Cape Town - For the fighters inside the UFC’s heavyweight division, future title contention could literally be one-punch away.
This couldn’t be more true as two of the UFC’s most athletic ‘big men’, Matt Mitrione and Travis Browne, are gearing up to face off on Sunday (Jan. 17, 2016) in Boston according to Nick Strickland of MMALatestNews.com.
Both are known as the more naturally athletic heavyweights in the division, thanks to past sporting accomplishments, Mitrione football and Browne basketball.
Both will be looking to make quick work of the other and book themselves a one-way trip into title contention.
Mitrione (9-4) has recent UFC wins over Gabriel Gonzaga, Derrick Lewis and Shawn Jordan. The former professional football player has yet to get himself a signature victory that would most certainly propel him into title contention. After building some momentum heading into his last fight against Ben Rothwell a “silly” mistake cost him what would have been that ‘signature’ win over a very tough and streaking Rothwell.
Now, should Matt be able to shake off the small errors and do what he does better than most, we could well witness KO victory number 9. With superior footwork and the athletic ability to do things a man of his size shouldn’t, ‘meat head’ needs to stay patient and keep the fight standing. With the more technical striking of the two Mitrione would most certainly jump up in the rankings (currently outside of top 10) and be in the title mix with a finish on Sunday.
Browne (17-3-1) on the other hand has always been in the mix for the heavyweight title. Unfortunately falling short against the now champion Fabricio Werdum in what was a No. 1 contenders match-up. Browne, who like Mitrione, is a naturally gifted athlete despite his size. A very tall and strong fighter Browne has also won a huge majority of his fights via K.O and will be looking to add Mitrione to the list.
Also, a talented wrestler and grappler Browne seems to hold the slight advantage even though we rarely see him use these skills. With victories over Josh Barnett, Alistair Overeem and Brendan Schaub on his record, he has always been another key victory away from the title picture. Most recently in action at UFC 187 where he was stopped by Andrei Arlovski, the Hawaiian is looking to get back to his old winning ways.
Having been in the media a lot recently due to issues outside of the 8 fenced walls of the Octagon, Browne will have to win this fight should he want to be serious contender in 2016.