Outside of the main event itself, no fight on the UFC 271 card carried with it higher stakes than Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson.
With Sean Strickland winning something of a lackluster decision against Jack Hermansson a week ago, the winner of Cannonier vs. Brunson was primed to secure a shot at the middleweight belt with a strong performance.
You could feel the anticipation from the Houston, Texas crowd as Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson made their way to the octagon for what could be a potential number one contender’s fight in the middleweight division.
Round one opened up with no touch of the gloves, as both men knew precisely what was on the line. Derek Brunson got the fight to the ground early, which was clearly his path to victory, but Jared Cannonier got right back on his feet. Brunson got things back down to the ground a short time later, passing to mount, and even looked for an arm triangle. Cannonier got back up and fired back, only to be countered with a heavy right hook! Brunson took advantage and locked in a rear naked choke with ten seconds left. Cannonier held on until the round ended.
Derek Brunson instantly went for a takedown in the second, looking to get Cannonier back to the mat. Cannonier had other plans however. Brunson was hit by a right hand that changed the complexion of the fight, and as his wrestling slowed, Jared Cannonier defended takedowns and began to gain respect on the feet landing punches. Jared Cannonier hurt Derek Brunson with an elbow followed up with a back fist, and as he rained down blows, Brunson’s corner threw in the towel just as the ref waved things off anyway, bringing an end to the fight in the second.
MISSION. ACCOMPLISHED. 🤯
— UFC (@ufc) February 13, 2022
Was it a good enough performance for a title shot? It very well could be, but a lot will depend on the outcome of UFC 271’s main event. A win from Israel Adesanya, and Cannonier could very well be next for the title. Should Robert Whittaker come out on top, a rubber match between himself and Izzy could be next.
Official Result: Jared Cannonier def. Derek Brunson by TKO, Round 2, 4:29