Loser: Derek Brunson
It’s never easy to lose in front of your hometown crowd, especially after a two-fight win streak that was beginning to erase the negativity of a prior two-fight losing streak.
For Brunson, however, it stings even more because he once again finds himself on the outside looking in on the middleweight title picture. That picture may be as cloudy and convoluted as any class due to the recent champion shuffle – there have been three champions since November already – but after losing to Jacare, Brunson isn’t close to a title shot no matter how it shakes, so he’ll have to once again get back to the drawing board and begin a new win streak.
He’s done it before and he can do it again.
There’s no doubt Brunson can finish any fighter in the first round if able to land one of his patented rushing flurries. However, at this point, you also have to wonder if the risk he’s taking to do so is worth it, and he’s shown a tendency to be rocked by big head kicks by tricky, powerful strikers like Souza and Whittaker.
Those are huge tendencies to shore up, and at this point, he may or may not be able to do in order to get over the hump of being a middleweight journeyman or a true top contender. He still has time, but it’s time to get to work.