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Browne makes title statement

December 29, 2013 « LIVE - Premier League commentary | Chartbeat test »
Travis Browne won his third bout in a row, all by first-round knockout © Getty Images
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In a heavyweight fight that flew well under the radar at UFC 168, Travis Browne still managed to make a statement - a big one.

Browne (16-1-1) took a big step toward title contention with a first-round knockout over Josh Barnett on Saturday. Browne will likely face top contender Fabricio Werdum next.

"Looks like me and Fabricio Werdum have a date," Browne said.

It was clear Barnett (33-7) wanted to close distance and put Browne in the clinch early. He walked through early combinations and tried to tie things up on the fence.

Browne responded well to the pressure, though. He ate one knee to the midsection before peeling off the cage. He caught Barnett flush with a knee as he shot on a double leg takedown, which opened a deep facial cut.

Now hurt, Barnett clung to Browne in a desperate takedown attempt. Browne backed up, dug in along the fence and delivered a series of elbows to the side of Barnett's head that eventually robbed Barnett of consciousness. Referee Yves Lavigne called off the bout.

The final sequence was similar to how Browne knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga in April. The Hawaiian has now won three in a row, all by first-round knockout.

Eearlier, Jim Miller (23-4) earned his 13th submission with a first-round arm bar against Fabricio Camoes.The official time of the tap came 3:43 into the lightweight bout.

Dustin Poirier (15-3) blitzed through Diego Brandao in a first-round TKO victory, forcing referee Mario Yamasaki to step in with six seconds remaining in the round.

The bout featured a little bit of bad blood, as Brandao (18-9) missed weight badly during Friday's official weigh-in. The two got into it on the weigh-in stage immediately after.

"Diego missing weight really sucked because I busted my butt to make weight," Poirier said after the bout."I didn't get to enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas because I'm a professional and making weight is what we agree to do.

"Honestly, him missing weight isn't what got me so angry though. He started yelling and trash-talking before the weigh-in because he claimed I looked at him weird or something. It felt good to finish him because of that little issue before we weighed in yesterday."

Uriah Hall finally had a good moment in the UFC, while Chris Leben might have seen his last. Hall (8-4) earned a TKO victory, his first in the UFC, when Leben stopped the fight from his stool in between the first and second rounds. A right hand by Hall had dropped him moments before the first round ended.

Michael Johnson (14-8) earned the seventh knockout of his career, dropping Gleison Tibau at 1:32 of the second round. It marks the first time Tibau has been knocked out since Nick Diaz did it at UFC 65 in November 2006.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com
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