Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:30 AM
Just hours after 'Big' Ben Rothwell pulled out of his UFC 203 co-main event against Fabricio Werdum due to a knee injury, Travis Browne was named as his replacement.
Werdum (20-6-1 MMA, 8-3 UFC) destroyed Browne in the UFC on FOX 11 headliner by capturing a unanimous-decision win (50-45, 49-46, 50-45) as a +200 underdog in April of 2014. That victory earned him a shot at Cain Velasquez's heavyweight championship.
However, Velasquez had to withdraw from the UFC 180 bout in Mexico City because of an injury. Mark Hunt stepped up on short notice to face Werdum for the interim heavyweight strap. After Hunt dominated most of the opening round, Werdum scored a second-round KO with a flying knee to the face.
Then Werdum took on Velasquez to unify the heavyweight belts at UFC 188 in Mexico City. Velasquez made a critical mistake by not flying down to Mexico until less than two weeks before the bout.
On the other hand, Werdum had already fought at the venue at the high altitude. He also spent a month of his UFC 188 training camp in Mexico City.
Without being acclimated to the elevation, Velasquez's gas tank, which is normally his greatest strength, became a weakness in Round 2. Then in the third stanza, Werdum perfectly sprawled on a Velasquez takedown attempt and expertly locked on a sick guillotine choke that forced a quick tap.
However, in his first title defense, Werdum suffered a first-round KO loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 198 in Brazil.
Miocic will headline the UFC 203 card in his hometown of Cleveland by defending his belt for the first time against Alistair Overeem.
Browne (18-4-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) took a 16-1-1 record into his first match with Werdum. Since then, however, 'Hapa' has lost three of five fights, including first-round KO setbacks to Andrei Arlovski at UFC 187 and Velasquez at UFC 200 on July 9.
Browne owns notable career victories over the likes of Matt Mitrione, Brendan Schaub, Josh Barnett, Overeem, Gabriel Gonzaga and Stefan Struve.