Heavyweights Browne, Silva Battle At UFC On FX 5
By: Matty Simo
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The UFC heads to Minneapolis this Friday for the organization’s third event in less than three weeks and second straight on free television. UFC on FX 5 will take place at the Target Center, with the main card of four fights starting at 8:00 p.m. (ET) and featuring a heavyweight matchup between unbeaten Travis Browne and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Six more preliminary bouts will begin at 5:00 p.m. and be televised on FUEL TV with two more fights kicking off the MMA betting action an hour earlier on Facebook.com.
Browne (13-0-1) has fought twice within the last 13 months, but neither of those bouts was against high-profile opponents. The 30-year-old Hawaiian had squared off against bigger names in his previous two fights before that, earning a controversial draw with Cheick Kongo at UFC 120 and then following that up with a first-round knockout of Stefan Struve at UFC 130. Struve knocked out Stipe Miocic as an underdog last week at UFC on FUEL TV 5, making him Browne’s most notable opponent.
Meanwhile, Silva (16-4) has fought many elite heavyweights during his MMA career. However, he has struggled in losing each of his past two, including brutal first-round knockouts against both Strikeforce heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in the Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals and former UFC champ Cain Velasquez at UFC 146.
The 33-year-old Brazilian looks like his best days are behind him, but he offers another unique size challenge for Browne as one of the bigger heavyweights to prove he belongs among the top title contenders. The 6-foot-4 Silva does own impressive wins against MMA legends Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski in Strikeforce and opened as a +175 underdog against the 6-7 Browne, the -215 favorite according to MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas.
The co-main event will see a pair of welterweights battle each other at different stages of their respective careers. Former top contender Jake Ellenberger (27-6) was one win away from a title eliminator bout with Johny Hendricks but lost to Martin Kampmann at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale via second-round KO. The 27-year-old Omaha native was riding a six-fight winning streak before that loss and now simply looks to get back on track as a heavy -370 fave.
Ellenberger’s opponent Jay Hieron (23-5) also has lots of MMA experience but just two fights in the UFC, both of which took place more than seven years ago. Hieron has fought in almost every league possible from the WEC to Affliction to Strikeforce to Bellator among others. He is nearly nine years older than Ellenberger and last fought against Romario da Silva at Legacy Fighting Championship 12. Hieron submitted da Silva with a d’arce choke in the second round and opened as a +290 underdog. He does own a previous win over Ellenberger by unanimous decision in the IFL back in 2006.