Cheers of “Colby Sucks” upon Colby Covington’s arrival at UFC 241 nearly overshadowed the middleweight PPV opener between Derek Brunson and Ian Heinisch.
Middleweights Ian Heinisch and Derek Brunson collided at UFC 241, opening up the PPV card Saturday night in Anaheim. Heinisch, a veteran of Dana White’s Contender Series, had won his first two UFC bouts to date, and was getting a big step up against Brunson, who despite recent struggles was a veteran of the weight class both in the UFC and Strikeforce.
Brunson had also turned things around of late, earning a win over Elias Theodorou in the Canadian’s backyard at UFC Ottawa in May. Interestingly enough, Heinisch had called out Brunson after his last win.
Heinisch came out swinging, catching Brunson early, then tagging him with a head kick! Brunson probably should have gone down but somehow managed to keep standing and tie Heinisch up. His wrestling would buy him some time, but after resetting, Heinisch once again began firing, punching his way in, mixing in kicks. Brunson seemed willing to weather the storm, and stayed on the outside. Heinisch would fire a leg kick, again close the distance with a punch, and even add in a takedown attempt, albeit one that was stuffed. A number of Heinisch attacks were near misses, with Brunson rolling, weaving, or moving out of range. Finally with ninety seconds left, Brunson shot for a takedown, but couldn’t complete, and ate several hard punches while upright, still holding on to Heinisch’s leg.
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Round two, not surprisingly, opened with a slower pace. Brunson would land some solid punches while Heinisch was against the cage, leading to Heinisch shooting for a takedown to escape. Brunson would connect again with a right hand later, but Heinisch seemed to have recovered. Near the midway point, Brunson went on the attack again, swarming with punches then taking the back, the pair still standing. Heinisch would get his back against the cage, but it was clear he was tiring. Fatigue was likely going to be a factor, as the pair headed to the final round. However, the fight’s biggest reaction came when welterweight Colby Covington entered the building, causing “Colby Sucks” chants to erupt. The former interim champ, decked out in his MAGA hat, would be jeered throughout the fight.
Heinisch opened the third with a leg, but Brunson took the back and took him down. Heinisch scrambled, the pair got back to the feet, but immediately clinched. Heinisch was taking big swings through the rounds, while Brunson was conserving energy, and ultimately was more accurate. Heinisch would land a right with 90 seconds or so to go, and connect with a jab. He’d continue trying to catch Brunson right up til the final bell, but the final two rounds had him fading, which allowed Brunson to take the win on the scorecards. The lesson for Ian Heinisch, be careful what you wish for.
Derek Brunson def. Ian Heinisch by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)