Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight contender Travis Browne is in the worst slump of his career, but if “Hapa” is going to snap that streak, it won’t come against a soft touch.
Browne will return to action at UFC 213, where he is expected to face powerhouse Russian grappler Alexey Oleynik. While the bout has yet to be announced by the UFC, it was first reported by MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani and has been further confirmed by sources close to the situation on Monday by Sherdog.com.
UFC 213 is scheduled for July 8 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Browne, 34, is 2-5 in his last seven bouts, including three consecutive losses inside the Octagon. After a destructive, first-round knockout loss to Cain Velasquez and a second decision defeat against Fabricio Werdum last year, Browne returned to cage this past February. In the main event of the UFC’s Fight Night bill from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Browne gained an early upper hand but ultimately succumbed to the power punching of Derrick Lewis in the second round.
The 39-year-old Oleynik made history in his last UFC outing, showing off his trademark maneuver -- a rare, no-gi Ezekiel choke -- on Viktor Pesta for a first-round submission. Outside of his majority decision loss to Daniel Omielanczuk last July, “The Boa Constrictor” has won 12 of his last 13 contests with all of those victories coming by way of stoppage, with 10 submissions and two knockouts in that span.
Thus far, only “The Ultimate Fighter”-concluding battle between UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and former Team Alpha Male training partner T.J. Dillashaw has been confirmed for the UFC 213 bill. Bouts between welterweights “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler, as well as a heavyweight rubber match between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum, are expected for the card as well.