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UFC Fight Night 101 results: Robert Whittaker stops Derek Brunson in wild back-and-forth brawl
MELBOURNE, Australia – Robert Whittaker survived a wild and reckless attack from Derek Brunson to win a comeback knockout.
Chasing down a finish, Brunson (16-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) ran straight into a left hand and took a head-kick to bring Whittaker (17-4 MMA, 8-2 UFC) a huge victory for his run in the middleweight division.
The middleweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 101 event at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Referee Herb Dean stepped in to save a downed Brunson at the 4:07 mark of the third after Whittaker sent him to the mat with left hands that followed his head kick. Brunson was a slight favorite heading into the bout.
“We knew he was going to tough, but I had no idea he was going to come out that hard,” Whittaker said afterward. “I knew I had to weather the storm. He’s a heavy hitter. I had to duck and weave as much as I could, but I stuck to the gameplan. I ended up working to his weakness.”
The subsequent finish was a shot of adrenaline on a fight card where 10 of the 13 fights went to decision.
Both men walked into the octagon with a five-fight win streak. But Brunson was ranked at No. 6 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings because of his longer streak in the division. No. 11 Whittaker had migrated to 185 pounds and won four straight after an uneven run at welterweight, where he started his career with a win on “The Ultimate Fighter Smashes.”
Brunson’s eagerness to earn a title shot may have wound up costing him in the octagon. Initially, he pushed Whittaker to the fence, indicating he would try to use his wrestling to win the fight.
But after hurting Whittaker against the cage with a flurry of left hands, he left himself exposed to counters as he lunged with follow-up shots.
Whittaker managed to regain his senses and fired off the left hand that stopped Brunson in his tracks. Suddenly wobbled, he was incapable of stopping the high kick that shifted momentum for good.
“He hits hard, but I hit hard, too,” Whittaker said. “I’m just as fast, and I’m just as strong. If you come at me with holes in your plan, I’m going to take it from you.”
Having stolen Brunson’s momentum, Whittaker called for a title shot.
“I’ve been in the top-10 for a while,” he said. “I’ve tried to demonstrate my ability every time I step in here and make an example. I’m ready for those top five contenders. I’m ready for my shot.”
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 101 results include:
Rpbert Whittaker def. Derek Brunson via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:07
Andrew Holbrook def. Jake Matthews via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Omari Akhmedov def. Kyle Noke via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Alex Volkanovski def. Yusuke Kasuya via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:06
Tyson Pedro def. Khalil Rountree via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:07
Danielle Taylor def. Seo Hee Ham via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)
Daniel Kelly def. Chris Camozzi via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Damien Brown def. Jon Tuck via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Jonathan Meunier def. Richard Walsh via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Ben Nguyen def. Geane Herrera via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
Jason Knight def. Dan Hooker via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)
Marlon Vera def. Ning Guangyou via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jenel Lausa def. Yao Zhikui via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)