Knockout expected as heavyweights do battle in UFC Fight Night in Halifax


Published on February 17, 2017

UFC heavyweight fighters Derrick Lewis (L) and Travis Browne (R) are the headliners for UFC Fight Night in Halifax this weekend.

©(AP PHOTO/JUAN DELEON AND AP PHOTO/DAVID BECKER)

Don’t take your eyes off the Octagon when heavyweights Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis and Travis “Hapa” Browne meet in Sunday’s UFC Halifax main event.

“I think there’s going to be a knockout,” said Lewis (17-4, 8-2 UFC). “I go out there to finish fights as quickly as possible and I know he does, too. I don’t believe it will go to a decision and I’m going to give it my all for the fans – win, lose or draw.”

Houston’s Lewis is ranked eighth among UFC heavyweights, while Hawaii’s Browne (18-5-1, 9-5-1 UFC) is ranked ninth. The fight was originally scheduled for last weekend’s UFC 208 card in Brooklyn, but was moved to headline the Halifax event after the original main pairing of Junior Dos Santos and Stefan Struve fell through due to a shoulder injury to Struve.

While a man from Texas fighting a guy from Hawaii in the dead of a Halifax winter may seem a little strange, both fighters say they’re ready for the Halifax crowd – and snow.

“I was excited when the fight got moved because I’ve been to Brooklyn before, but I’ve never been to Halifax,” Lewis said. “I’ve always wanted to travel to Canada and see what it’s like up here. I’ve never seen so much snow in my life, not even in movies. My kids would love it.”

Browne was in town for the first UFC card in October of 2014 when he hosted a Q&A. He has fond memories of that trip, and a fresh cut is at the top of his to-do list.

“I want to get down to Sailor Bup’s and get my haircut,” said Browne, recalling his previous visit. “I really enjoyed my time here in Canada. It’s beautiful and I had a great experience meeting members of the Canadian military last time. This place is my style – it has a smaller town feel, and I like that better than the bigger cities.”

Inside the Octagon, it’s clear that both men respect each other’s strength. A whopping 34 of their fights have ended in a knockout victory or defeat.

Listed at six-foot-three, 260 pounds, Lewis is on a five-fight win streak. Browne is taller at six-foot-seven and 255 pounds. The Hawaiian enters this fight having lost four of six contests, but all four of those defeats were to former UFC heavyweight champions Fabricio Werdum (twice), Cain Velasquez and Andrei Arlovski.

“I’ve competed against the best, I’ve beaten some of the best,” says Browne. “This is going to be a great fight. Derrick is a big, tough dude who hits like a friggin’ semi truck. But I don’t exactly have pillows for hands, either, and I’m superior on the ground. I think I’m one-up on him everywhere.”

Lewis agrees that this fight is a big challenge, and a great test of his current place in the heavyweight division.

And if a celebration is in order, Lewis is ready. A hilarious (but definitely NSFW) follow on Twitter, he’s already searching for a donair, although he was not yet certain of the magical food’s contents.

“No idea, but I’m gonna Google it,” he said.