UFC 168 Date: December 28, 2013 Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena City: Las Vegas, N.V. Heavyweight bout: Travis “Happa” Browne (+165) vs “The Warmaster” Josh Barnett (-190) Fight Breakdown: The main card for UFC 168 on Pay Per View will feature a heavyweight war between the always tough Hawaiian Travis “Hapa” Browne and “The Warmaster” himself, Josh Barnett. Browne is the underdog is this scrap at +165 ($100 to win $165), and Barnett is the favorite at -190 ($190 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. TRAVIS “HAPA” BROWNE (15-1-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) is coming off a very impressive come-from-behind victory over Alistair Overeem. “The Reem” had Browne hurt badly early in the first round. In fact, everybody watching the fight was yelling for Mario Yamasaki to step in and stop it. He did not, however, and Browne recovered as Overeem gassed. Overeem ignored Browne’s high kicks, and on either the fourth or fifth kick, Browne hit Overeem right on the button, and sent him crashing to the canvas, where he followed up with punches, until the ref in. The win made it back-to-back first round knockouts for Browne, and he will look to take his win streak to three in a row with another upset over another veteran in Josh Barnett. “Hapa” is a 6’7″ Hawaiian-born beast training out of Jackson-Winklejohn MMA in Albuquerque, NM under the tutelage of coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn. He’s a striker who packs a lot of power in his kicks, elbows, and especially his knees, and punches. Browne certainly a knockout artist in the UFC’s heavyweight division, as 11 of his 15 career victories have come by way of knockout; nine of them impressively in the first round, with seven of them in under two minutes. He is a very fast athlete, especially for a heavyweight. He has good footwork and moves really well on the feet. His Muay Thai is solid and improving, and he is good at counter striking. While only a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, “Hapa” is talented on the mat, as well. His submission game and grappling are improving. His defense grappling is very good, too, as he defends takedowns very well. Browne is a durable fighter with a good chin and above average conditioning. I think he will be prepared to go all three rounds against Barnett, should the fight go the distance. It is worth noting that the lone blemish on Browne’s professional mixed martial arts career resume is a first round TKO loss that came at the hands of Brazilian heavyweight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Browne was doing alright in the beginning of the round, then he “pulled a hammy”, and was eventually stopped by Silva. “THE WARMASTER” JOSH BARNETT (33-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) returns to the Octagon, following a controversial first round TKO victory over Frank Mir at UFC 164 nearly four months ago. He had Mir hurt, but many feel the fight was stopped a little early. Mir himself felt he was still in the fight and defending, waiting for Barnett to tire himself out from the heavy output of strikes. It was a benefit of the doubt that Travis Browne got in his fight against Overeem which Mir did not get in his, even though Browne was in much more trouble than Mir was. While I agree that it was an early stoppage, I think that Barnett would have probably finished it in another 10 or 20 seconds. “The Warmaster” is an incredibly talented grappler who possesses excellent takedowns, and scores them every which way possible. He excels in both wrestling and the submission game, as is evident in the fact that 13 of his 33 professional mixed martial arts victories have come by way of tapout. Once in top position, Barnett is relentless with the pressure, as he looks for submissions while attacking with strikes. He transitions very well, moving from position to position. To compliment his wrestling, he is solid in the striking department as well. He has kickboxing skills and loves using all limbs, especially his knees. Barnett is dangerous everywhere, and the fact that he will have a cardio advantage in this match-up makes him even more dangerous. He can keep the pressure on Browne for all 15 minutes of action without tiring himself out, and I believe that’s what he will be looking to do, if he doesn’t secure the finish. Fight Prediction: I think Barnatt is going to capitalize on the holes in Browne’s striking game, most of which were exposed by Overeem. I think he will get the better of “Hapa” both on the feet, and on the mat. I believe Barnatt is the superior mixed martial artist, and will have his hand raised at the end of the fight, I’m just not sure if it will be a finish or a decision. Gabe’s Pick: Josh Barnett by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Plays: Josh Barnett (-190) parlayed with Rousey ITD (-575) for -126 12.6u to win 10u, my MONSTER play for this card. Also, Barnett (-190) parlayed with Dustin Poirier (-225) for +120 2u to win 2.4u, Barnett (-190) parlayed with Estevan Payan (+160) for +296 2u to win 5.9u, and Josh Barnett by Decision (+413) 2u to win 8.26u.