Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza once again got the better of Derek Brunson inside a round and keep himself firmly in the mix for a middleweight title fight in 2018 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In a repeat of his victory over Brunson during their Strikeforce days in 2012, where he needed just 41 seconds, Jacare patiently waited and then pounced when the opportunity presented itself to end the contest. With the win it could well be a quick turnaround for the Brazilian as the shuffle in the middleweight division continues to take shape, following Georges St Pierre vacating the belt.
The finishing time was 3-50 but it was no less brutal than it was in 2012, as Jacare, who had buzzed Brunson earlier in the round, snapped in a ferocious head kick that put Brunson down and vulnerable for a repeat defeat. Jacare didn’t disappoint.
He coldly strode over to the defenceless Brunson, who was bravely trying to rise, crashing in a swift left-right to send him back for a follow up meeting with the canvas. Jacare proceeded to detonate four sickening left hooks on the afflicted Brunson who was quickly saved from more punishment by the referee.
With another loss to Jacare, Brunson can probably wave goodbye to any hope that he will ever secure the UFC title. As for Jacare, the former Strikeforce champion will now turn his focus to securing a shot at UFC gold, depending on the outcome of Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero’s Interim title fight next month and undisputed champion Robert Whittaker’s recovery from illness.
Jacare has lost to all three, but would no doubt jump at the chance to avenge one of those defeats.
In the co-main event, featherweight Andre Fili picked up a huge, but disputed, win over Dennis Bermudez, who slipped to a third straight loss. With the win it marks the first time that “Touchy” Fili has won two in a row in the UFC, however he may well count himself lucky to have left Charlotte with the win.
Bermudez controlled the pace and action, landing the more damaging shots, however Fili had no trouble taking “The Menace” down, to make sure every round was close. He couldn’t keep Bermudez down for long, but the takedowns did the trick and he walked away with a split decision win on the scorecards, 29-28 twice in his favour, with the third judge giving every round to Bermudez for 30-27.
Gregor Gillespie continued to impress in the lightweight division, maintaining his perfect, unbeaten record and ruining Jordan Rinaldi’s hometown opportunity, decimating him inside the first round. Gillespie appeared to be levels above Rinaldi, who was coming off a rare Von Flue choke win, securing the takedown and beating him in almost into submission with some brutal strikes. A step-up in competition should be next on his agenda.
Drew Dober picked up a unanimous decision win over Frank Camacho, in what was an enjoyable, hard-hitting affair in the welterweight division. They were expected to provide fireworks and they didn’t disappoint, both leaving $50k richer, as they picked up a Performance of the Night bonus.
On the preliminary card, lightweight Bobby Green was victorious for the first time since 2014, when he beat Josh Thomson, as he beat Erik Koch by unanimous decision. Mirsad Bektic returned to the Octagon and winning ways with an excellent first round stoppage of Godofredo Pepey. Bektic who will now look to re-establish himself in the featherweight division, almost punched a hole in Pepey’s chest to end matters in stunning fashion.
Katlyn Chookagian got life in the new women’s flyweight division off to a good start in a forgettable encounter with Mara Romero Borella. Chookagian won by unanimous decision, whilst in the same division Ji Yeon Kim nicked a tight, split decision win over Justine Kish.
Randa Markos dominated her clash with Juliana Lima, winning every round of their women’s strawweight battle, whilst Vinc Pichel halted Joaquim Silva’s unbeaten run with a good win, also a unanimous decision, in the lightweight division.
Opening up the card on Fight Pass, were Niko Price and Cory Sandhagen who picked up victories against George Sullivan and Austin Arnett respectively. Welterweight Price recovered from the first loss of his career last October to submit Sullivan with a rear-naked choke in the second round, whist Sandhagen crowned his UFC debut with a knockout win over featherweight rival Arnett, also in the second round.