UFC on FX 5: Questions We Have About Travis Browne
Travis Browne is one of the hottest prospects in the UFC’s heavyweight division. He’s undefeated in a 14-fight MMA career and was ranked this month as No. 10 on B/R’s list of the best heavyweights in the world.
That’s quite a hype-train behind the man who’s notched up three straight wins in his last fights against the likes of Stefan Struve, Rob Broughton and Chad Griggs. On Friday he is set to face his toughest challenge yet, Antonio “Big Foot” Silva at UFC on FX 5 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Silva is coming off two losses, but with wins over Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski to his credit, he will prove to be a formidable challenge for the former TUF contender.
Here are some burning questions we have about the man.
Can he keep the pace into the third round?
Browne has finished nine of his 14 fights inside the first round; he rarely goes into the third. When he does, he is a shadow of the man that he was when he entered the Octagon.
In his fight against Rob Broughton, the fighter looked tired and weak as he gasped for air and grinded out a decision victory in September last year.
The year before, he was fought to a draw by Cheick Kongo, despite dominating the first round, because he couldn’t carry the momentum into the third.
Browne certainly has knockout power, but that power quickly vanishes as he goes deeper into the match. The big question is whether he’s learned to sustain that threat in the later rounds. Silva will be looking to find out.
How will he fare against a seasoned veteran?
Big Foot Silva, for all his faults, is the most experienced fighter Browne will have ever faced. And that experience doesn’t just come in terms of years—it's having fought the big fight events.
Browne’s most imposing opponent, thus far, has been Cheick Kongo. That’s a far cry from the quality of fighter that Silva’s had to face, such as Fabricio Werdum, Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez—not to mention the last emperor himself, Fedor Emelianenko.
That in itself means this is a big step up in competition for Browne, and that brings with it all the pressure of cementing his position in the top 10. How will he cope?
Can he handle a top-level grappler?
Scoring a “Submission of the Night” against Chad Griggs is one thing, but to repeat that feat against BJJ black belt Antonio Silva is quite another.
Browne is only a BJJ purple belt himself and has never fought a wrestler or ground fighter of any caliber. He clearly does well when fighting sluggers, but if Silva turns this into a grappling match, we might see another story.
Is he really a top 10 fighter?
It’s a bold move to place Browne in the top 10—especially considering he has yet to face another top-ranked fighter.
Defeating the Chad Griggs and Rob Broughton's of this world is one thing, but the heavyweight division is thick with talent, and as of yet there’s no telling whether Browne really belongs there.
A win against Silva would, however, settle it.
Where does he go after Silva?
Admittedly beating Silva would be one of the most significant victories in Browne’s career, but let’s remember that Silva himself is on a two-fight losing streak.
All the glories of having become only the second man to have ever defeated Fedor Emelianenko, and in such convincing fashion, have long since faded. Silva doesn’t make for a top 10 opponent, so the burning questions we have for Browne is—who will?
One obvious answer is Stefan Struve, a man who just convincingly vanquished the much fancied Stipe Miocic via TKO in the second round last Saturday. However, Browne has already defeated Struve by knockout in the first round and will be reluctant to revisit that ground again, particularly as the Dutchman seems so resurgent.
Another possibility would be to take on the winner of Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin in December. But then, would either fighter take him into the top five where he wants to be?
Khurram Aziz is Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @khuramaziz1981
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