From LFA Champion to UFC Middleweight Contender

Aug 13, 2019

The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 241 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.

In the last 15 months, Ian Heinisch has won the Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight title, secured an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract on Dana White’s Contender Series and became a Top 10-ranked middleweight in the promotion. At UFC 241 on Aug. 17, “The Hurricane” will look to continue his rise in the middleweight rankings as he faces No. 8-ranked Derek Brunson.

At UFC Fight Night 152, Heinisch, 31, officially established himself as a top 10 185-pound fighter with his decisive win over Antonio Carlos Jr. The man known to mixed martial arts fans as “Shoeface” took control in the first round by way of his high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu. At one-point, he even secured back control, and threated to lock in his patented rear-naked choke. However, the Factory X fighter weathered the early storm, and took the lead in the second half of the fight in route to a unanimous decision victory.

“I just believe your next fight is your toughest fight. No matter who it is,” Heinisch told Sherdog. “But, [Carlos Jr.] was a game opponent. Obviously ranked. He was on a five-fight winning streak. He finished four of his fights in the [rear-naked choke position] he had me in. So, it was definitely a big win, and I was happy for it. I would have liked to finish him, but that’s why I’m excited to fight Brunson.”

Although Heinisch realizes grappling may come into play against the former Division-II All-American wrestler, he knows that has never been a dominant characteristic of Brunson’s fighting style. The North Carolina native likes to stand and trade, and Heinisch is excited for that opportunity compared to the grappling heavy style of his last opponent.

“[Brunson’s] a game guy, he’s going to meet me in the center, he’s going to throw hands at me, and that’s what I’m excited for,” says Heinisch. “We’ll probably mix some wrestling, [but he’s] someone who’s not just going to hold on for dear life and try to submit me. It’s going to be a little bit [more fun], and it’s going to be one for the fans.”

Along with looking forward to the serious test Brunson will pose, Heinisch also talked about being a betting favorite against the veteran of 15 UFC bouts. He also talked about being imprisoned in Spain and the Canary Islands.

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