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UFC 203 fight card primer: Fabricio Werdum vs. Travis Browne

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UFC 203's co-main event is a heavyweight rematch between former champion Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne. All the details are here in our Bloody Elbow primer.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In the co-main event of UFC 203: Miocic vs. Overeem, former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum takes on Travis Browne. This is Werdum's first fight since losing his title to Miocic in front of a stunned Brazilian crowd in May. For Browne, it's a quick turnaround after a disappointing outing at UFC 200. The UFC's official rankings have Werdum as the #1 contender and Browne at #6.

The last time Werdum fought Browne was in April 2014, in what was a five-round main event. Circumstances are different for this one, as Browne is replacing the injured Ben Rothwell on short notice, and his 2nd crack at beating Werdum will only be three rounds instead of five. The UFC 203: Miocic vs. Overeem pay-per-view airs live from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT, with prelims broadcast on FS1 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, and two fights on UFC Fight Pass at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.


How do these two stack up?

Werdum: 39 years old | 6'4" | 77" reach
Browne: 34 years old | 6'7" | 79" reach

What have these two done recently?

Werdum: L - Stipe Miocic (KO) | W - Cain Velasquez (SUB) | W - Mark Hunt (TKO)
Browne: L - Cain Velasquez (TKO) | W - Matt Mitrione (TKO) | L - Andrei Arlovski (TKO)

Odds (via Bookmaker.eu)

Werdum: -200
Browne: +170

How did these two get here?

Werdum has transformed himself into one of the most well-rounded heavyweights, and one of the most decorated heavyweights in MMA history. After winning the interim title with a flying knee TKO of the granite-chinned Mark Hunt, the Brazilian engaged in a thrilling fight with Cain Velasquez in Mexico City in June 2015, taking the belt away from Cain with a 3rd round guillotine choke. Werdum's striking, cardio, and his vaunted jiu-jitsu were all on point, and he pulled off the upset. His reign as champion would be short, however, as he got careless against Stipe Miocic in the UFC 198 main event, and ended up KO'd on a beautiful counterpunch. The loss marked only the 2nd time that Werdum had ever been finished via strikes.

"Hapa" has been on an uneven run in his last 5 fights. It all dates back to when Werdum dominated Browne and won a comfortable unanimous decision in their UFC on FOX headliner. Browne bounced back by stopping Brendan Schaub at UFC 181, but then was TKO'd by Andrei Arlovski in May 2015 after one of the wildest one-round fights in UFC history. Browne stopped Matt Mitrione by 3rd round TKO in January 2016, but there was plenty of controversy surrounding his multiple unpunished eyepokes of Mitrione. At UFC 200, Browne was blown out by Cain Velasquez by 1st round TKO in a rather underwhelming showing.

Why should you care?

It's arguably a must-win for Browne and a win for Werdum keeps his status as the top-ranked contender intact. This is unlikely to be a boring fight, and it'll be interesting to see what adjustments Browne has made in dealing with Fabricio.