Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum hit a bump in the road this week. His scheduled first fight since being knocked out against Stipe Miocic fell apart when Ben Rothwell injured his knee. ”Vai Cavalo’ had previously ran hot with victories over Roy Nelson, Mike Russow, Travis Browne, Big Nog, Mark Hunt and Cain Velasquez. Following his most recent title unification win over Velasquez, the Brazilian champ sat dormant for 11 months before tasting the power of Miocic and losing the belt.
With ‘Big Ben’ out of the September 10 co-main event, ‘Vai Cavalo’ will now rematch the man he beat en route to the heavyweight strap, as ‘Hapa’ steps in. Browne last fought at UFC 200 on July 9, receiving a one-sided TKO loss from former champ Cain Velasquez. In fact since the Werdum fight, Browne has gone 2-2 with stoppages in both categories.
With both men coming off losses coming in to the Cleveland based card, another ‘L’ could well squash the hopes of another title run. Werdum is 39 and has competed since 2002, his biggest win was arguably over Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce. ‘Hapa’ is the younger man at 34 years of age, but has seen a lot of punishment in the last two years. In the division where a single punch ends fights regularly, who will come out on top?
Werdum put on a clinic while wining a decision over Browne in 2014, setting himself up for the interim title fight with Mark Hunt at UFC 188.
Here’s how the UFC 203 fight card looks now.
Stipe Miocic vs. Alistair Overeem
Travis Browne vs. Fabricio Werdum
Nik Lentz vs. Mairbek Taisumov
Damir Hadzovic vs. Yukawa Kazuya
Mickey Gall vs. CM Punk
Bethe Correia vs. Jessica Eye
Urijah Faber vs. Jimmie Rivera
Jessica Andrade vs. Joanne Calderwood
Ray Borg vs. Ian McCall
Caio Magalhaes vs. Brad Tavares
Drew Dober vs. Jason Gonzalez