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Werdum vs. Browne: Complete Guide to UFC on Fox 11 Fight Card

Scott HarrisFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2014

Werdum vs. Browne: Complete Guide to UFC on Fox 11 Fight Card

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    Travis Browne
    Travis BrowneDavid Becker

    So, this card is pretty good.

    Don't let the lack of a title fight fool you. UFC on Fox 11, which goes down Saturday night from the Amway Center in sunny Orlando, Fla., is one luxurious event. It's all shined-up stretch Hummers and glowing double coronas sweeping up the Amway Center red carpet, which you could actually take home for an amazing price thanks to a unique multi-level marketing model that cuts out the middleman and brings unbelievable products directly to your doorstep.

    It's all extremely high-end. At the top of the card is a clash between arguably the two best heavyweights not named Cain Velasquez in No. 2 Fabricio Werdum and No. 3 Travis Browne. 

    But the slate goes 13 deep, and that bench depth is rock solid. Here's a complete guide to the full fight card, from Fight Pass to finale, including information capsules on each fighter and matchup, predictions and viewing coordinates. Light 'em up.

Derrick Lewis vs. Jack May

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    Division: Heavyweight
    Records: Derrick Lewis (9-2), Jack May (7-0)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Derrick "The Black Beast" Lewis is not a subtle fighter. He has nine pro wins, with eight knockouts. He has tree trunks for arms and likes to use them to hurt people's heads.

    I was disappointed to learn that Jack May is not a British bare-knuckle pugilist who just arrived here in a time machine from 1889. His name is "The Outlaw," though, and he has six of his seven wins thanks to the KO, so those things kind of make up for it, I guess.

    Both are making their UFC debut and are looking to make an impression the only way they know how. And you know what? That's good for us. Lewis has more experience, particularly on the sport's larger stages, and that could be the difference.

    Prediction: Lewis, TKO, Rd. 1

Mirsad Bektic vs. Chas Skelly

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    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Mirsad Bektic (7-0), Chas Skelly (11-0)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    If you care even a little about the UFC prospect scene, this is your undercard. And it starts with the debut of 23-year-old Bektic, one of the most well-regarded up-and-comers of the past two years.

    He's a powerful fighter who knows what to do and when to do it. He prefers to smear opponents across the canvas with ground-and-pound, but he can hold his own just about anywhere.

    But if you're slumbering on Skelly, it's time to wake up. The 28-year-old trains with Team Takedown, which means Johny Hendricks is a workout partner. Skelly is a wrestler first and foremost, so it won't be so easy for Bektic to bully him.

    Both men are talented, but Bektic might have too much in the stand-up phase. Both men have bright futures; Bektic's is a little brighter.

    Prediction: Bektic, TKO, Rd. 2 

Dustin Ortiz vs. Ray Borg

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    Dustin Ortiz (left)
    Dustin Ortiz (left)USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Flyweight
    Records: Dustin Ortiz (12-3), Ray Borg (6-0)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    The prospect train continues unabated with Ray Borg, the 20-year-old who signed five days ago and just fought April 4 in the minor league Legacy FC.

    Borg is quick, athletic and a very good submission fighter. But Ortiz is tenacious, especially on the ground, and he's probably not going to go to the mat unless it's on his own terms. If the action stays standing, a damaging power left is his stock-in-trade.

    Ortiz is 1-1 in the UFC, but that split decision loss to John Moraga could have been a win. He'll get back on the good foot against Borg. Fighting on a week's notice and for the second time in a month (and making his UFC debut, no less) is just too tall of an order.

    Prediction: Ortiz, unanimous decision

Jordan Mein vs. Hernani Perpetuo

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    Jordan Mein
    Jordan MeinDerek Leung/Getty Images

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Jordan Mein (27-9), Hernani Perpetuo (17-3)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Let's keep the prospect theme going, shall we.

    Mein was on quite a roll in early 2013. The Canadian stand-up wunderkind was a winner in nine of his last 10, including an impressive first-round TKO against Dan Miller in his UFC debut.

    But not unlike the great rock stars of our era, he went for too much too soon. A month after his debut, he stepped in against Matt Brown, and those wings of wax and feathers, well, they just melted away.

    He's been cooling his heels ever since, and now that he's finally returning, the UFC isn't exactly hugging him to its bosom. Nova Uniao camper Perpetuo left his Shooto title for the UFC, and the well-rounded 28-year-old hasn't lost in four years.

    This is yet another bout that will determine which young gun is ready for the showdown. I'll go with Perpetuo because of Mein's cage rust potential and the Brazilian's presumed edge on the ground.

    Prediction: Perpetuo, submission, Rd. 2

Caio Magalhaes vs. Luke Zachrich

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    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Caio Magalhaes (7-1), Luke Zachrich (13-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Magalhaes doesn't win as many style points as some of his other Nova Uniao teammates. As he showed against Nick Ring, Magalhaes likes to swing for knockouts, but if that doesn't pan out, he has the endurance and grappling acumen to draw out the action and wear down the other man.

