punches, but the opening round was all Werdum. Toward the end of the round, he tagged Browne with a hard right hand and dropped him. Werdum pursued the finish and took his foe’s back, but he ran out of time.
The pace slowed quite a bit in the second round, but Werdum was still able to land whenever he chose to throw. Browne tried to counter, but he came up short on most of his punches and didn't throw all that much. Really, Browne’s only real success came in defending takedowns. Whenever he did land a nice punch or kick, Werdum would return with a higher volume of strikes.
The Brazilian was undoubtedly up 2-0 heading into the final frame.
The third round slowed even further, as Browne did very little to create offense. For the most part, he just moved around at range, allowing Werdum to land hard kicks without much effort. When Browne did strike, Werdum returned harder.
Meanwhile, Werdum was pretty content to coast to a decision victory. He was clearly winning the bout, though he didn't show much of a sense of urgency. Neither did Browne, but at least Werdum was winning.
Once again, Werdum has picked apart Browne en route to a decision win. This time around, Werdum doesn't really gain any ground, but he does confirm that he's still an elite Heavyweight. Werdum’s more technical kickboxing once again allowed him to control the bout. Browne just doesn't have any real rhyme or reason to his striking, which let Werdum establish his range and punish the lankier fighter.
Following this victory, Werdum is back in the immediate title mix. He could conceivably receive a title shot, but matches with Cain Velasquez or Junior dos Santos are also options. As for Browne, he really didn't do much of anything in this bout. His game simply revolves around being large and athletic, which isn't much of an accomplishment at Heavyweight.
When forced into exchanges, Browne’s defense really falls apart. He's extremely hittable, and his counter punching is still too predictable to prevent opponents from ignoring it and going on the offensive. On the bright side, Browne is still a tough bastard who can take a ton of shots. Together with his athleticism, that will allow him to hang around the bottom of the top 10, but he's not going to climb any higher unless he develops more skill.
Last night, Fabricio Werdum battered his opponent with kicks and punches for three rounds. Can the Brazilian regain his title?
For complete UFC 203: "Miocic vs Overeem" results and play-by-play, click HERE!