‘Jacare’ Souza uses head kick to KO Derek Brunson at UFC Charlotte

UFC middleweight Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was able to remain in the upper echelon at 185 pounds as he knocked out fellow middleweight contender Derek Brunson Saturday at a UFC Fight Night event in Charlotte, N.C.

Souza landed a head kick behind Brunson’s left ear in the opening round of their main event bout and the Brazilian followed that strike up with a series of punches. A first-round knockout win for Souza is the exact same result as when the pair fought five years ago in Strikeforce, however that first meeting only lasted 41 seconds.

Souza (25–5 with one no contest) bounced back from a TKO loss to current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker he suffered last April. Brunson (18–6) had a two-fight winning streak snapped. He was coming off back-to-back KO victories over four-time Olympic judoka Dan Kelly and former UFC champ Lyoto Machida.
Andre Fili had his hand raised after a controversial split decision over Dennis Bermudez in the co-main event. Two judges scored the featherweight contest 29-28 (two rounds to one) for Fili while the third had it 30-27 with all three rounds going to Bermudez.

Gregor Gillespie continued making a name for himself in the lightweight division, using punches to finish Jordan Rinaldi with 14 seconds remaining in the first round to improve to 4-0 in the UFC and 11-0 overall in mixed martial arts.

On the preliminary card, 145-pound contender Mirsad Bektic landed a devastating body punch to stop Godofredo Pepey and Canadian Randa Markos swept the scorecards against Juliana Lima in women’s strawweight action.

Here are the complete results from UFC Charlotte.

— Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza def. Derek Brunson by knockout
— Andre Fili def. Dennis Bermudez by split decision
— Gregor Gillespie def. Jordan Rinaldi by TKO
— Drew Dober def. Frank Camacho by unanimous decision

— Bobby Green def. Erik Koch by unanimous decision
— Mirsad Bektic def. Godofredo Pepey by TKO
— Katlyn Chookagian def. Mara Romero Borella by unanimous decision
— Randa Markos def. Juliana Lima by unanimous decision
— Ji Yeon Kim def. Justine Kish by split decision
— Vinc Pichel def. Joaquim Silva by unanimous decision
— Niko Price def. George Sullivan by submission (rear-naked choke)
— Cory Sandhagen def. Austin Arnett by TKO

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