The octagon returns to Charlotte, North Carolina after almost an eight-year hiatus with a twelve-bout card culminating in middleweight contenders Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza and Derek Brunson colliding in the main event.
Perennial middleweight contender Jacare Souza will look to bounce back to winning ways nine months on from his defeat to Robert Whittaker at UFC on Fox 24. The Brazilian has fought most of the middleweight division, but appears to come up short when he faces the top contenders, such as Whittaker and Romero.
At thirty-eight, this may represent Souza’s last chance for a run at the middleweight title. He has previously held the Strikeforce middleweight championship, losing that to current contender Luke Rockhold and also fought in Japanese promotion Dream. Can his opponent Derek Brunson cause him any problems?
Knockout specialist Brunson has six first round knockouts on his octagon record, with those coming in his last six victories. He claimed arguably the biggest scalp of his career when he defeated Lyoto Machida in dominant fashion in Brazil just three months ago. He preceded that performance with a knockout of Daniel Kelly in his home country of Australia.
Brunson also appears to be a middleweight who cannot beat the top contenders in the division. Only Yoel Romero, Robert Whittaker and most recently Anderson Silva (somewhat controversially) have defeated the American in the octagon. Can Brunson gain the biggest scalp of his career and claim another Brazilian foe?
In a featherweight co-main event, Andre Fili and Dennis Bermudez clash, with the winner looking to enter the top ten at 145-pounds. Fili’s record in the UFC stands at 5-4 as he enters the octagon for the tenth time, looking to win consecutively for the first time. His defeat of Artem Lobov in Poland puts him on the brink of the top fifteen featherweights in the world.
Dennis Bermudez has fought a plethora of featherweight talents over his near eight-year octagon career. After losing to Diego Brandao in the Ultimate Fighter Finale, “The Menace” went on a seven-fight winning streak, including a victory over current champion Max Holloway back in 2013. However, consecutive losses to Chan Sung Jung and Darren Elkins leave Bermudez clinging on to his twelfth ranking.
Full Fight Card
Main Card (1AM on BT Sport)
Middleweight: Ronaldo Souza vs. Derek Brunson
Featherweight: Andre Fili vs. Dennis Bermudez
Lightweight: Gregor Gillespie vs. Jordan Rinaldi
Welterweight: Drew Dober vs. Frank Camacho
Prelims (10PM on BT Sport)
Lightweight: Bobby Green vs. Erik Koch
Featherweight: Mirsad Bektic vs. Godofredo Pepey
Women’s Flyweight: Mara Romero Borella vs. Katlyn Chookagian
Women’s Strawweight: Randa Markos vs. Juliana Lima
Women’s Flyweight: Justine Kish vs. Ji Yeon Kim
Lightweight: Vinc Pichel vs. Joaquim Silva
Early Prelims (9PM on UFC Fight Pass)
Welterweight: Niko Price vs. George Sullivan
Featherweight: Austin Arnett vs. Cory Sandhagen