Night of Contenders in Orlando (UFC on Fox 11 Review)

ufc_on_fox11The UFC would travel to Orlando for the first time ever and as is usual with a new city the UFC would put on a great card. The UFC on Fox 11 would see a number of contender fights that would go a long way to determining the next challengers for a number of different weight classes. It was an important time for a lot of fighters on the card and that included the two men in the main event. Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum would face off for the #1 contender spot in the always competitive heavyweight division. For Browne it was a chance to achieve his goals after spending four years in the UFC. When he made his debut in 2010 Browne seemed like he had plenty of promise. He would beat James McSweeney in his debut and go on to win three of his next four fights, the other was a draw. After a loss to Antonio Silva Browne would begin another run through the division against some of the biggest names in the UFC. He would earn KOs over Gabriel Gonzaga, Alistair Overeem, and Josh Barnett to earn his chance at the heavyweight division. It has seemed that Browne was destined to fight for the title as he had run through great fighters and only needed one more win against Fabricio Werdum to get that shot. Werdum was looking to end the run though and had a much longer and more winding road to this point. Werdum began his MMA career in 2002 and worked his way into the legends of Brazilian fighting through PRIDE. He would make his UFC debut in 2007 where he would lose to Andrei Arlovski in his debut. He would move on to KO Gabriel Gonzaga and Branden Vera to begin a run through the heavyweight division. It would come to an end against Junior Dos Santos though and with the KO loss to the eventual champion Werdum would find himself without a place to fight. He would move to Stirkeforce and begin a path to try to earn his way back to the UFC. With wins over Antonio Silva and Fedor Emelianenko would be enough for the UFC to bring him back in 2012 where he would get a big win against heavyweight contender Roy Nelson. He would add Mike Russow and Antonio Nogueira to the list of wins and would earn a shot at the top contender spot at UFC on Fox 11. It has been a long road for Werdum who seemed almost sure to fight for the title for his first stint in the UFC until one loss saw him lose his job. Now he finally gets a second chance to move up in the weight class and a chance to earn the title shot that he seemed to be headed towards years ago. As both fighters stepped into the octagon they would be looking at a classic matchup of striker against BJJ practitioner. Browne has the power to end fights and has done just that against some of the best fighters in the division. Werdum has power as well but is a world champion BJJ practitioner that would prefer the fight goes to the mat where he can end it against anyone. It was a very important fight for both fighters as a win meant a date with the UFC Heavyweight Championship against the man many consider to be the best Heavyweight ever in Cain Velasquez. The prize may not be the prize that a lot of people would want but for Browne and Werdum it is the exact prize that they were both hoping for. The fight would see a massive reverse of what most people had expected as many expected Browne to try to keep the fight standing while Werdum was expected to try to take the fight to get to the ground. Instead Werdum would look to show everyone that he was able to outstrike the heavy-handed Browne. It turned out to be the right strategy as Werdum and Browne spent little time on the mat while Werdum showed great standup. Werdum would dominate the standup fight and would last the entire five rounds pressing forward. He would earn the unanimous decision win for this effort on the feet and would earn a chance to fight for the title. Browne would take the loss and would show his weakness of not being able to withstand a five round fight. He will be back though and is sure to make another run at the title. Werdum will now face off against Cain Velasquez for the heavyweight title when Velasquez recovers from shoulder surgery. It is the accomplishment of his career as Werdum finally gets his shot after years outside the UFC in a fight that is sure to change the life of the Brazilian.

