For the first time in almost two months, fight fans had the opportunity to witness an event with a UFC title fight on the line. Jon Jones defended his light heavyweight title against challenger and former training partner Rashad Evans, in what was an anti-climatic finish to a fight card that was full of great fights and finishes. Two of those great finishes came from the big boys, Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell.
Browne made quick work of prospect killer Chad Griggs, when he landed a flying knee followed up by a takedown, ultimately culminating in an arm triangle choke submission forcing Griggs to submit.
Rothwell, coming off a loss in Denver to Mark Hunt and looking in the worst possible shape a professional athlete could be in, got the memo. He came in to his UFC 145 heavyweight tilt against Brendan Schaub at a hulking 263 pounds, but he certainly wasn't carrying the amount of body fat UFC fans have been accustomed to seeing him carry in to his fights. Rothwell got in shape and it showed in his performance.
Despite eating some punches early against Schaub, Rothwell took advantage of his opponent's over-zealousness, and countered with a left hook that sent Schaub to the canvas after some unnecessary ground and pound put Rothwell back on the map in the UFC's heavyweight division.
Unfortunately for Schaub, he has been knocked out in three of his seven UFC appearances and has dropped two straight. Schaub is dangerously close to getting his walking papers, something Rothwell was trying to stave off himself.
"You can take a look at me, and it speaks for itself. I worked very, very hard for this one," Rothwell told Joe Rogan post-fight inside the Octagon. He has re-invented himself physically and knows he's given his fighting career fresh legs to run on.
With the two dominant victories by the hulking heavyweights last night coupled with their relative positions in the UFC heavyweight division, it only makes sense to have these monsters throw leather against each other in a fight that would be sure to produce fireworks.
Rothwell, at 6'5" and 263 pounds, and Browne, at 6'7" and 250 pounds, makes for a true heavyweight bout; the kind of fight the fans love to see. This would be a good fight to put on free television to get more mainstream fans on board the UFC hype train.
A seasoned veteran, Rothwell not only throws knockout punches but, despite some losses, can take a punch like few can in mixed martial arts.
Browne, somewhat of a prospect in the heavyweight division, boasts an undefeated record with his biggest UFC win over 6'11" Dutch fighter Stefan Struve via superman-punch knockout. He is one of the more athletic guys in the heavyweight division, and has the potential to be one of the more exciting fighters in the UFC.
Both men fought on the same card, both are coming off first-round finishes and both men look like they'd be ready to fight again sooner rather than later. Look for the UFC to put this fight together for an upcoming FOX, FX or Fuel TV card. If not, one or both men could probably be used to help patch up UFC 146 now that Alistair Overeem is off the card and Cain Velasquez is without an opponent.
Leon Horne is a writer for Bleacher Report and is part of the B/R MMA interview team.
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