UFC on Fox 11 is live this Saturday night from Orlando Florida at the Amway Center and features an exciting card, the main event being a battle between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne, with the winner receiving a title shot against heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez, in Mexico. That title shot was just confirmed by Dana White, although Valasquez is finishing up rehab after having surgery on his torn labrum. In addition to the impending heavyweight fireworks, there is an explosive lightweight match between Cowboy Cerrone and Edson Barbosa, and a tilt in the women’s bantamweight division between fan favorite, Miesha Tate and former marine, Liz Carmouche.
#2 Fabricio Werdum (17-5-1) vs #3 Travis Brown (16-1-1) – Heavyweight
On paper, this fight looks like a classic grappler vs striker, but no fighter gets to this level by being one-dimensional. Werdum possesses more jiu-jitsu medals than anyone can fit in a case, but he has his share of TKO victories and has displayed strong Muay Thai against opponents like Roy Nelson. Browne is a KO machine, with his last three wins coming by knockout that also earned him knockout of the night honors from the UFC. Browne is no slouch on the ground though, and is adept at crushing opponents when they try to take him down.
Werdum was scheduled as the next contender up to face Velasquez, but due to the champ’s layoff due to injury, Werdum elected to take on Browne. The decision may cost Werdum a shot at the strap, but it goes a long way in the fight world, as waiting for the champion to heal up is generally looked down upon. The prediction is Browne will score a TKO in round two after the combatants spend the first round figuring each other out.
#3 Miesha Tate (13-5) vs #7 Liz Carmouche (8-4) – Women’s Bantamweight
Before Werdum and Browne battle for a title shot, two former contenders will square off in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Carmouche was one of the first two women to step into the Octagon, and was just centimeters away from sinking a rear naked choke over the champ, Rhonda Rousey. Tate, whose feud with Rousey is well publicized, was the first to take the bantamweight queen out of the first round, and out of the second for that matter, before the inevitable arm bar loss. Tate has lost three out of four and needs a win to stay relevant as a fighter instead of just a personality. Carmouche has lost two of her last three, and has fallen down the rankings. Desperation is a factor for both camps, but expect Tate to mix it up with strikes and secure a unanimous decision win.
#8 Donald Cerrone (22-6) vs #11 Edson Barboza (13-1) – Lightweight
When Cowboy Cerrone steps into the Octagon it is considered must see TV. Has this guy ever been in a boring fight? For his part, Edson Barboza is a human-highlight reel. When he is not knocking guys out with leg kicks, he is winning knockout of the year awards by wheel kicking them in the face. Any calls of nature should be ignored, as this one can and should end at any moment. Barboza is in his prime, and the path to becoming a contender is before him. Cerrone is 32-years-old and putting together possibly one last run at a title. The fashionable pick may be Barboza, but the prediction here is that Cerrone wins a vicious trade of strikes and knocks out Barboza in the very first round.
#13 Brad Tavares (12-2) vs #14 Yoel Romero (7-1) – Middleweight
Though he is 3-0 in the UFC, Olympic wrestler, Romero, has faced scrutiny as being the real deal as an MMA fighter. The 36-year-old will face a huge test in the form of Tavares, who has won five consecutive bouts in the Octagon and his only career UFC loss was a short-notice fight that ended in a decision. Tavares tends to win by decision, which keeps him under the radar for many fight fans, and expect the same here. A six-fight win streak though is impossible to deny and will garner attention.
The main card will be preceded by nine preliminary fights that will take place Fox Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass. The night should be exceptional on Fox, as a UFC heavyweight title shot will likely be given to either Werdum or Browne and many of the divisions will see rankings shakeups after the finish.
Commentary By Matt Stinson