The main card of the December 28th UFC 168 features a heavyweight showdown between Josh Barnett and Travis Browne. Right now, Barnett sits as a comfortable (-200) favorite over Browne, who returns (+170). Browne is 3-1 in his last 4 fights, and even in his loss, the fights didn’t get out of the first round, so he is explosive enough to take Barnett out. Does Barnett have the tools to warrant being a 2 to 1 favorite?
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In his last two fights, against Gabriel Gonzaga and Alistair Overeem, Browne showed a solid chin and exceptional poise as he came out of both firefights with a win.
But in Barnett he faces a guy wh is methodical, and who has a big advantage over him in ground fighting. In his career, Barnett has engaged in firefights and usually comes out on top, but he also has at times showed no inclination to play his opponents game. Why mess with Browne on the feet, when on the ground Barnett’s advantage is so obvious.
But there is another factor. Barnett got out of his last outing, against Frank Mir, with what may have been a quick stop. Barnett, in his near 50 MMA fight career and with countless other competitions under his belt, has gone the distance twice since 2006 and lost both outings.
Combine the Mir outing with his easy Strikeforce fairwell facing Nandor Guelmino, and he has not been in a real fight since May of 2012, and he is now on the plus side of 36.
People were very high on Roy Nelson ging into his fight with Stipe Miocic, but Nelson at 37 lost something on the way and he was not the same for tha tmatch. Miocic and Browne have a similar career path and are at similar spots in their MMA careers, and Browne needs a Nelson-type win to keep rising in the division. Barnett is that win, and if Barnett has lost a step and cant get a takedown early, then Browne may just get that win.