Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ranked Middleweights Derek Brunson and Dan Kelly collided last night (June 10, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 110 inside Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.
After putting together some solid knockouts in a five-fight win streak, things fell apart for Brunson. He’s since lost his previous two appearances, leading him to this step back in competition. Kelly entered this bout as an underdog, but that was true of his previous seven UFC bouts as well, in which Kelly only lost just once. Once again, Kelly looked to prove the oddsmakers wrong and take another step up the divisional ladder.
Unlike his recent appearances, Brunson opened this bout with some patience. He circled the cage, flicking out a fast jab and hard low kicks. He whiffed on a couple big left hands, but mostly Brunson worked at range and found his timing.
It paid off quickly.
Brunson set up a clean left cross with a double jab, and it connected directly on his opponent’s chin. Kelly fell onto his stomach, and the fight was essentially over. A few hammer fists made the ending official.
Brunson scored a picture-perfect win in this battle. He fought smart, used his lanky range, and quickly found a home for a massive knockout punch. It’s kind of funny to describe a 76-second knockout win as patient, but Brunson did an excellent job of not forcing the shot and simply waiting for an opportunity.
With his speed and power advantage, the knockout was almost an inevitability once Brunson made it apparent he was going to fight with some smarts. Now that he’s back in the win column, Brunson should return to fighting top opposition. A match up with David Branch would make plenty of sense for both men, as the winner of that Top 10 battle would find himself in position to fight a Top 5 foe.
As for Kelly, this is really a case of a fighter flying too close to the sun. Kelly’s climb into the Top 15 was admirable, but this time he ran into a top-notch fighter in his prime. If Kelly faces any other Top 10-ranked opponent, the result will likely be similar.
That said, Kelly has proven himself superior to middle of the pack 185-pound athletes. If he wants to continue fighting, there are plenty of winnable fights for him, although UFC would be wise to keep him away from true knockout artists like Brunson.
Last night, Derek Brunson returned to the win column in dramatic fashion. What’s next for the powerful wrestler?
For complete UFC Fight Night 110: “Lewis vs Hunt” results and play-by-play, click HERE!