Well, fuck me gently, please. I can’t take it rough after the news we woke up to yesterday morning. The atmosphere in my household was akin to the bleakness of a Dickens’ novel – the melancholy was brutal. Jon Jones is out of UFC 200. Yet, I don’t wish to speak in depth about what has occurred, as the information released is so minimal, and it would be unfair to lament Jon intensely before everything is known; but as a community, the sadness and frustration we are all feeling for Daniel Cormier is representative of the importance of this fight. Just seeing his little sad face in that press conference broke my cold British heart.

Most importantly, though, is that this has messed up my schedule of prediction blogs – seriously, Jonathan, do you think of nobody but yourself? Nonetheless, the show will surge on. For now, we still have the most stacked night of fights ever in our greasy displeased hands, and I’d like to talk briefly about Travis Browne vs. Cain Velasquez, a truly mouth-watering bout which should be riling up everyone’s libido, but is somehow the least talked about fight of the PPV.

When I first heard of the match, I thought little of it beyond how fun it will be, but as it settled in my mind an atmosphere began to brood derived from the complex stakes involved. These are two intense individuals, yet for me the intensity which flows through this fight stems from much more than just the prospective violence. Both fellas need this win more than any other win in their respective careers. The method of victory is almost irrelevant too. They just need this win.

Of course, the method is how that victory comes, and a comfortable victory for either man will go far to subdue the relentless naysayers. With regards to Travis, it seems very much like he is still on a journey to find himself. At 34, that seems unusual, but he started late, and luckily the heavyweight division allows you to progress further than any other whilst your technical faculties are still lacking. Theoretically, I cannot see his striking defence being able to deal with Cain within close quarters; Travis gets hit quite a lot, his defence is incredibly questionable, but the slowness of some of his past opponents has masked some of these flaws. Nobody can call Cain slow. The velocity of Velasquez will tear open those holes within seconds.

To combat this, he has to fully command the distance, and do so with complexity. An outreached hand and some sluggish stepping will not be enough. His height gives him an advantage already, but Cain has a beautiful ability to knock inches off bigger men. If he can dictate this aspect of the game well, then he can make the fight very difficult for his opponent, and by playing more tactically, Browne can diminish the chances of being swarmed through fatigue in the third round.

Still, pulling that kind of game plan off will be almost monumental, but it would perhaps mark the final stages of the evolution for Travis Browne. His record is immensely impressive considering his time in the game, he is a true fighter, and always interesting to watch; but there is still something lacking inside The Octagon. An impressive victory on Saturday night will change everything, both for himself, and for the heavyweight division.

I have decided not to focus much attention on the technical details regarding Cain, and my reason for that is simple – if Cain Velasquez shows up, if the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time shows up, with all his faculties in check, then that should be enough. The trouble is, for him, this fight is more than three rounds on Saturday evening. This fight drags on for days, weeks, and months afterwards. The fight against his body. The fight to ensure that this endearing and rare individual attains the further glory which he deserves.

Cain was ranked 4th P4P in the world before his last fight, yet he has now dropped out of the top ten completely. For a reasonably young man (by heavyweight standards), who many consider to be the greatest of all time, this seems absurd. Some of this is unjustified, and of course the success of the competitors around him plays a role in that, but a significant slide like that needs to be halted. It isn’t just the P4P rankings, it’s the uncertainty and fear about whether or not he can last much longer.

If he loses to Travis badly, the cause for concern is more justified. Yet, if he beats Travis, his Mexican furrows of fury slide back into the championship frame triumphantly. And let us hope that’s where they remain. I’m backing Cain Velasquez to win this crazy fight, but I might also be putting a sly bet on Travis Browne for the upset.

Thank you so much for your time, and I’ll be back tomorrow to cover the last three fights!

Enjoy the fight you fucks. Peace, love, and all that nonsense.

Published by Jamie Hammond