Sixth-ranked heavyweight Travis Browne rebounded from his loss to Andrei Arlovski in May by putting 14th-ranked Matt Mitrione away at UFC Fight Night 81 in Boston.
While the win was definitive, it wasn’t without a bit of controversy.
Both fighters were rightfully cautious in the early going. Browne was the more active fighter in the opening round, but Mitrione scored a flash knocked down with a short left hand during an exchange midway through the frame. Browne immediately bounced back to his feet and returned fire.
In the closing seconds of the round, Mitirione was accidently poked in the eye as he attempted to close the distance. A doctor was called in to check the eye and Mitrione declared that he was able to continue.
Mitrione's mangled eye. Image: Getty
He came out aggressive in the second round, pressuring Browne. He landed a combination, but was then the recipient of another eye poke. This time the referee didn’t immediately step in. The two fighters exchanged blows and then the referee moved in after Mitrione complained that he couldn’t see.
The cage-side doctor was called in a second time. Mitrione said he could continue and after a quick evaluation by the physician, he was allowed to.
After the second accidental eye poke, Mitrione fought reckless. Browne began to land more often, especially with his kicks to the body. Browne secured a takedown late in the round, but Mitirione scrambled back to his feet. Heading into the final frame, Browne was in control of the fight.
Mitrione ices his eye after the match. Image: Getty
Browne continued to attack the body in the third round. The two clinched and Browne slammed Mitrione to the canvas. He advanced to the mount position and delivered a heavy dose of punches and elbows before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
With the win, Browne maintained his top ten-rankings. For Mitrione, it was his second consecutive loss. Before the bout he characterized the fight as ‘a do or die' bout for him. It's unclear where he goes from here.