UFC on Fox 11 Recap: Werdum Earns Title Shot, Other Contenders Emerge

Fabricio Werdum, Travis BrowneWhile the UFC on Fox 11 card didn’t deliver the type of all-time violence some had projected, it was still a highly entertaining event for the organization on the big network. One title contender was definitively crowned, while a few others made very strong cases for themselves over the course of the 13-fight event. In the main event, Fabricio Werdum (18-5-1) surprised nearly all onlookers by first getting the bout to the mat on multiple occasions, but more so by doing better work on the feet than Travis Browne (16-2-1). The biggest issue for Browne seemed to be his own cardio. This is the first time we’ve really seen him face much resistance in a bout for a long time, and it was not something he seemed to deal with particularly well. Werdum, for his part, showed much improved cardio, wrestling and of course striking in putting together a very solid performance that will earn him a title shot against Cain Velasquez. It’s hard to see anybody envisioning that bout against Velasquez going well for Werdum, as he did his best work in this fight moving forward and the champion simply will not allow that to happen. Werdum’s best hope for success is Velasquez taking him down into a traditional grappling position (something Cain avoids quite well), or landing a big knee from the clinch, but both seem far less likely than the champ stuffing him against the cage and mauling him until Werdum tires and simply can’t take any more. The co-main event was placed rather strangely on this card, as neither Miesha Tate (14-5) nor Liz Carmouche (9-5) are big stars when not buoyed by the presence of Ronda Rousey. The fight turned out fairly tepid for the first two rounds, with Carmouche controlling the majority of the grappling exchanges. Tate threatened with a guillotine for a brief period in the second, which the judges felt was enough to swing the round in her favor. The third featured all of the action in the bout, as Tate took the back and nearly finished the bout with a rear-naked choke in addition to landing some solid ground and pound. Winning this bout really doesn’t do much for Tate, as she was already the third-ranked woman in the bantamweight division, and won’t be receiving a third shot against Rousey anytime soon, which puts her firmly in Jon Fitch-territory. Cerrone BarbozaThe one bout that everyone agreed could not be boring was the lightweight tilt between Donald Cerrone (23-6, 1 NC) and Edson Barboza (13-2), and the two men did not disappoint. Barboza started out in fantastic fashion, with his hands looking as good as ever. He tagged Cerrone on multiple occasions and if his hands carried as much power as his legs, this bout would likely have been over. Unfortunately for Barboza a couple factors came into play. His hands don’t carry a tremendous amount of power, while Cerrone has a phenomenal chin and willingness to engage in firefights. It took nothing more than a stiff jab landing squarely on Barboza’s now unquestionable shaky chin to shake the Brazilian, and ‘Cowboy’ transitioned to the rear-naked choke as few others in MMA are capable of to finish the bout off in the first round. Cerrone should find himself in another title eliminator-type bout, as he always hovers around the top 10 in the division and currently finds himself on a three-fight win streak. Perhaps if the UFC isn’t ready to put Khabib Nurmagomedov into a title fight, that would be appropriate. Kicking off the main card, Yoel Romero (8-1) went to a decision for the first time in his MMA career, but he was dominant in picking up the win over Brad Tavares (12-2). Romero, who normally relies on his striking, showed off the incredible wrestling we all know he possessed but have rarely seen in MMA, and Tavares really had no answer other than being able to hang in there. Romero still overextended himself at times and allowed Tavares to get the upper hand (however briefly) in some of the grappling exchanges, which could prove more troublesome against some of the better grapplers in the division. Overall, Romero definitely announced himself as a contender at middleweight moving forward, and even though I wasn’t sold on the idea of him taking on Tim Kennedy following the TUF Nations Finale, that seems to be a very suitable fight. Another fighter who is ready for contention is Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0), who overwhelmed Rafael dos Anjos (20-7) with his aggression en route to a decision victory. The only problem for Nurmagomedov is that he won by another decision – his fourth in his last five bouts – and that could make the UFC hesitant to push him into a title shot. He also hasn’t received much exposure, and the placement of this bout on the Fox Sports 1 prelims certainly didn’t help. That’s why I think about against a bigger name like Cerrone would be the last step before a title shot, if he can win. The UFC on Fox 11 card was another solid offering of MMA on free TV, but the organization will be switching gears this coming weekend as UFC 172 features Jon Jones taking on Glover Teixeira for the light heavyweight title on PPV. Keep it locked to MMA OddsBreaker for all the news, odds and analysis for that upcoming card. Video Highlights 265 lb title eliminator: Fabricio Werdum vs Travis Browne

135 lbs: Miesha Tate vs Liz Carmouche

155 lbs: Donald Cerrone vs Edson Barboza

Written by Brad Taschuk

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