UFC fans have certainly been spoiled recently, with this, UFC on Fox 11, being the third fight card in a little over a week.
Headlining in the Amway Center, Orlando, Florida, will be a heavyweight bout between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne that is all set to determine who will take on UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez, as soon as Velasquez returns to fitness.
The rest of the main card ain’t too shabby neither.
(#2) Fabricio Werdum vs. (#3) Travis Browne – 265lbs.
Since returning to the UFC in 2012, Fabricio Werdum looks a fighter renewed. Rattling off three straight wins against Roy Nelson, Mike Russow and ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira, Werdum has quite rightly positioned himself for a shot at the title. However, Werdum has one last obstacle in the way, and it’s a big one, 6ft7 Travis Browne. Browne has been equally impressive of late, triumphing in his last three contests against Gabriel Gonzaga, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett, all by KO/TKO and all securing him the ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonus.
Werdum will hold a sizeable advantage over Browne if this one hits the mat, but I can’t see Werdum taking him down. Browne has solid defensive wrestling and has shown that if you spend too long in the clinch trying to secure a takedown, you will receive a steady diet of elbows. Browne will take this, likely through KO/TKO, and move on to challenge for the belt.
Prediction – Browne via KO/TKO
(#3) Miesha Tate vs. (#7) Liz Carmouche – 135lbs.
Both Tate and Carmouche have struggled in the UFC since the creation of the women’s division, with both mounting unsuccessful title challenges against the dominant Ronda Rousey, but at least Carmouche has tasted victory the once in her three contests. Tate, on the other hand, has gone 0-2, with another coming defeat to Cat Zingano, but it is highly unlikely that either of these women would be cut due to their popularity and the need for names in the UFC’s women division.
Carmouche will hold a strength advantage over Tate and her best route to victory will be through the utilisation of her wrestling, it’s just too bad that Tate’s wrestling is superior and that Tate carries the better hands.
Prediction – Tate via decision
(#8) Donald Cerrone vs. (#12) Edson Barboza – 155lbs.
This is the kind of fight that you can’t fail to be excited for. In Cerrone and Barboza we have two of the most dynamic, creative and feared strikers in the UFC’s lightweight division. The ever-busy Cerrone has won his last two, with a submission finish over Evan Dunham and a head kick KO over Adriano Martins, while Barboza is riding a three-fight win streak with his most recent victory coming over Danny Castillo back in December.
Technically, both of these guys are pretty even on the feet, with Barboza having the ever so slight edge in power, but it’s on the ground where Cerrone will hold quite an advantage. If Cerrone fights smart, he should be able to drag Barboza to the mat and work his submission game to conclusion.
Prediction – Cerrone via submission
(#13) Brad Tavares vs. (#14) Yoel Romero – 185lbs.
Both Tavares and Romero have looked impressive of late, but neither have secured a signature win that would really announce their arrival as middleweight contenders. This pairing seems to be designed to find out which one is ready for an assault on the top 10 of the division.
Romero certainly has the power to trouble Tavares, but I expect Tavares to utilise his more refined striking and solid defensive wrestling to good effect.
Prediction – Tavares via decision