Fabricio Werdum beat Travis Browne at his own game all night. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Fabricio Werdum spent five rounds exposing the gulf between himself and Travis Browne.
Werdum dominated the ground exchanges and carved up the Hawaiian with straight punches, knees and leg kicks, as he cemented his place as the No. 1 contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight division with a clear-cut unanimous decision in the UFC on Fox 11 headliner on Saturday at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
All three judges scored it for Werdum (18-5-1, 6-2 UFC): 49-46, 50-45 and 50-45.
Browne’s brief glimmer of hope -- he rang the Brazilian’s bell in the first round -- came and went. Werdum established his superiority on the ground and on the feet. His stiff jab turned Browne’s face into a bloody mess, as the two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist piled up the points with perfectly executed striking combinations throughout the lopsided 25-minute encounter. The defeat brought an end to a three-fight winning streak for Browne (16-2-1, 7-2-1 UFC).
Having won his last four fights, Werdum figures to challenge UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez later this year.
‘Cupcake’ Tate Outlasts Carmouche
In the co-main event, former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate overcame a slow start to pick up a unanimous decision over Liz Carmouche. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Tate (14-5, 1-2 UFC), who threw the brakes on a two-fight losing streak.
Carmouche (9-5, 1-3 UFC) kept Tate bottled up through the first five minutes, as she secured multiple takedowns and neutralized her in the clinch. “Cupcake” started to turn the corner in round two, where she put her punches together with more authority and countered a pair of Carmouche takedowns with an attempted standing guillotine choke.
Tate nearly finished it in round three, as she moved into side control following a takedown, transitioned to Carmouche’s back and threatened her with a rear-naked choke for several harrowing moments.
Cerrone Choke Submits Barboza
Jackson-Wink MMA representative Donald Cerrone submitted former Ring of Combat champion Edson Barboza with a first-round rear-naked choke in a featured lightweight clash. Cerrone (23-6, 10-3 UFC) finished it 3:15 into round one.
Barboza (13-2, 7-2 UFC) wobbled the “Cowboy” with a ringing right hand in the opening seconds and controlled the early exchanges with his damaging kicks and hand speed, pairing precise power punching combinations with kicks to the leg and body. Prosperity was short-lived for the Brazilian. Cerrone floored him with a left jab, jumped to his back and cinched the choke in a blink. Barboza had no choice but to tap.
“I wanted to stand and try to give the fans what they wanted,” Cerrone said. “I kind of cur’d up and tried to take him down, and I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ That’s what I told myself.”
Palacio Halts Tavares Streak
High-impact takedowns and violent striking bursts carried American Top Team’s Yoel Romero Palacio to an impressive unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 semifinalist Brad Tavares in a middleweight showcase. Palacio (8-1, 4-0 UFC) swept the scorecards by identical 30-27 marks.
Tavares (12-2, 7-2 UFC) had no answer for the 2000 Olympic silver medalist’s potent combination of athleticism and technique. Palacio snapped back the Hawaiian’s head with a straight left in the first round, swarmed with punches against the cage and dumped Tavares on his back with a swift double-leg takedown. From there, the fight was his.
Palacio sliced open Tavares’ scalp with an exquisite standing elbow in the second round and scored with two more takedowns in the third, closing out the victory with elbow-laden ground-and-pound. The loss halted a five-fight winning streak for Tavares.
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