UFC President Dana White announced at a press conference on Thursday that the winner of the UFC on Fox 11 main event showdown between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne will fight heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in Mexico, barring any unforeseen complications.
Fox Sports' Damon Martin tweeted the news Thursday afternoon during the conference:
Velasquez was already scheduled to face Werdum in Mexico some time in 2014, but after the champ underwent surgery for a torn labrum on his left shoulder, the UFC halted expansion efforts to Mexico, and the fight was delayed.
After realizing that Velasquez needed a considerable amount of time to recover, the promotion booked Werdum vs. Browne in the meantime at UFC on Fox 11 on April 19. The winner of this fight was expected to receive a title shot at the time of announcement.
At the press conference, we learned that this is indeed the case, and the title fight will take place in Mexico, where Velasquez will undoubtedly enjoy a strong home-field advantage.
While this news is not exactly shocking, it does add some intrigue to the UFC on Fox 11 main event.
Since Werdum and Browne are ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the UFC heavyweight division, most fans and critics expected a title shot to follow for the winner.
For his part, Browne pieced together a three-fight winning streak in 2013—all via knockout and all against solid opposition in Gabriel Gonzaga, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett.
Werdum, meanwhile, has fought just three times since February 2012 with his most recent fight coming against Antonio Rodgrio Nogueira in June 2013.
During that stretch, Werdum posted a 3-0 record with a TKO victory over Mike Russow, a decision victory over Roy Nelson and a submission via armbar victory over Nogueira.
Browne has been the more active of the two recently, and he has also posted the more impressive victories, in my opinion.
I believe Werdum can beat Browne, and not by some fluke. Tempted to pick him. But Browne's size, speed and athleticism will be too much.— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) April 17, 2014
That said, Werdum's muay thai is ever-improving, and his Brazilian jiu-jitsu game is arguably the best in the weight class, making him a considerable threat anywhere the fight goes.
Who do you see taking the fight and meeting Velasquez in Mexico? Will it be Werdum or Browne?