Robert Whittaker floors Derek Brunson by TKO in spectacular main event
Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson decided to throw caution to the wind on Saturday night in Australia and engage in one of the wildest opening rounds in UFC history.
In the end, it was Whittaker's power and precision that trumped Brunson's offensive onslaught as the New Zealand native gets his sixth win in a row while sending notice to every contender in the middleweight division that he's gunning for them.
The exchanges between the two top-10 ranked middleweights happened almost immediately as Brunson shot out of his corner like a cannon and started head-hunting right away.
As sloppy as his attacks may have been, Brunson nearly capitalized as he popped Whittaker repeatedly and had the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner backing up while trying to regain his composure.
The frantic pace only continued as Whittaker finally got his balance and started to fire back with some hard shots of his own that landed with more precision than the wide, looping punches coming from his opponent.
Still, Brunson refused to be deterred and he kept swinging with several of his punches slipping through Whittaker's defense that seemingly put him on the ropes.
Despite those furious flurries, Brunson just couldn't find the right combination to truly hurt Whittaker and he paid for it in the end while blitzing forward with a hard-charging series of punches.
Whittaker quickly reacted to the reckless attack by side stepping the punches and countering with a fast, stinging punch of his own that buckled Brunson's knees.
With his opponent wobbled, Whittaker kept up the pressure before unleashing a kick that absolutely blasted Brunson in the head before sending him crashing to the canvas a second later. Whittaker quickly followed him to the ground for a few more punches while Brunson could only cover up and wait for referee Herb Dean to stop the carnage.
The fight ended at 4:07 in the first round.
While the main event didn't even make it out of the opening round, Whittaker and Brunson combined for an incredible 108 strikes thrown. Whittaker ultimately outlanded Brunson 33-19 in significant strikes with nearly 57-percent accuracy on the feet.
The victory also served as Whittaker's sixth in a row overall while picking up his fifth straight since moving to the middleweight division.
“I’m stoked to come out with the win, it was pretty important,” Whittaker said after the victory. “I train hard, I have the best coaching staff in the world, win or lose, they are always going to be there. We always do the right things, I stick to the plan and we get things done.
“I've been in the top 10 for a while now. 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.”
Considering the way Whittaker has dominated the competition thus far at 185 pounds it's hard to deny him a shot at a top-five contender after his performance against Brunson. Several top-ranked middleweights, including Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Luke Rockhold and Gegard Mousasi, are all without opponents right now and Whittaker would likely jump at the chance to fight any of them next year.