Off the back of an impressive third round submission stoppage against Darren Till at UFC Vegas 36 on Saturday, Derek Brunson appears to be on the cusp of his first middleweight title challenge. However, he maintains that a title-eliminator against fellow contender, Jared Cannonier may have to come first.
Enjoying a definite career resurgence, North Carolina native, Brunson turned in his fifth consecutive victory on Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 36 — submitting Liverpool native, Till in the third round with a rear-naked choke, having dominated the bout up until that point with his expertise wrestling and top-control.
Scoring three successful takedowns throughout the bout, Brunson managed to get Till to the canvas once in each round, laying down particular punishment in the first — landing massive ground strikes from a postured half-guard, drawing a sizeable mouse under the right eye of the Liverpudlian.
Eventually submitting Till during a third round scramble, Brunson lodged his fifth straight victory, adding the former to a run which consists of triumphs against Kevin Holland, Edmen Shahbazyan, Ian Heinisch, and Elias Theodorou.
Following the pairing, Brunson suggested a future title challenge against one-time opponent, reigning middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya — in a rematch of their November 2018 UFC 230 pairing, where Brunson suffered a late first round knockout, in his most recent Octagon blemish.
Speaking following his showdown with Till during the post-fight press conference, Brunson claimed that whilst he’d like to score his first title challenge under the UFC’s banner next, he remains realistic that a title-eliminator against Cannonier could occur, given the fact Adesanya is set to rematch former opponent, Robert Whittaker early next year.
“(Jared) Cannonier isn’t completely off the table,” Brunson told assembled media. “I’ve just been adamant about asking for the toughest guys in the division and I asked for Paulo Costa. The UFC sent him a contract and he didn’t sign it.“
“If I would’ve got that fight I would’ve been definitely next for a title shot,” Brunson explained. “I’m doing all this work, I definitely want to be rewarded. I’ve never had a title shot in my career.“
Brunson has shared the Octagon with both Adesanya and the aforenoted, Whittaker — suffering an opening round knockout loss to the latter in the main event of UFC Fight Night Melbourne in November 2016 in a title-eliminator loss.
Rebounding to the winner’s enclosure at UFC Vegas 34 last month, Texas knockout-ace, Cannonier headlined against former interim middleweight title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum — lodging a unanimous decision victory.
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