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Josh Barnett and Travis Browne stepped into the Octagon at UFC 168 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, not with a title shot on the line, but the next best thing, a shot at possibly being the next opponent for No. 1 heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum.
It would be Browne in violent fashion that would make it a quick fight and move back into the title picture.
The two clinched early, Barnett landing a solid knee and doing some good body work. They then centered up in the Octagon and Barnett tried to shoot on Browne, but the big Hawaiian unleashed a knee that connected. Barnett went down to his knees and Browne unloaded with a fury of elbow strikes to the side of the head, knocking Barnett out cold a minute into the fight.
The victory is Browne’s third consecutive win since having his original title run interrupted by Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Werdum had been next up for current champion Cain Velasquez, but the UFC brass, with Velasquez sidelined for the next several months due to injury, wants Werdum to fight the winner of the Barnett vs. Browne fight, a fact not lost on Browne.
“Two top contenders right there,” said Browne, who entered this fight having knocked out Alistair Overeem in his last fight.
“Looks like Werdum and I have a date. I’m ready whenever you are sweetheart. I’ll take you out.”
(Follow @KenPishna on Twitter)