Travis Browne (11-0-1) has been a menacing up and comer who finally got a little widespread respect after clobbering the venerable Stefan Struve at UFC 130 with a first round knockout. The strike stoppage was his ninth in eleven fights with one submission and decision apiece making up the remainder. Eight of his finishes come in the first frame.
Browne has yet to be defeated. The closest he came was a draw to Cheick Kongo at UFC 120 in which Kongo would've been awarded the decision were it not for a point deduction accrued from repeatedly grabbing Browne's shorts. "Hapa" wobbled Kongo with strikes but gradually declined in activity, leaving the door open for his opponent to mount a comeback.
Rob Broughton (15-5-1) is a relative newcomer to the UFC. His debut at UFC 120 was a rear-naked choke on Brazilian Vinicius Queiroz, who was released shortly after for a failed drug test. Representing England's Wolfslair team, Broughton is a former Cage Rage British Heavyweight Champion with wins over Neil Wain and Neil Grove (both of whom had one fight in the UFC; Grove is active in Bellator) along with two over James Thompson via TKO.
Gifs and analysis in the full entry.
Travis Browne scored "Knockout of the Night" for the devastating superman punch he lands on Struve to the right.
The Alliance MMA heavyweight has a thorough kickboxing game, splashing out stiff left high kicks effortlessly and packing monstrous power with his punches.
For a towering 6'7" tall, Browne's agility is astounding. He moves more like a middleweight and assaults with fight-ending strikes from a composed and balanced stance.
Having such deceiving agility makes his raw strength and aggression even more formidable.
Here he impresses with a basic schoolyard shove of the normally physically imposing Cheick Kongo.
Browne rattled Kongo in the first round with a volley of stiff left hands, clearly owning the opening frame. Despite the French kickboxer's eventual comeback, Browne was also successful in taking Kongo down from the clinch (below) and assuming complete control of the pace early.
He's also been highly capable on the ground with solid knowledge of position and subs mixed with the steady pressure of attention-grabbing ground and pound.
Seven of his wins come via TKO; five via submission. In his pre-UFC performances, James Thompson was getting the better of him before he turned the tide and finished with strikes.
He has a perilous tendency to start slow. In his third-round submission of the inexperienced Queiroz (animation to the lower left), Broughton began by absorbing heavy blows that staggered him and was taken down and controlled in the first.
Broughton's best attribute is his never-say-die attitude and unwavering fighting spirit. He's climbed back from the brink of defeat on several occasions and absolutely refuses to quit.
His decision over the experienced gamer Neil Grove and submission of Neil Wain indicate his potential at the upper echelon, but certain losses in the past instill a foreboding feeling against a terror like Browne.
Broughton lost his Cage Rage title to Tengiz Tedoradze, a little known journeyman from Team Rough House who is tough as nails with frightening punching power.
Slick submissionist Ricco Rodriguez was able to manipulate a kneebar to tap Broughton in 2009 and he was overwhelmed in the M-1 promotion by Jesse Gibbs.
Gibbs is no slouch (he holds wins over Dennis Stojnic and Brandon Lee Hinkle; losses to Aleksander Emelianenko and Fabio Maldonado) but Broughton's inconsistency against mid-level heavyweights is a looming concern here.
Browne's affinity to eradicate with lightning-fast combinations (right) will be tough for Broughton to suppress.
Barring the outcome, Browne's fight with Kongo showed a lot of upside and, after steamrolling Struve and James McSweeney, Broughton should be a highlight reel waiting to happen for Browne.
I will happily admit to under-rating Broughton should he prove me wrong on Saturday night, but -- unless he performs at another level than he has in the past -- I see Browne handling him from outside with his cleaving high kick and a blitzkrieg of fierce punches.
My Prediction: Travis Browne by TKO
All gifs via Zombie Prophet of IronForgesIron.com