Brunson silences Theodorou in co-main event of UFC Fight Night Ottawa

Burgos, Dvalishvili, Harris, and Sanchez also earned victories on the main card at the Canadian Tire Centre

Derek Brunson weighs in prior to his co-main event bout at UFC Fight Night: Ottawa with Canadian Elias Theodorou.  Jonathan Chan/Toronto Observer

Derek Brunson def. Elias Theodorou via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

In spite of all the media jabs from his opponent, Brunson was able to snap a two-fight losing streak, cruising to a unanimous decision victory over Theodorou in Saturday’s co-main event.

Brunson, who Theodorou consistently referred to as an “emotional fighter” was the more methodical combatant in the bout, using his wrestling and superior endurance to wear out the younger fighter.

The 35-year old, who had scored a knockout in all six of his previous victories, was happy to show he could go the distance if necessary.

“I’m a knockout guy and my [six] previous wins all were knockouts, so it feels good to know I can go the full three rounds,” the middleweight told reporters. “I switched up my training camp and moved to Hard Knocks 365 and I think that made a big difference in this fight.”

The biggest moment of the fight came in the final round when Brunson hoisted the exhausted Canadian above his head and drove him into the canvas.

As he was performing the slam, Brunson’s mind was not on winning, but making sure he didn’t end up on a blooper highlight reel himself.

“I picked up him and my thought was I didn’t want to knock myself out like I’ve seen other fighters do in the past,” said Brunson. “That wouldn’t have looked good, I would’ve made SportsCentre not-top 10. That would’ve been bad.”

Known as someone who will take any fight at any time, the Wilmington, N.C., native has decided to change his philosophy to spend more time with his family, and think carefully about his next career move.

“I’m going to take some time off, this was tough. It’s not always about me, but about the people around me, my friends and my family,” Brunson said. “If I lose, it reflects on them also, so we’ll take some time and figure out what’s next.”

Shane Burgos def. Cub Swanson via split decision (27-30, 30-27, 29-28)

Burgos notched a scrappy victory, his fifth in six fights, with a split decision win over Swanson.

The judge’s scorecard that gave Swanson all three rounds was a topic of discussion for the 28-year old post-fight.

“It pissed me off, it rubbed me the wrong way,” said Burgos, in the post-fight scrum. “No disrespect to him but I don’t think that was a split decision, I felt like I won all three rounds. I feel like you guys [media] agree too?”

“Maybe he won a round, but not all three.”

For the Monroe, New York native, a win over Swanson will be the thing that stands out in his career.

 

“You look at my 12-1 record, that name is going to stick out. He’s a legend in the sport—somebody I grew up watching, having that win it’s awesome.”

Merab Dvalishvili def. Brad Katona via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Dvalishvili completely smothered Winnipeg’s Katona en route to a unanimous decision victory on Saturday night.

The Canadian had no answer for Dvalishvili, who was able to take the fight to the ground at will.

The proud Georgian was happy to be the first person to hand Katona a loss in his professional MMA career and wants to continue showcasing his skills against the best the division has to offer.

“He was a really tough opponent. His striking is good, his grappling is good, his cardio is very good and I expected a very good fight,” said Dvalishvili. “I want to stay in the UFC and fight the best guys because I love this. There’s nothing better than this.”

Dvalishvili has now won two fights in a row, and will look to move up the rankings to make his home country proud.

“This is a very big deal for Georgia. I’ll make the people of Georgia proud,” said the 28-year old. “I want to show the young kids that if you work hard the world will [embrace] you.

Walt Harris (12-7-1) def. Sergey Spivak (9-1) via TKO at 0:55 of Round 1

Harris had little trouble earning the win on Saturday night, knocking out the debuting Spivak within the first minute of their bout.

 

“The Big Ticket” continued to prove himself as one of the best knockout artists in the UFC, earning his 10th first-round knockout in 12 victories.

Harris was not initially scheduled to fight the unranked Spivak, and knew that he needed a solid performance against a relative unknown.

“I had to make a statement tonight. I couldn’t let him get comfortable. I couldn’t let him get over the fact that he was in the UFC, said the Alabama native. “[The jitters] are a real thing. I could sense that. I wanted to stay in his face and put a little pressure on him.”

Harris is enjoying success in his second UFC run, following a tumultuous stretch that saw him go 3-5.

The heavyweight knew he had to make a change and credits a better mindset and proper preparation.

“I think it’s self-belief. I had put a lot of pressure myself, I expected a lot out of myself and I almost didn’t know how to handle that,” said Harris. “The fights and the ups and downs have seasoned me for this moment that I’m in.”

“I’m training smarter and training harder. I’ve prepared mentally and physically. I’m ready for success.”

Andrew Sanchez def. Marc-Andre Barriault via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Sanchez overcame a second-round flurry and defeated UFC newcomer Barriault by unanimous decision.

It was the second round that saw the 31-year old’s head rocked from a number of strikes by the hard-hitting Barriault.

 

“El Dirte” earned a second straight win and fourth overall in the promotion, and credits his natural drive for pulling him through Barriault’s barrage.

“Tough times come in a fight and you question yourself,” said Sanchez, after the bout. “ ‘Am I about to lose?’ ‘Am I about to go down?’”

“There’s something dragging you down and it’s in the back of your head when tough times come. You just fight and you do it and that’s who you are and it’s deep inside of you, it’s instinctual.”

For Barriault, who sparred with the Belleville, Illinois native prior to Saturday’s fight, knows that it was Sanchez’s wrestling that made the difference and now knows what he needs to work on.

“I want to be well-rounded,” said “The Power Bar”. “I need to focus on takedown defence, maybe let my hands go more –I’m born for this.”

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By: and
Posted: May 5 2019 8:58 am
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