Derek Brunson is taking lessons that he learned in his fight against current interim UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya into his next match-up.
Brunson is slated to meet rising contender Elias Theodorou in a middleweight bout that will serve as the co-headliner of UFC Ottawa. It’s no secret that Theodorou’s in-cage style may not be the most crowd-pleasing. Despite this, he has been quietly been running through the middleweight division to the point he’s someone to take seriously.
Brunson is more focused on his game and knows that he doesn’t need to rush in while exchanging with his opponents. It’s a lesson that he learned when he lost to Adesanya at UFC 230. It happened when Brunson rushed and met a knee to the head that robbed him of the chance to beat Adesanya.
“I can look back on some of my fights, (and) even the good ones where I got the knockout, I thought, ‘Ah, I probably should have toned it down a little bit. Sometimes, I get in the way of my own self,” he told MMAJunkie. “Like, I know by far I’m a better grappler than him. So going into the fight, my previous fights, I just got too greedy with the hands. I’m just headhunting, trying to knock people out.
“I said in (the Adesanya) fight, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to wrestle, wrestle, wrestle. And I’m shooting without any setup of the hands, and I shoot in one time, and he catches me with a knee. I was a little dazed, and I was like, ‘C’mon, let’s fight.’”
UFC on ESPN+ 9 is set to take place on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The main card will air on ESPN+ at 8 PM ET. The preliminary card will air on ESPN+ at 5 PM ET.