Early Thoughts on UFC 168 Heavyweight Fight Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne in December

Josh_BarnettSomeone at the UFC must not like Travis Browne much.  I could not help but think that when it was announced that he would face Josh Barnett at the UFC 168 event in Las Vegas at the end of the year (Dec. 28, 2013).  After all, Browne is coming off a solid win against Alistair Overeem which extended his winning streak to two, and he’s being talked about as a potential long-term prospect.  Unfortunately for Browne, Barnett represents a major roadblock for his next outing. When the lines are released at the sport books, look for Barnett to be favored over Browne by a good margin.  Barnett is simply the more complete fighter in terms of skill-set.   Barnett has the size and stature to negate some of “Hapa’s” height advantage, and his skill set is far more diverse than Browne’s. The glaring advantage for Barnett is on the ground, where Browne is not strong.  Barnett is a load once on top of you and has a good number of submissions under his belt.  The fear in this fight is that Barnett will come in and not fool around with a stand up fight; he will look to clinch and get to the floor in top position.  There he will end the fight, and the trajectory of Travis Browne will have been derailed in ugly fashion.  If this happens, one would have to wonder if matching Browne with someone like Stipe Miocic would not have been better for Browne’s development and would not have been better from a fan entertainment perspective as well. Barnett could come in and stand with Browne.  Barnett’s combination of Greco Roman wrestling, Thai clinches along with use of kicks, elbows and knees make him a more dangerous stand up fighter than Browne, who is reliant on landing his big punch or kick, but Browne will have a chance if the fight remains standing.  It bears remembering that Browne faced a pretty aggressive attack from Alistair Overeem and had to weather a storm before getting his big shot off and ending the fight.  Browne is going to likely look to counter strike, as rushing Barnett would likely lead to an easy takedown for his opponent.  It took him a while to get off against Overeem, and though he showed guts in hanging in there, he will not want to be in the same spot with Barnett, who is more likely to finish if he gets him in a similar position. Barnett was already in the title hunt as a top 5 contender, and this match should only add another W to his resume.  A win here may earn Barnett a date with the UFC Heavyweight champion next.  If he does, look for a Barnett title fight sometime in 2014.

Written by Miguel

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