Derek Brunson will have another prime opportunity later tonight (Sat., Jan. 27, 2018) at UFC on FOX 27 live on big FOX from inside the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, to prove that he is more than just a knockout artist.
Standing in Brunson’s way is proven middleweight contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, who has lost just twice since 2011. Souza’s world-class submission game will test Brunson’s technique and durability, while the Brazilian’s punching power threatens to finish Brunson like it did back in 2012.
All things considered, this is a huge main event spot for both fighters. But in Brunson’s case, he’ll have another chance to establish himself as a legitimate contender in the UFC’s evolving 185-pound division. Brunson has been destroying middleweight competition with devilish knockout blows and overpowering wrestling since entering the promotion back in 2012, but hasn’t capitalized on the biggest of opportunities to climb the final few rungs of the divisional ladder.
The last time Brunson headlined a UFC event he ended up getting knocked out by current champion Robert Whittaker back at UFC Fight Night 101. Following that loss, the promotion gave the 34-year-old North Carolina native the chance to take out pound-for-pound legend Anderson Silva. Brunson did enough in the three-round affair to take home a decision win over “Spider,” but the judges surprisingly gave Silva the nod.
Brunson has rebounded nicely with back-to-back knockout finishes over Dan Kelly and former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, but now finds himself at a divisional crossroad. He’ll either supplant Souza as the next man in line for a No. 1 contender’s bout, or fall short yet again in a high-profile affair designed to boost his promotional stock and future title aspirations.
Either way, win or lose, Brunson should be swinging for the fences tonight in Charlotte. So even if you’re uninterested in seeing if Brunson can get over the proverbial hump and solidify himself as a true title contender in 2018, you should at least tune in for the potential of him knocking Souza’s head clean off.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 27 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” match online, which is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 5 p.m. ET, before the FOX main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.