    Zachrich has journeyman written all over him, having competed in no less than 11 different shows over an eight-year career. The 32-year-old has earned his big UFC break, but I don't know that he'll be able to do much with it against the powerful Brazilian grinder.

    Prediction: Magalhaes, unanimous decision

Estevan Payan vs. Alex White

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    Estevan Payan
    Estevan PayanUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Estevan Payan (14-5), Alex White (9-0)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    After two straight losses, Payan has his back against the wall. It's always hard to count out anyone in that situation, especially Payan, an aggressive fighter who can attack from the clinch and is hard to shake once the action hits the mat.

    He'll be too hard to shake, in fact, for White, a promising prospect who looks just a little too green for the UFC. "The Spartan" has yet to compete beyond the regional circuit besides one contest for Titan FC last summer. He has some tools, and this fight will be another good lesson.

    Prediction: Payan, unanimous decision

Jorge Masvidal vs. Pat Healy

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    Pat Healy
    Pat HealyUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Jorge Masvidal (25-8), Pat Healy (29-18)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Healy hasn't been the same since the positive marijuana test that erased a win over Jim Miller in his UFC return bout, not to mention $135,000 in bonus money.

    That hurts. But what may have hurt even worse are the two losses he's suffered since. Taken together, the powerful takedown artist just needs a win. Any kind of win.

    Jorge Masvidal seems, on paper at least, to be a good matchup for that result. Masvidal is reasonably rounded and a dangerous striker. But Healy should be able to smother him and get his first official Octagon victory. 

    Prediction: Healy, unanimous decision 

Thiago Alves vs. Seth Baczynski

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    Thiago Alves
    Thiago AlvesJeff Chiu

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Thiago Alves (19-9), Seth Baczynski (19-10)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    "All hail the return of Thiago Alves!"

    Shhhh, are you crazy? He's not even in the cage yet. He could still fall in the sauna. He could get sick before weigh-ins. He could step on a rake. He could tear a bicep high-fiving a fan during walkouts. 

    It's been that kind of stretch for Alves, the popular muay thai wrecking machine who hasn't competed in more than two years because of injuries. During that layoff, he celebrated his 30th birthday, too.

    Can he ever recover the bounce in his step that made him one of the UFC's most fearsome welterweights? That's an open question, but Baczynski is definitely a good person to help answer it. He's a game fighter who can handle his business anywhere, though he's especially proficient on the ground—a classic weakness of Alves.

    However, I think Alves wins the day here. He will sprawl on Baczynski's takedowns and score an emphatic win to get back on the map. Assuming he makes it to the cage.

    Prediction: Alves, TKO, Rd. 2

Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

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    Khabib Nurmagomedov
    Khabib NurmagomedovUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Rafael Dos Anjos (20-6), Khabib Nurmagomedov (21-0)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    I have no idea why this bout is on the undercard. I know Fox wants a big bang to end its Fox Sports 1 broadcast and all, but the UFC could do that without keeping its No. 5 and No. 7 lightweights (Dos Anjos and Nurmagomedov, respectively) away from the brightest limelight.

    It's a familiar refrain for Nurmagomedov, the electrifying 25-year-old Dagestani who, despite a 5-0 UFC record, has precious little main card experience.

    He deserves better. At least he has a top-flight opponent in Dos Anjos, an unwittingly sympathetic character in the lightweight title drama because of the fact that he is constantly overshadowed by one thing or another and yet continues to mow through everyone in his path. And it's happening again, as the Dos Anjos-is-overshadowed narrative is now being overshadowed by the Nurmagomedov-is-overshadowed narrative. 

    In any rate, this could be a magnificent ground war, and it is thankfully certain that someone very deserving is going (finally, hopefully) to reach the promised land.

    Prediction: Nurmagomedov, split decision 

Brad Tavares vs. Yoel Romero

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    Yoel Romero
    Yoel RomeroUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Brad Tavares (12-1), Yoel Romero (7-1)
    See it on: Fox

    The main card begins with a delectable middleweight matchup. This will determine whether Romero, the Olympic silver-medal wrestler, is a novelty or the genuine article in an MMA context.

    Two UFC fights thus far for Romero have resulted in two third-round knockout victories. Not bad for a 36-year-old who started pro MMA like two weeks ago. He's a bowling ball come to life, and despite his thudding game and tree-stump build, he's a finely tuned athlete who presents all sorts of problems, not least of which is his world-class grappling.

    Tavares is the man to test him, and there's plenty on the line for the Hawaiian as well. All he's done is win five straight in the UFC. He's better every time he fights, with smooth kickboxing skills now complementing his punching power and wrestling base.

    Does he deserve an opponent with a bigger name? Possibly. Hardcore fans have been sweating Romero for some time now, but the average ham-and-egger is unfamiliar with him. Tavares surely wanted a more famous scalp for his wall. But the decision-makers know what a big win this would be for either man, and you have to think that puts the winner "in the mix" in earnest.

