UFC middleweight Yoel Romero continued to produce fireworks, but there were definitely some shaky moments at Fight Night 35 in Georgia against Derek Brunson. Romero, a standout wrestler who won an Olympic silver medal back in 2000, pulled off a come-from-behind third round knockout victory in what was the Fight of the Night. It marked his second bonus in three Octagon appearances.
Both men were riding two-fight win streaks entering the contest, and it was Brunson who surprisingly seemed to have the advantage in the wrestling department through the first two rounds as he was able to score a pair of takedowns. He also landed a devastating head kick in the opening frame, but Romero absorbed it without wavering. He showed tremendous toughness throughout the contest and an iron chin as Brunson landed some solid left hands.
Romero’s pressure finally paid dividends in the final frame as it was pretty evident as the third round began that Brunson had lost a lot of steam. Brunson just needed to survive the round to get a likely victory on the scorecards, but instead it was the “Soldier of God” who would close the show in brutal fashion.
He landed an enormous left hook that stunned Brunson and was able to take him to the ground after a series of follow-up punches. A bloodied Brunson was in no position to get Romero off of him and as a result, he was on the receiving end of a series of brutal elbows to the body before the fight was halted at the 3:23 mark.
Romero improved to 7-1 in his career, with all seven of his victories coming by knockout. He’s a tremendously powerful fighter who has now won all three of his UFC contests by stoppage. While still having areas of his game to work on, the 36-year old Romero has proven to be strong on the entertainment scale.
It’ll be intriguing to see who the promotion matches him up with next. Brunson fell to 11-3 and will be out of action for some time after suffering a broken jaw that required surgery.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports