The Target Center in Minneapolis, MN will play host to the fifth installment of the UFC on FX series. A pair of heavyweights who’s careers are moving in opposite directions will face off in the main event. Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva will take on the undefeated Travis Browne in an important matchup.
Silva came into the UFC with high expectations. He is a former champion in three smaller organizations & went to the semi-finals in the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix. After losing his Strikeforce debut to Fabricio Werdum he went on a 3 fight win streak capped off with a surprising victory in the Grand Prix over ‘The Last Emperor’ Fedor Emelianenko.
He went on to lose his next fight to eventual tournament winner Daniel Cormier in the next round. He then debuted in the UFC against former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. He lost by TKO in the first round & for the first time in his career he lost 2 fights in a row.
Friday night he will take on Travis ‘Hapa’ Browne. Browne does not receive the notoriety he deserves since he has not lost a fight in 14 bouts. With 4 wins in the UFC and 13 overall, Browne is on a very positive roll that may lead him near the top of the division in 2013. Even though Silva is on a two fight losing streak, a win by Browne over a veteran who has a solid resume will propel him into a much bigger fight.
While Browne did win his last fight against Chad Griggs with an arm triangle submission he is more known for his knockout ability. 9 of his 13 wins have come via the knockout or TKO. Silva was once known for a solid chin but with back to back losses to strikes, Browne will test his chin one more time.
Silva has 11 KO/TKO wins out of his 16 victories so everything points to both men turning this into a striking war. For a man of his great size, Silva moves much better than one would expect. Browne has proven he can beat large heavyweights as he knocked out the 7 footer Stefan Struve in 2011.
Silva generally comes into his fights as the bigger fighter. Brown is 3 inches taller so any advantage Silva would normally have is gone. Silva’s recent track record against strikers is very poor. Add that to the size disadvantage, this fight does not line up well for him. Silva may want to get this fight to the mat & use his superior Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to his advantage. If not, his chin will be targeted once again.
Silva may be on the chopping block if he loses this fight decisively. If this is in the back of his mind it may be motivation enough to put on the best fight he can. Browne has nothing to lose as he has is only 30 years old & has many years left. With a dominating win he will be catapulted up the ranks & set up with a top fighter pushing him close to a title opportunity in the not too distant future.
Brown is on his way to the top & Silva is moving in the opposite direction. It is a crossroads for the two of them. Can Browne take the next step to be a legitimate contender or can Silva bounce back & avoid being cut & become a relevant fighter in the division?
At the end of the day both men are professionals & should bring their best game to this fight. Being in a main event is something new for Browne so he may feel the added pressure. So far nothing has seem to affect him & once the cage door closes all butterflies should settle as he focuses on the task at hand. Silva is a veteran of several big fights & shouldn’t be bothered at all. His concern is a loss may end his UFC career. Both men are motivated & expect them to deliver a quality fight for different reasons.
Written by Mike McPhee
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