Before the heavyweight took the centre of the octagon two women would take the focus and would have the chance to return to the title conversation. The Women’s Bantamweight division has been ruled by one fighter since it began. Ronda Rousey was named the champion when the UFC announced that women would be added to the UFC. Since then she has yet to lose and has dominated the women’s division with few true challengers to potentially beat her. The only two fighters to ever give her some type of challenge would be Liz Carmouche and Meisha Tate. She would still win these fights both with Armbars. Still Carmouche and Tate are the only two fighters to ever challenge Rousey. Carmouche would lock in a submission that seemed to be the beginning of the end of the fight until Rousey reversed it and locked in her armbar.  Meanwhile Rousey’s biggest rival Meisha Tate would be the only fighter to take Rousey out of the first round, although eventually losing via third round armbar. The fact that both fighters would push Rousey further than anyone meant they both remained among the top fighters in the division and at UFC on Fox 11 would get the chance to set their spot in the title race. With Alexis Davis set to face Rousey at UFC 175 the next contender may very well come out of this fight between Carmouche and Tate. The fight would see Tate come out looking a little bit too relaxed in the fight and Liz Carmouche would take full advantage. Carmouche would come out to a much better start in the fight taking an early lead in the fight. That would change as the fight moved on though as Tate would begin to get more aggressive and look to end the fight early. Tate would begin to go after submissions to end the fight while Carmouche was stuck trying to defend. With Tate in control for the majority of the fight after a slow start she would take the win. Despite the win it was not her best performance and as a result may not be thrown into the title conversation as Tate may need to prove herself again if she hopes to get a shot. Meanwhile Carmouche showed heart in not tapping out when she was in tough but the loss means she has more work to do in trying to get back to a title fight.

 

Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
When Donald Cerrone and Edson Barboza were put on the card everyone expected a bonus and Cerrone would not disappoint as he would earn the bonus for his submission win that came at the end of the first round that he was clearly losing

Performance of the Night
It was the first fight for Alex White in the UFC and he would make sure he made an impression on the night when he earned an extra $50,000 for his KO win earning a Performance of the Night Bonus

Fight of the Night
Thiago Alves would return to the UFC in a big way when he earned the Fight of the Night bonus that was as much about his performance as it was about Seth Baczynski’s sheer will to never give up

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Fabricio “Vai Cavallo” Werdum def. Travis “Hapa” Browne
(Unanimous Decision)

Main Card:
Meisha “Cupcake” Tate def. Liz “Girlrilla” Carmouche
(Unanimous Decision)

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone def. Edson Barboza “Junior”
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd .1)

Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero def. Brad Tavares
(Unanimous Decision)

Undercard:
Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov def. Rafael Dos Anjos
(Unanimous Decision)

Thiago “Pitbull” Alves def. Seth “Polish Pistola” Baczynski
(Unanimous Decision)

Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal def. Pat “Bam Bam” Healy
(Unanimous Decision)

Alex “The Spartan” White def. Esteban “El Terrible” Payan
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Caio “Hellboy” Magalhaes def. Luke Zachrich
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Jordan “Young Gun” Mein def. Hernani Perpetuo
(Split Decision)

Dustin Ortiz def. Ray “The Tazmexican” Borg
(Split Decision)

Mirsad Bektic def. Chas “The Scrapper” Skelly
(Majority Decision)

Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis def. Jack “The Outlaw” May
(TKO; Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events

UFC 172: Jones vs. Teixeira (Saturday April 26th; 10:00 pm ET)
Baltimore, Maryland (Baltimore Arena)
Main Event: Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Glover Teixeira [Light Heavyweight Title]
Notable: Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis vs. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson
Notable: Luke Rockhold vs. Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch

UFC Fight Night 40: Brown vs. Silva (Saturday May 10th; 10:00 pm ET)
Cincinnati, Ohio (U.S. Bank Arena)
Main Event: Matt “The Immortal” Brown vs. Erick Silva
Notable: Costas Philippou vs. Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin
Notable: Erik “New Breed” Koch vs. Daron “Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank

UFC 173: Barão vs. Dillashaw (Saturday May 24th; 10:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
Main Event: Renan “The Baron” Barão vs. TJ Dillashaw [Bantamweight Title]
Notable: “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler vs. Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger
Notable: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco “Cisco” Rivera

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