The UFC rolled into Orlando, Florida on Saturday night with a stacked card that had title implications across the entire promotion, including a Heavyweight #1 Contender Fight between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne.
With Dana White announcing on Thursday that the main-event would indeed be for a title shot against reigning champion, Cain Velasquez, at some point later this year, the implications of the fight got a lot bigger for both men.
Coming into the fight on a eight fight win streak, Browne, who has been touted as part of a 'new breed' of heavyweight fighters, was still considered the relative underdog against his much more accomplished opponent.
For Werdum, the fight was just another stepping stone between him a long-awaited shot at the UFC heavyweight championship and last night he jumped over that stone to ensure his shot once and for all.
The Brazilian put on a clinic over the five rounds. Despite getting dropped in the first, Werdum recovered and ruthlessly out punched, out wrestled and outclassed his opponent - who was growing increasingly fatigued with every passing moment.
A string of first round KO's litter Browne's win streak but Werdum was a step-up in competition that wouldn't be finished so easily. Although he did manage to rock Werdum, he couldn't finish him while he was on the floor and he paid dearly for it.
An unanimous decision victory was given for Werdum and if he can maintain this level of performance when he fights Velasquez sometime the year, then there's no doubt that he'll walk out as the new champion.
The co-main event on the card was a Women's Bantamweight clash between two former title contenders - Meisha 'Cupcake' Tate and Liz 'Girl-rilla' Carmouche.
Both fighters were coming into the fight on losses and Tate was yet to win in the UFC, that changed however as she managed from a first round deficit to win via a 29-28 unanimous decision.
The fight went straight to the ground in the first round where Carmouche displayed good rotations and leg control against the side of the cage but after that it was Tate's stamina that would prove to be the deciding factor.
Seemingly never letting up, she peppered Carmouche with strikes while exhausting her opponent against the cage into defending against the takedown attempts. In the third round it was a series of rear naked choke attempts and an armbar attempt to close the fight that won it for Tate on a decision.
Having lost to her long-time rival and champion, Ronda Rousey in her last fight, this win puts Tate back into contention as a possible opponent for the champ. Although Rousey has to go through Alexis Davis in July, a fight against Sarah Kaufmann or a returning Cat Zingano could be number one contender fights in the shallow division.
Also on the overall card were two highly anticipated lightweight fights between the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov (#7) and Rafael dos Anjos (#5) and Donald Cerrone (#8) and Edson Barboza (#12).
All of these guys were at most two more wins from a title shot in the lightweight division, so it was a big night for narrowing down the pool of contenders for Anthony Pettis' title.
It was the bear-fighting Nurmagomedov who triumphed over dos Anjos via unanimous decision, which takes the Russian to an impressive 22-0 and in many people's eyes, he is just behind Gilbert Melendez for a title shot. A possible title-fight decider with Benson Henderson could give him the big name victory he's looking for.
While in the other fight it was Cerrone answering the questions about Barboza's chin with a huge left jab into a rear-naked choke. The man known as 'Cowboy' keeps himself relevant in the division and if he can beat another top 15 opponent and a top five opponent after that - he'll back fighting for big money.
This was the third event in a short space of time for the UFC following Fight Night 39 and the TUF: Nations Finale and with UFC 172 coming next Saturday, April has been a huge month for shaking up the UFC universe as it builds towards the big summertime clashes.
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