Werdum dominates Browne at UFC on FOX 11, earns title shot

Nissi Icasiano
Werdum dominates Browne at UFC on FOX 11, earns title shot
Fabricio Werdum defied the odds in outclassing Travis Browne, earning himself a shot at UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez

Fabricio Werdum cemented his status as the next challenger for the world heavyweight title by outclassing Travis Browne in the main event of UFC on FOX 11 on Sunday morning (PHI time) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

The 36-year-old Brazilian was counted out by many to win over Browne, but he proved his doubters wrong as he dominated the 6-foot-7 Hawaiian on both stand-up and ground exchanges to claim the unanimous vote of 49-46, 50-45 and 50-45.

Fighting for the first time since his spectacular submission victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC on FUEL TV 10 in June 2013, “Vai Cavalo” spent the first round evading and countering the heavy offense from Browne.

However, “Hapa Browne” came out swinging and was able to tag Werdum with his wild punches that sent his pesky foe down to the mat, but the Brazilian recovered and dragged Browne to the canvas, ceasing the striking fireworks.

As the trade went back to the feet, Werdum landed a crushing kick to Browne’s ribs, hurting him in the fading seconds of the opening salvo.

In the second and third rounds, Werdum threw more perfectly executed striking combinations, which turned Browne’s face into a bloody mess.

The two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist placed Browne out of his game by scoring another takedown and scaring his opponent with a Kimura lock attempt.

Taking rights of every facet of the heavyweight clash, Werdum employed his stiff jabs with pristine vindication and blended a wider variety of foot-strikes to bring an end to Browne’s three-fight winning streak.

With an improved professional record of 18-5-1, Werdum stretches his victory parade to four fights and has won seven of his last eight outings, which included an exultant run in the now-defunct Strikeforce organization.

As guaranteed by UFC president Dana White, Werdum is next in line to have a shot at Cain Velasquez’s UFC heavyweight belt.

Velasquez was last seen in action when he successfully defended his golden strap by stopping Junior dos Santos in the fifth round of their rubber match at UFC 166 this past October.

Unfortunately, the 6-foot-1 Mexican-American tore his glenoid labrum on his left shoulder during the grueling encounter and was required to undergo a surgery that put him indefinitely on the sidelines.

After recognizing that Velasquez needed an extensive amount of time to recover, the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion booked Werdum vs. Browne in the main event of UFC on FOX 11 to determine the next contender.

“My goal is to become the heavyweight champion. That’s all the matters now,” Werdum said during the post-fight press conference.

White did not give a specific date for the highly-touted meeting Velasquez and Werdum or the location for the title tilt.

“Cain is still recovering from his shoulder injury, but once he receives the green light from his doctor, we will definitely sit down and discuss this with him,” the UFC head honcho stated.

On the other hand, Brown tastes his second loss in his career and drops his win-loss card to 16-2-1.

Miesha Tate back on winning track

After two consecutive setbacks, former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight titlist Miesha Tate is back in her winning form by ousting one-time UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche in the co-headliner of UFC on FOX 11.

Although it seemed that Carmouche might have gotten the better of Tate in the initial proceedings, all three cageside officials saw it in Tate’s favor by indistinguishable 30-27 marks on their score-sheets.

Despite the slow start, the 27-year-old “Cupcake” put her wits together in the second round, where she countered a pair of takedowns from Carmouche and tried to fasten a standing guillotine choke.

Tate almost finished the female bantamweight contest in round three as she moved into side control following a takedown, transitioned to Carmouche’s back, and threatened her with a rear-naked choke.

“We both have such a strong fighting spirit, and I knew neither one of us would quit. It took me a little bit to get going and then finally, in the third round, I really got my energy up and was able to do what I do best. It feels great to finally get this first UFC win,” she admitted in her post-fight interview.

Tate wins for the first time since August 2012 she outpointed Julie Kedize that was followed by back-to-back defeats to Cat Zingano and UFC women’s 135-pound queen Ronda Rousey.

Meanwhile, Carmouche has dropped two bouts in a row and downgrades her MMA record to 9-5.

In other matches, Donald Cerrone used a single punch to turn the tide of his lightweight scuffle against Edson Barboza, dropping the Brazilian prospect with a jagged jab before climbing on his back and submitting him with a rear-naked choke.

Yoel Romero halted Brad Tavares’ five-fight winning stripe by unanimous decision with 30-27 counts across the panel. – Rappler.com

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