Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight scrappers Derek Brunson and Roan Carneiro went to war last night (Feb. 21, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 83 inside Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Having won all but one of his prior UFC fights, Brunson was on the verge of being a true contender heading into this bout. If he could continue to build momentum with a win here, a highly ranked opponent was undoubtedly next for the powerful wrestler.
Meanwhile, Carneiro made his debut in very impressive fashion but has been on the sidelines since. Last night, Carneiro was looking to remind the division of his presence by taking out one of its fastest rising prospects.
Brunson started the bout aggressively, looking for big combinations. "Jucao" did his best to hang tough, but it wasn't long before Brunson began landing the harder shots, which were clearly affecting his opponent.
After a couple minutes, Carneiro looked to land a big hook and slipped. Brunson capitalized aggressively, jumping into top position and slamming home punches. Carneiro was slow to react, which caused him to absorb a lot of strikes as Brunson tee'd off.
As Brunson closed in on the finish, Carneiro at one point seemed to recover. However, another hard flurry ripped through his defenses and left him barely conscious, forcing the referee to halt the bout.
There's not a ton to break down here. Brunson's improvement on his feet continued, as he was aggressive and effective in the stand up. This is his third first round TKO in a row, which is quite an impressive accomplishment.
Additionally, Brunson showed great killer instinct. His opponent wasn't dropped -- he only slipped -- but Brunson nonetheless forced a finish off that opportunity.
Following this win, Brunson really does deserve a top contender. For example, the winner of Anderson Silva vs Michael Bisping would be a solid step up.
"Jucao" came into this fight and tried to execute a fairly smart game plan. He looked to work the outside and catch his opponent coming in -- Brunson does over-extend a bit -- and level changed well. It really was the best game plan that Carneiro could try.
Unfortunately, he was simply facing a better fighter coming into his own.
All that said, Carneiro's defense from his back was disappointing for such a veteran jiu-jitsu player. He never did anything to tie up his opponent or cause a scramble. Instead, he absorbed lots of shots and didn't really react.
Just two fights into his current UFC run, it's not really clear where Carneiro stands. He should face off with a veteran of the division, someone like Rafael Natal or Chris Camozzi, to show him where he really stands.
Last night, Derek Brunson continued his rise with another knockout. Just how high can he climb in the Middleweight division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 83 "Cerrone vs Oliveira" results and play-by-play, click HERE!