Last weekend’s UFC on Fox 10 event simply didn’t deliver. For whatever implications there were going into the card, nothing really seemed to sort itself out in any divisional hierarchies.

Jeremy Stephens outclassed a game Darren Elkins, but we didn’t see any fireworks. Granted, give a ton of credit to Elkins’ ability to take a shot, yet it wasn’t the performance on the biggest stage to get the Stephens train the steam it needs to bring about title-contention talk.

Donald Cerrone had a spectacular knockout over Adriano Martins, but that was almost expected. There was always the chance that the underdog Martins could land a lucky shot, and Martins is a longtime MMA veteran and very talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, yadda yadda yadda. The fact is, “Cowboy” Cerrone’s opponent had only one previous UFC fight, and he was the small fish in a very big pond.

Stipe Miocic outpointed Gabriel Gonzaga, but much like the Stephens fight, no one’s clamoring for a Miocic title shot. Gonzaga gassed after the first round (insert sarcastic surprise here), and a reserved Miocic didn’t start pouring the offense on until it was too late.

And the main event. Oh, that main event. Besides the fact that it was uneventful, apparently Josh Thomson can repeatedly take Benson Henderson’s back and still lose a decision. Thomson was supposed to be next in line against current champion Anthony Pettis. Now, he’s talking retirement. “Bendo” walked away with another controversial split decision (insert another dose of sarcastic surprise), and judging in mixed martial arts is still, for the most part, atrociously terrible.

Enough talk about UFC on Fox 10, though. Let’s all get that bad MMA taste out of our mouths by looking towards the future and the next UFC on Fox main event between heavyweights Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne.

The winner is slated to face champion Cain Velasquez. Both these contenders have exciting styles that should deliver come fight night. That is, unless Werdum does that Brazilian butt-scoot thing he did against Alistair Overeem in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

We’re going to take a look at each fighter, how they stack up against each other, and how they would look against Velasquez.

Travis Browne

Browne may very well be a future champion. Coming into his fight with Werdum, he has a 16-1-1 record, and is 7-1-1 inside the Octagon. The only blemish on his resume is a TKO loss to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, and this stoppage came after Browne had injured himself in the fight. The Hawaiian fighter is massive in stature, weighing in usually around 250 pounds and standing 6-foot-7.

“Hapa” trains in Albuquerque at Greg Jackson’s gym, and not only does that mean excellent coaching and training partners, but also an extremely well-rounded game. Look no further than his results. He knocked out a taller Stefan Struve with a devastating superman punch and submitted Chad Griggs. Gabriel Gonzaga and Josh Barnett suffered similar fates when they pressed Browne up against the cage, only to be met with vicious elbows to the side of the head that knocked them out.

Perhaps Browne’s most impressive victory was against Alistair Overeem. Yes, he was able to knockout the former K-1 champion with a front kick and punches, but what really showed was Browne’s heart and courage, because, boy, was Overeem putting a whooping on him.

Browne continues to grow as a fighter and is currently ranked fifth in The MMA Corner’s heavyweight rankings. Also noteworthy, especially for his upcoming fight with Werdum, is the fact that he is yet to be taken down while fighting in the UFC.

Fabricio Werdum

Long before “Vai Cavalo” was fighting in the UFC, he was dominating in world-class jiu-jitsu tournaments. Forget the heavyweight division, Werdum may have one of the nastiest ground games in all of MMA. As opposed to some jiu-jitsu studs who haven’t been able to make the transition to MMA, Werdum’s striking game has come a long way since he was knocked out by Junior dos Santos in 2008.

Werdum was actually holding his own on the feet against Overeem in their 2011 fight, but continued to look passive by dropping down and pulling guard, and performing the aforementioned Brazilian butt scoot.

Of course, what Werdum will always be known for is his submission of Fedor Emelianenko. The Brazilian ended the heavyweight great’s 21-fight unbeaten streak, which spanned almost a decade.

Since joining the UFC again, Werdum has looked impressive on the feet with a decision win over a tough opponent in Roy Nelson and a TKO win over Mike Russow. Werdum was also able submit another jiu-jitsu great when he scored an armbar win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

The Match-up

At an early glance—with fingers crossed that no one gets injured before the fight—I’d have to go with Browne. However, it will be interesting to see what the Vegas lines are when they actually come out.

The fact that Browne has never been taken down to the mat is just too much of a factor to overcome when considering Werdum’s potential for victory. Of course, the same thing could happen to Browne as happened to Fedor, with Browne rushing in and getting caught. Don’t expect that outcome, though. Browne is an extremely well-coached fighter who won’t make those kinds of mistakes.

Werdum has had a significant increase in striking competence, but he hasn’t faced a fighter like Browne yet in his second UFC stint.

Against The Champion

Here’s where it gets tricky. Although it’s easy to envision that Browne will make short work of his next opponent, it is Werdum who has the better shot against the champion, Velasquez.

Why?

Well, Velasquez will take anyone down. If he wants the fight on the mat, it is going to the mat. Browne won’t be able to pull off his elbows to the side of the head against a wrestler of that pedigree.

With Werdum, though, you just never know. His guard is nasty. If Velasquez puts Werdum on the canvas, the Brazilian could still prove lethal from off his back.

Now, we’ll all have to see how these two men perform before we make real judgments about how they’d do against the champion. As it stands now, however, it’s doubtful thatI either would emerge with the victory.

That being said, Werdum has that signature x-factor. He has slayed a giant before, and he could do it again.

About The Author

Zach Miller
Staff Writer

Zach is a Boston native and has had a fascination with martial arts since playing Mortal Kombat at five years old. He was introduced to MMA after watching The Ultimate Fighter 5: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn. A recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Zach seeks to one day become a full-time MMA journalist. In addition to watching the sport, he has also trained in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. Zach has also written for NortheastMMA.