Matches to Make After UFC on Fox 27

By Brian Knapp Jan 28, 2018

Nothing separates a man from his equilibrium quite like a shin to the skull.

Former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo Souza swept away Derek Brunson with a head kick and follow-up punches in the first round of their UFC on Fox 27 main event on Saturday at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Referee Dan Miragliotta rescued a dazed and confused Brunson 3:50 into Round 1, giving “Jacare” a 2-0 lead in their head-to-head series; Souza had needed a mere 41 seconds to knock out the three-time NCAA All-American wrestler under the Strikeforce banner in 2012.

Brunson sought a home for his powerful left hand in the rematch but connected on just eight of the 34 strikes he threw, according to preliminary FightMetric data. He managed to deny Souza’s only attempted takedown but moments later found himself stumbling across the cage after being struck by the Brazilian’s Louisville Slugger of a right leg. Brunson attempted to steady himself along the fence, only to be met with an uppercut and a volley of left hooks that prompted Miragliotta to act.

In the aftermath of UFC on 27 “Jacare vs. Brunson 2,” here are five matches that ought to be made:

Related » UFC on Fox 27 By the Numbers

Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Weidman:

In his first appearance in roughly nine months, Souza handled his business like a true professional. The two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist showed no signs of rust, as he improved to 8-2 in the UFC and held his place in line at 185 pounds. While “Jacare” finds himself on the outside looking in as it relates to the middleweight championship, the 38-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt figures to draw another marquee name his next time out. Weidman has not fought since he submitted Kelvin Gastelum with an arm-triangle choke at UFC on Fox 25 in July.

Andre Fili vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov:

While it was not without controversy, Fili nevertheless did enough to eke out a split decision over Dennis Bermudez in their three-round co-main event. The Team Alpha Male standout surprised Bermudez with four takedowns in the first two rounds and then withstood a late surge from “The Ultimate Fighter 14” finalist. Fili, 27, has pieced together a modest two-fight winning streak since his decision loss to Calvin Kattar at UFC 214 six months ago. A former Absolute Championship Berkut titleholder, Magomedsharipov has hit the ground running in the UFC. The 26-year-old Dagestani wunderkind last competed at UFC Fight Night 122 on Nov. 25, when he submitted Sheymon da Silva Moraes with an anaconda choke.

Gregor Gillespie vs. James Vick-Francisco Trinaldo winner:

Stock in Gillespie continues to skyrocket after the four-time NCAA All-American wrestler moved his undefeated record to 11-0 by laying waste to Jordan Rinaldi with first-round punches in their lightweight showcase. Since joining the UFC roster in 2016, “The Gift” has rattled off consecutive victories against Rinaldi, Jason Gonzalez, Andrew Holbrook and Glaico Franca. Only Franca survived to see the final bell. Long viewed as a potential top-10 talent at 155 pounds, Gillespie has begun to reach and perhaps even surpass those expectations. Vick and Trinaldo will toe the line against one another at UFC Fight Night 126 on Feb. 18.

Bobby Green vs. Islam Makhachev:

Green breathed new life into his career on the undercard, as he picked up a unanimous decision over Roufusport’s Erik Koch and netted his first victory in nearly four years. The former King of the Cage champion dug himself an early hole before staging a rally in the second and third rounds. Green, 31, now owns a 5-3-1 record across nine appearances inside the Octagon and carries renewed job security within a cutthroat lightweight division. Makhachev last appeared on Jan. 20, when he knocked out Gleison Tibau in the first round of their UFC 220 confrontation in Boston.

Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jessica-Rose Clark:

Chookagian’s return to the women’s flyweight division -- her first three fights in the UFC were contested at 135 pounds -- yielded the results for which she had hoped. The former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder moved her career mark to 10-1 with a unanimous decision over Italian upstart Mara Romero Borella. Scores were 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27, all for Chookagian. Clark ran her run of consecutive victories to three in the UFC Fight Night 124 co-headliner on Jan. 14, sweeping the scorecards from Paige VanZant. Despite a 2-0 start in the UFC, the 30-year-old Aussie continues to fly under the radar.
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