UFC 285: War With Dricus Du Plessis Ends With Derek Brunson’s Corner Throwing in the Towel

Derek Brunson and Dricus Du Plessis, UFC 285
Derek Brunson and Dricus Du Plessis, UFC 285 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

A key middleweight scrap at UFC 285 saw longtime veteran Derek Brunson set to face off with surging South African contender Dricus Du Plessis.

Du Plessis, a former KSW champion in two weight classes, entered the fight off a win over Darren Till in December. Brunson, for his part, was looking to bounce back from a loss against Jared Cannonier.

Early on in Saturday’s middleweight match-up, Brunson caught a Du Plessis kick — the second of two kicks had the South African going up high — and dumped him on his back. Brunson got on top, with Du Plessis trying and failing to push him off. And when he did scramble up, Brunson pulled guard with a guillotine — only for Du Plessis to slip out!

That left Du Plessis in an advantageous position, on top with half a round remaining. Brunson was very active on bottom, latching on to a leg — and in turn, Du Plessis went for a foot lock of his own. Brunson didn’t have a heel hook secured, but he managed to use that to transition to the back; Du Plessis tried to shake him off over the top, but Brunson slid off the side instead.

Back on the feet, Brunson tagged Du Plessis repeatedly; the South African went back to the canvas with Brunson on his back! Brunson went hunting for a near-naked choke, but didn’t have it under the chin. Du Plessis then fought the wrists, and scrambled back to his feet just prior to the buzzer.

Round two saw Brunson close the distance, throwing heavy and forcing Du Plessis to retreat. The 29-year old, a decade Brunson’s junior, appeared to be winded, but Brunson was starting to slow as well. Du Plessis landed a left, and a kick to the body. Another left landed for Du Plessis. And later, another. Brunson was on wobbly legs. Du Plessis chopped at one with a kick; Brunson then looked to shoot a takedown, but didn’t come close to landing it. For every blow Brunson was landing, Du Plessis landed several. Brunsons leg appear compromised, and the pair wound up in a back-and-forth battle.

Du Plessis would shoot for a takedown after a Brunson left hand landed; he briefly had Brunson down, but they were back up in a flash. More trading, and Du Plessis tagged Brunson repeatedly, a 1-2 doing the damage. Brunson went down, half from exhaustion! Du Plessis got on top, firing a couple hammer fists, and landed one final blow prior to the buzzer. Just as it sounded, Brunson’s corner threw in the towel, and Herb Dean appeared ready to stop the action anyway — and that was the fight!

Official Result: Dricus Du Plessis def. Derek Brunson by TKO, Round 2, 4:59