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Fights to watch to get primed for UFC Fight Night 105

Travis Browne in action in his mixed martial arts bout at UFC Fight Night 81, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Boston. Browne won via third round TKO. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

The second of back-to-back weekends for the UFC, the Octagon makes its way to the ScotiaBank Centre in Canada.

Along with it are two former champions and a handful of potential future title challengers, but not much else. A card marred by injury, a bout between former UFC heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos and Stefan Struve has since been replaced by a less recognizable matchup between Derrick Lewis and Travis Browne.

Fear not, unfamiliar friends; we’re here to save the day. Below are three fights to watch to ensure you’ve got a decent idea of what’s going on come UFC Fight Night 105.

Author’s note: The contests listed can be accessed on UFC Fight Pass

 

Travis Browne vs. Brendan Schaub

Travis Browne, of Albuquerque, N.M. ,reacts after defeating Josh Barnett, of Fullerton, Calif., during a UFC 168 mixed martial arts heavyweight bout on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, in Las Vegas. Browne won by a knockout in the first round. (AP Photo/David Becker)

(AP Photo/David Becker)

Event: UFC 181
Date: Dec. 6, 2014

Travis Browne may be the most gifted heavyweight in the division, but has rarely tapped into those gifts consistently enough to amount to much in the UFC. He did against Brendan Schaub, though. “Hapa” is currently 2-4 in his last six, having lost to highly ranked opponents in Fabricio Werdum (twice), Cain Velasquez and Andrei Arlosvki. It’s victories like the one he had over “Big Brown” that keep us hopeful for a potential rebound from the 6-foot-7 Hawaiian heavyweight.

It’s also the type of victory that could slot him as a major spoiler to Derrick Lewis’ plans of continuing his unbeaten streak. Browne elected to take Schaub to the ground toward the end of the first round of his fight at UFC 181, using his size to TKO his fellow behemoth in just under five minutes. Takedown defense and defensive grappling are two of the weakest parts of Lewis’ arsenal.

Derrick Lewis vs. Gabriel Gonzaga

UFC Heavyweight fighter Derrick Lewis celebrates after knocked out Viktor Pesta in the third round during their UFC 192 mixed material arts bout at MMA UFC 192, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/Juan DeLeon)

(AP Photo/Juan DeLeon)

Event: UFC Fight Night 86
Date: April 10, 2016

Derrick Lewis is on a five-fight winning streak, but hasn’t looked overly impressive since he knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga in the opening round at UFC Fight Night 86 last April. He’s since defeated Roy Nelson and Shamil Abdurakhimov, neither victory doing much to excite the casual fanbase on what “The Black Beast” may be capable of once he gets the wheels in motion.

He’s one of the simpler heavyweights in the division, often relying on his one-touch power to put his opponents away as quickly as possible. That’s all we saw against Gonzaga that night. He opened up with a high kick that missed, allowing the former title challenger to secure a takedown. Lewis has never been remotely effective on his back, and has consistently struggled to get back to his feet and create consistent separation without aid from the referee.

But, man, once he connects with that power…

Johny Hendricks vs. Matt Brown

Johny Hendricks is announced to the crowd before a UFC 171 mixed martial arts welterweight title bout, Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Dallas. Hendricks won by decision. (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

(AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

Event: UFC 185
Date: 
March 14, 2015

Not only is this the last time that Johny Hendricks picked up a win, but it’s the last time he’s looked overly competitive inside the Octagon. Hendricks was just one fight removed from losing the welterweight title when he fought Matt Brown at UFC 185 in March 2015, falling just a few proverbial inches shy of being on the right end of a split decision defeat to Robbie Lawler three months earlier. He rebounded nicely with a win over Brown, but did so in a way that may prove most effective against somebody like Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 105. Hendricks took Brown down repeatedly throughout the three-round affair, taking home a unanimous decision.

Expected to be a much slower, and less powerful striker against Lombard, opting to keep the fight standing likely won’t culminate in a victory for “Bigg Rigg.” He’s probably aware of this, though; he hasn’t picked up a KO victory since dropping Martin Kampmann in November 2012.

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