Two of the most exciting heavyweights in the world are set to collide at this years inaugural year-end event, UFC 168 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Travis Browne (15-1-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) Ranked #5 and Josh Barnett (33-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC) Ranked #7, are set for a three round war that has many fans expecting carnage.
Browne, coming off of his biggest victory over heavily favored Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs Sonnen, in which he faced a heavy barrage of explosive knees to the body that left him on the brink of defeat so it seemed, withstood the devastating power of “The Reem”, and came back with a first round front kick to the face knock out that solidified his biggest victory to date. Riding a two fight win streak, Browne is steadily working towards a possible title shot, and with a victory over “The Warmaster”, he could be set for a title contender match sooner than later.
Barnett, a stand out in the Heavyweight division for over a decade, despite not competing in the UFC since his release in 2002 due to testing positive for banned substances, a demon that Barnett has faced many times in his career, has been facing the stiffest competition possible in all the other main promotions. “The Warmaster” is coming off of a controversial referee stoppage of Frank Mir at UFC 164, which left many fans including myself claiming an early stoppage, will be looking to implement his top-level grappling pedigree and powerful striking skills against Greg Jackson’s prodigy.
Browne’s last two victories have come in devastating fashion. His victory over long-time stand-out in the division Gabriel Gonzaga came from some massive elbows to the side of the head during a clinch against the cage, and the previously mentioned win over Overeem has shown the heart and determination he displays during each battle he is presented with.
But will Browne’s will to win be enough against the former “Baby Faced Assassin”? Prior to returning to the UFC, Barnett competed in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, in which he showcased phenomenal jiu jitsu against Sergei Kharitonov, and with Fedor Emelianenko being defeated by Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, he was the odds on favorite to win the coveted crown of Grand Prix champion, before Daniel Cormier derailed him and dominated his way to victory.
“Hapa” has a ton of momentum coming off of his last couple fights but should have his hands full with the longtime top ten heavyweights in the world and former UFC Heavyweight Champion. Barnett’s furious style has been sharpened with such opponents as Mirko Cro-Cop Filipovic, Minotauro Nogueira, Randy Couture and a couple insane battles with Pedro Rizzo have earned him the respect that he is due. With only two defeats in the last seven years, Barnett has racked up an impressive record against some stiff competition.
With all the expertise that each of these two athletes bring to the table , fans will be in for a highly competitive battle.
Bottom Line: It’s just too early in Travis Browne’s career to face a complete animal that is Josh Barnett! Although Browne has displayed excellent stand-up, his ability to withstand Barnett’s take downs, ground and pound and submissions will just be too much for the Hawaiian native. My professional opinion, Barnett submits Browne in the second round.Tags: alistair overeem, antonio "bigfoot" silva, barnett vs browne, Chael Sonnen, daniel cormier, Fedor Emelianenko, frank mir, greg jackson, Josh Barnett, minotauro nogueira, Mirko Filipovic, randy couture, sergei kharitonov, Shogun Rua, travis browne, UFC 168