Werdum (21-6-1) dropped Browne with a right hand in the opening round and nearly choked him out, en route to a clear-cut unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-28). The heavyweight bout, which was a rematch of a 2014 meeting, served as the co-main event on Saturday.
After the fight, Browne's head coach Edmond Tarverdyan was escorted out of the arena after tussling with Werdum and his corner. It was the finishing touch on a bizarre fight, that saw Browne essentially call his own timeout in the opening round after suffering an apparent hand injury. Referee Gary Copeland allowed Browne to pause, as he pointed toward his hand.
According to immediate cageside stats from Fightmetric, Werdum out-landed Browne in total strikes 107 to 38. The victory was arguably as dominant as a five-round unanimous decision win by Werdum over two years ago.
Fighting out of Kings MMA in Southern California, Werdum showed no respect for Browne as an opponent. He started the fight by sprinting across the cage and jumping into a flying front kick. The kick landed flush, directly into Browne's nose. Browne shrugged it off, but it was an early statement by the former champ.
Werdum, who entered the fight ranked No. 2 by ESPN.com at heavyweight, dropped the No. 8 ranked Browne (18-5-1) later in the round and took his back with about 40 seconds remaining. Browne managed to cover up his neck and avoid taking any fight-ending shots.
The pace slowed in the next frame, as Browne looked slightly gun-shy and Werdum appeared to be conserving energy. Browne actually picked it up somewhat in the third, but he never came close to finishing the fight.
Werdum, 39, bounces back from a first-round knockout loss to Stipe Miocic in May. Browne falls to 1-2 in 2016 and 2-4 in his last six appearances.
Rivera sends Faber to second straight loss
Bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera (20-1) added the biggest name to his resume by defeating Urijah Faber (33-10) by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). Faber, who suffered back-to-back fights for the first time in his 13-year career, hung tough in what proved to be a relatively one-sided fight. Immediate cageside stats by Fightmetric had Rivera out-landing Faber in total strikes, 55 to 23.
Rivera's counterstriking and hard leg kicks were his best weapons, as well as his takedown defense. Faber attempted to get into Rivera's hips only a handful of times, as Rivera easily shrugged him off. In the third, Faber caught Rivera with an accidental eye poke that threatened to end the bout. Rivera was checked out by a cageside physician and eventually cleared. He said he lost sight in the eye for the remainder of the round.
Fighting out of Ramsey, New Jersey, Rivera is a perfect 4-0 in the UFC. Faber, 37, is 1-3 in his last four. Prior to Saturday, he suffered a decision loss to Dominick Cruz in a title fight at UFC 199.
Andrade blows away Calderwood
Brazilian strawweight Jessica Andrade (15-5) made her second statement in a row at 115 pounds, submitting Joanne Calderwood (11-2) via guillotine choke at 4:38 of the first round. A former bantamweight, Andrade slammed Calderwood to the canvas early in the fight and went to work with punches from top position. She eventually locked in a guillotine and produced a quick tap, good for her seventh submission win. Andrade is 2-0 since dropping to strawweight. She dominated Jessica Penne in a two-round TKO in June.
Correia edges Eye by split decision
Former bantamweight contender Bethe Correia (10-2) rallied late to deny Jessica Eye (11-6) a win in her hometown. Fighting out of Brazil, Correia got off to a slow start but eventually found her rhythm on her feet, edging Eye via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29). Despite appearing to hurt Correia in the second round with a right hand, Eye ceded momentum that she had in the first. Correia found her with the jab and lead hook, and Eye was very hesitant to engage in the third. Correia snaps a two-fight skid while Eye loses her fourth in a row.