Before Chris Weidman defends his UFC middleweight title against former champion Anderson Silva and prior to UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey defending her title against Miehsa Tate, two of the promotions top ten heavyweights will meet on the pay-per-view portion of UFC 168.
If the UFC gets its wish, the winner of that heavyweight fight, which pits No. 5 ranked Travis Browne against No. 6 ranked Josh Barnett, will meet No. 2 ranked Fabricio Werdum in a fight that could determine who will face UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez when he returns from shoulder surgery in late 2014.
Browne (15-1-1) was matched up against Barnett (33-6) after his come from behind win over Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night 26. Early in that fight it looked like Browne was not going to make it out of the first round.
Overeem had Browne against the cage, delivering several knees to the body that dropped Browne to the mat. With Browne on his hands and knees against the fence, Overeem proceeded to tee off with rights to Browne's head, looking to finish the fight. As Browne covered up attempting to defend the blows, referee Mario Yamasaki leaned in looking for a sign as whether the fight should continue. During the Countdown to UFC 168, Browne described what happened next, "All of a sudden a big, huge feeling of disappointment came over me when I thought about my kids, and thinking about their dad losing like that off of body shots. It's like there's no way their dad is going to lose like this."
Shortly after that epiphany, Browne was able to regain his feet while Overeem continued to throw shots to Browne's head. When Browne fully regained his feet, he landed a combination that provided separation from Overeem. Browne was able to take advantage of the space his striking afforded, landing a front kick that put Overeem down, where Browne pounced and finished the fight with punches.
The knockout at 4:08 of the first round earned Browne his fourth fight night bonus in eight UFC bouts, and second consecutive Knockout of the Night award.
Browne's inspiration during the Overeem fight, his two sons, Kaleo and Keawe are the reason he is gunning for a win over Barnett and eventual UFC gold, "I want to give my kids the opportunities that I didn't (have), that's all," said the 31-year-old contender.
UFC 168 takes place on December 28 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
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