    This one is close to call. But Romero seems to be a slow starter and was probably losing to Derek Brunson before he scored that late KO. He can't start slow against Tavares, or he'll get punished.

    That's what will happen here, in my opinion. No comeback KOs this time. Romero comes back to earth, and Tavares gets what he has long deserved: some recognition.

    Prediction: Tavares, unanimous decision

Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza

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    Donald Cerrone
    Donald CerroneUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Donald Cerrone (22-6), Edson Barboza (13-1)
    See it on: Fox

    Go to the store. Get your flashlights. Get your batteries. Do you have fresh water? How about a chemical or pump-action outhouse? Don't get caught with canned food and no can opener. Don't be that guy.

    See, you need to think about this stuff. There's a phrase that people say about being forewarned. It also means you can be forearmed.

    So hopefully everyone is forearming themselves for what could be one of the most violent bouts of the year. Maybe in the history of MMA. Maybe in the history of humanity.

    I'm sure you already know Donald Cerrone. Wears cowboy hats a lot, likes extreme sports, drops curse words into interviews and then pretends like he doesn't realize he did so, goes around knocking and choking everybody out? That's him.

    And at age 32, he's mounting another ascent up the rankings. Was he serious about fighting six times in 2014? I don't know, but this is No. 2, and No. 1 was get-him-a-body-bag head kick on Adriano Martins in January. So, yeah.

    Oh, and Edson Barboza is involved, too. You know, the guy with the muay thai, spinning wheel kicks and personal highlight reel that doubles as a UFC highlight reel. The guy who, in his last two fights, made an opponent tap to strikes and earned a TKO using nothing but a leg kick.

    Part of me wants to pump the brakes on all this. There's no way it will be as violent, bloody and amazing as past experience indicates. Someone will blink and shoot for a takedown. Someone will be off his game and listless. Someone will cause an anticlimatic early stoppage. The ref or judges will get in the way somehow.

    It just can't be as amazing as its billing, right? But then again: What if it is? If it is, the 2014 Fight of the Year conversation could be over before Memorial Day.

    Prediction: Barboza, TKO, Rd. 2 

Liz Carmouche vs. Miesha Tate

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    Miesha Tate
    Miesha TateUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Women's bantamweight
    Records: Miesha Tate (13-5), Liz Carmouche (9-4)
    See it on: Fox

    Two of the most famous fighters in women's MMA not named Ronda Rousey might be fighting for their UFC lives Saturday night.

    Carmouche, along with Rousey, was the first woman to fight in the UFC and the first openly gay UFC athlete. With a 1-2 UFC record, she's a low-center-of-gravity fighter who is fairly methodical but also likes to pull off a takedown and score a finish with elbows and heavy ground strikes.

    Tate is a wrestler and submissions specialist by background, but she has some nice boxing, too. Though a quick eye test says she'll have a reach advantage, Carmouche will actually have a 1.5-inch edge in that area. 

    Their jobs probably aren't actually on the line Saturday—especially Tate, a popular fighter who is 0-2 in the UFC but has faced Rousey and top contender Cat Zingano. I think she'll be a step quicker than Carmouche, will mark up her opponent standing and win enough ground scrambles to pull out her first Octagon W. 

    Prediction: Tate, unanimous decision

Travis Browne vs. Fabricio Werdum

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    Fabricio Werdum
    Fabricio WerdumPhelan M. Ebenhack

    Division: Heavyweight
    Records: Travis Browne (16-1-1), Fabricio Werdum (17-5-1)
    See it on: Fox

    It's easy to break this one down from the comfort of one's couch. Can Browne keep the fight standing and lay down some of those curtain-closers, or can Werdum drag this one to the ground and apply that planet-grade jiu-jitsu?

    But hold the phone. Remember the Werdum who drove those pinpoint muay thai knees up Roy Nelson's nose? Has everyone forgotten that Browne is pretty decent on the ground, or that Werdum's takedowns are not exactly Georges St-Pierre-quality?

    As with everything, there are layers here, and I think they will be peeled back slowly as the action moves on. The instinct is to slap the striker vs. grappler label on this and let the chips fall. But that instinct is wrong.

    I think Werdum avoids the big knockout blow, keeps Browne at bay on the feet with leg kicks and close knees, gets the action to the ground (remember: Alistair Overeem took Browne down), achieves top control and mount and eventually gets hold of a limb in a manner that allows him to compromise its structural integrity.

    A frustrated Browne will call for a rematch; maybe that will happen after Werdum faces champ Cain Velasquez, but it won't happen before.

    Prediction: Werdum, submission, Rd. 2

     

    Scott Harris is a massive MMA fan who writes about the sport for Bleacher Report and other places. For more baseless speculation and MMA emoting and so on, follow Scott on Twitter.

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