UFC FN 105: Can Travis Browne Halt The Rise of Derrick Lewis?
By Kelsey Mowatt
Since Lewis (17-4) was taken out by Shawn Jordan back in June, 2015, the 32 year-old has racked up five straight victories. During that run the finishing abilities of Lewis have been on full display, as he’s stopped Viktor Pesta, Damian Grabowski, Gabriel Gonzaga, and most recently, Shamil Abdurakhimov.
The only opponent who’s gone the distance with Lewis during that stretch is perennial contender, Roy Nelson, who Lewis earned a split decision over last July. Due to the run, Lewis has moved into the top ten of the UFC’s rankings, and is currently sitting in the number eight spot.
It wasn’t that long ago when Browne (18-5-1) was in the title shot mix, thanks to highlight reel stoppages of contenders like Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett. But, since Browne lost via decision to former champ Fabricio Werdum in 2014, “Hapa” has lost three of his last four fights. Most recently, the 34 year-old lost via decision again to Werdum, and Browne has slipped to the number nine ranking.
So, the headliner for UFC FN 105 is pivotal match-up for both men. If Lewis can take out a proven commodity like Browne, then the Texas fighter could very well face a top five ranked contender next. A win over top contender, could open the door to a title shot.
Browne, on the other hand, needs a victory to demonstrate that he remains a viable contender. If he can halt the rise of Lewis, and if he can do impressively, it would go a long way in securing yet another high stakes bout.
Keys to Victory
As per usual in Browne’s fights, his reach and length will play a key role in the fight. If the 6’7 tall fighter can keep Lewis at range with kicks and punches, then the chances of Browne scoring a win will be dramatically improved. If the 6’3 Lewis is able to cut Browne off, get inside, and make it more of a brawl, then his power could rule the day.
Lewis has also turned to his takedowns and top game to take out opponents, but Browne’s athleticism and ability to defend TDs with vicious elbows, could mean this fight remains on its feet.
Who to Pick?
There’s no question that Lewis has a ton of momentum behind him, and that Browne’s in desperate, desperate need of a win. But, from a stylistic stand-point, this match-up favors Browne. If the latter comes in mentally and physically prepared, and doesn’t get flustered if he eats some big shots early on, Browne’s athletic gifts and striking should rule the day.
Prediction: Browne by stoppage in round two or three