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UFC on FOX 27 results: Jacare Souza re-establishes his place in middleweight contention by stopping Derek Brunson

UFC Fight Night: Jacare v Brunson 2 Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) staged an important middleweight contest on Saturday night (Jan. 27, 2018), as former Strikeforce 185-pound champion Ronaldo Souza ran it back with Derek Brunson in the UFC on FOX 27 main event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Jacare” stopped Brunson under the Strikeforce banner back in summer 2012.

History repeated itself inside Spectrum Center after Souza landed a punishing head kick, one that sent Brunson ass over tea kettle. There was a brief scramble followed by some follow-up punches, but the goose was officially cooked.

I guess this approach to gameplanning was a mistake.

Leading up to their headlining affair, which was scheduled for five rounds but only lasted one, Souza was sitting pretty at No. 3 in the division, right behind Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero, who collide for the interim title at UFC 221 in Perth.

Reigning champion Robert Whittaker is benched until further notice, thanks to a nasty Staph infection that spread to his stomach.

While Brunson was ranked No. 8, the victory should be enough to get Souza into a fight with the winner of Rockhold-Romero, unless “The Reaper” is able to make a quick recovery and get back into action by late spring or early summer.

“Jacare” is 10-2 since coughing up his Strikeforce middleweight title to Luke Rockhold by way of unanimous decision back in late 2011. His only two losses during that span have come against Yoel Romero (split decision) and Robert Whittaker (technical knockout).

His ranking, as well as his history in the division, are enough to warrant rematches against either.

Again, this all depends on the return of Whittaker. Rounding out the top five are Georges St-Pierre and Chris Weidman, two fighters taking time off to deal with injuries. Then comes Michael Bisping, followed by Kelvin Gastelum.

Bisping is expected to retire after his final fight in March.

I find it hard to believe “The Count” would volunteer to face a combatant as dangerous as Souza for his middleweight swan song. Gastelum is a more realistic option, but the “Jacare” camp might see it as a step backwards, considering the former welterweight is just one fight removed from his submission loss to Weidman.

So what’s next?

If Whittaker does return, the Brazilian will probably end up with the loser of Rockhold-Romero instead of the winner. A shitty assignment, but probably the path of least resistance as it pertains to a “Reaper” rematch, especially considering how violently he was finished in their first go-round.

We can worry about that later.

For now, it’s enough to recognize that Souza belongs in the No. 3 spot and his performance defied his 38 years of age. Taking time off to heal nagging injuries, which also served to clear his head, appears to have paid dividends.

Whether or not that translates into a UFC title remains to be seen.

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