Matt Brown built his career on a foundation of unbridled ferocity.
Nearing the end of his run in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 graduate will collide with Dhiego Lima in a UFC on ESPN 25 welterweight showcase this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Brown has compiled a 15-12 record across 27 appearances inside the Octagon, wins over Diego Sanchez, Tim Means, Mike Pyle, Mike Swick and Stephen Thompson anchoring his resume. However, the 40-year-old has lost seven of his past 10 bouts—a sign perhaps that Father Time has finally caught up to him.
As Brown makes final preparations for his forthcoming battle with Lima, a look at some of the rivalries that have helped shape him:
“Lights Out” escaped an early brabo choke and submitted Brown with a straight armbar in the second round of their UFC 116 welterweight feature on July 3, 2010 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Lytle drew the curtain 2:02 into Round 2. Brown did not go quietly in the rematch, as he turned the Indiana native’s face a deep shade of red in the first round and appeared close to finishing him with the aforementioned choke. Lytle weathered it, drawing upon his considerable experience and guile. In the second round, Lytle clipped his counterpart with a stiff right uppercut and used a guillotine choke to move to full mount. From there, he transitioned to a topside triangle that left Brown unable to protect his right arm. Lytle hyperextended the limb for the tapout, his opponent cringing in noticeable pain. The win moved Integrated Fighting Academy export to 2-0 in his head-to-head series with Brown, as he had submitted him with a guillotine choke at a United Fight League event three years prior.
Brown persevered in a fight of near unimaginable quality, as he stopped the former Jungle Fight champion with standing-to-ground punches in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 40 headliner on May 10, 2014 at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. Having absorbed untold amounts of punishment, Silva finally wilted 2:11 into Round 3. Brown shook off a pair of horrific body blows from the Brazilian—the first one a kick, the second a punch—that had him doubled over in obvious distress. Silva also had him in danger on the ground, scoring with a first-round takedown before transitioning to the Ohioan’s back and going to work on a rear-naked choke. Brown escaped to stage a dramatic comeback, slashing away with a series of vicious standing elbows. Punches, knees and more elbows flew next, forcing Silva to retreat to the canvas. Brown met him there with a ruthless standing kick to the body. In the second round, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 quarterfinalist greeted Silva with a takedown before moving to full mount. Brown then softened him with punches before surrendering his position with an attempted armbar and triangle choke. Silva had little left in the tank by the time Round 3 arrived. Brown scored with a takedown inside the first minute and tore into him with ground-and-pound, opening a cut near his left eye with a clean elbow to the head. One final salvo of standing-to-ground punches led referee Herb Dean to intercede on Silva’s behalf.
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Clean power punches paired with punishing kicks to the body carried Lawler to a unanimous decision over Brown in the UFC on Fox 12 main event on July 26, 2014 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. All three cageside judges sided with Lawler, casting 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 scorecards in his direction. “Ruthless Robbie” countered beautifully throughout and landed in combination, often using Brown’s aggression against him. Both men were visibly hurt in the first round, setting the stage for a grueling showdown between two of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s premier welterweights. After a strong and busy Round 2 from Brown, which involved some patented clinch work, Lawler seemed to find another gear. He doubled over the Ohioan with a body kick in the third round, secured a takedown and utilized his ground-and-pound in the fourth and weathered an admirable final surge from “The Immortal” in the fifth. Afterward, Brown wore the scars of battle, having sustained multiple cuts to his face.
The former World Extreme Cagefighting champion leaned on tactical multi-strike combinations and capitalized on his opportunities in grappling exchanges, as he took a unanimous decision from in the UFC on ABC 1 co-headliner on Jan. 16, 2021 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Condit. The 40-year-old Brown secured a body-lock takedown in the first round and piled up some points with elbow-laced ground-and-pound, only to cede position late in the frame. It was a subtle shift in momentum that Condit exploited for the remainder of the match. “The Natural Born Killer” executed a few takedowns of his own across the final 10 minutes, applied his ground-and-pound and threatened a game but fatigued Brown with a variety of submissions.