UFC Fight Night Report: Derek Brunson submits Darren Till in Round 3

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UFC Fight Night Report: Derek Brunson submits Darren Till in Round 3

By: Eric Marcotte

On Saturday afternoon, the UFC returned with a Fight Night event from the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card was headlined by a fight between two of the top contenders at middleweight, Darren Till and Derek Brunson. Despite relative inactivity due to injuries and a loss to Robert Whittaker in his last bout, Till remains a highly ranked middleweight. An emphatic win over Brunson would move Till closer to a championship bout against Israel Adesanya, who has expressed his interest in fighting Till in the past. Derek Brunson was angling for a fight with Adesanya himself, as a victory here would move him to five consecutive wins, his longest win streak since 2016. In the co-main event, Tom Aspinall faced Sergey Spivak in a clash between two of the top heavyweight prospects.

The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Michael Bisping, and Daniel Cormier. Performance of the Night bonuses went out to Tom Aspinall and Paddy Pimblett. Fight of the Night bonuses were awarded to Molly McCann and Ji Yeon Kim.


*Marc-Andre Barriault def. Dalcha Lungiambula by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

*Julian Erosa def. Charles Jourdain by D’Arce Choke at 2:56 of Round 3

*Jack Shore def. Liudvik Sholinian by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Molly McCann def. Ji Yeon Kim by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Paddy Pimblett def. Luigi Vendramini by TKO at 4:25 of Round 1

*Khalil Rountree def. Modestas Bukauskas by TKO at 2:30 of Round 2

*Alex Morono def. David Zawada by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Tom Aspinall def. Sergey Spivak by TKO at 2:30 of Round 1

*Derek Brunson def. Darren Till by rear-naked choke at 2:13 of Round 3


Lungiambula landed the first big shot of the fight, a ducking right hook. Lungiambula would occasionally flurry forward with some heavy combinations, but Barriault was the advancing fighter for the majority of the round. Lungiambula took Barriault down a couple of times but was unable to keep him there for long. It was a very close round, and I narrowly gave the edge to Lungiambula. 10-9 Lungiambula.

They exchanged hooks to begin round two. Barriault was the aggressor offensively, constantly keeping Lungiambula on the backfoot. On occasion, they would stop and trade hard shots against the cage, but by and large, Barriault was able to outstrike Lungiambula throughout the round from distance. I had the fight scored 19-19 going into the final round.

Lungiambula’s corner stressed to him that he needed to start advancing, but Barriault immediately began to back him up once more as the third round began. Lungiambula caught Barriault with a nasty eye poke, and the doctor was brought in to check on him. It looked as though the doctor was thinking about stopping the fight, but Barriault was able to pass the doctor’s vision tests and the fight continued. Both men landed some solid shots as the action resumed. They were both swinging for the fences, looking for the late knockout, but it didn’t come, and the fight went the distance. 29-28 Barriault.

WINNER: Marc-Andre Barriault by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

I thought this was a very fun fight to begin the night. Barriault and Lungiambula spent a sizeable portion of the fight just swinging at each other against the cage, which is always a recipe for an entertaining fight. Those wild exchanges aside, this was a strong performance from Barriault, who is starting to gain some momentum after a rough start in the UFC. He is now 2-3 (1 NC) in the promotion.


Jourdain snuck a left hook in early. Erosa tagged Jourdain with a sharp combination about a minute later, as he began to pull ahead on the striking numbers. Erosa dug into the body and was really troubling Jourdain with short combinations as he advanced. Jourdain connected with a straight left hand before Erosa cracked him with an uppercut that backed him off. 10-9 Erosa.

Jourdain came out swinging to begin the second round. They traded jabs, and Erosa began to advance once more, throwing vicious combinations to the body. Jourdain landed a lightning-quick left hand, his best shot of the fight thus far. Jourdain flurried forward and knocked Erosa down briefly in the latter half of the round. A back and forth round, but the knockdown was the difference-maker. 19-19.

Jourdain landed a huge combination of punches in the opening seconds of round three, prompting Erosa to take Jourdain down. Jourdain picked himself up, as Erosa connected with numerous knees to the body. Erosa jumped on a D’Arce choke as he attempted to defend another takedown, and he sunk it in tight, forcing Jourdain to submit.

WINNER: Julian Erosa by D’Arce Choke at 2:56 of Round 3

Both Erosa and Jourdain are typically in fun fights, and this was no exception. Erosa held his own on the feet against Jourdain for the majority of the fight, but it felt as though the momentum was beginning to swing in Jourdain’s favor following the knockdown, and Erosa knew it was time to bring the fight to the ground. Once he got Jourdain down, it didn’t take him long to secure the finish, and this marked his third submission victory since joining the UFC. Erosa is now 3-4 in the UFC.


Shore took Sholinian down about two minutes into the round. Shore was eventually able to transition into an arm triangle but was unable to finish the submission. Sholinian escaped to his feet with seconds left in the round, however, he didn’t really have the time to make up ground in the round. 10-9 Shore.

Shore connected with a right hand, before bringing Sholinian back to the ground. Sholinian made it back to his feet in a much quicker fashion this time but seemed hesitant to commit to anything offensively. They traded right hands, and Shore defended a takedown attempt from Sholinian. Sholinian landed a straight right towards the end of the round, which was his best shot of the fight to that point. 20-18 Shore.

Shore continued to control the fight in round three. He worked his jab before wrestling with Sholinian against the cage for some time. Sholinian was eventually able to shrug Shore off, but he tried to find a takedown of his own, resulting in another brief stalemate against the cage. 30-27 Shore.

WINNER: Jack Shore by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Shore was a step ahead for the entirety of this fight, limiting Sholinian to less than twenty strikes landed throughout the contest. Shore is a very well-rounded martial artist, and that was on full display with his performance here. With this win, Shore improved to 4-0 in the UFC, and 15-0 professionaly with this win. Shore called for a ranked opponent in his post-fight interview, which seems like the sensible next step for him.

MOLLY MCCANN (10-4, 125.5) VS JI YEON KIM (9-3-2, 126) – FLYWEIGHT

McCann landed some bombs in the opening minute of this fight. Kim took the shots well and responded before an accidental clash of heads floored McCann. She recovered quickly, and they began to wrestle against the cage. When they broke apart, McCann resumed her attack, and I thought she took the round despite being grounded by that clash of heads. 10-9 McCann.

McCann continued to fight aggressively in the second round. Kim was landing decent shots as well, but she just didn’t seem to have the power to deter McCann from advancing. Again, I thought McCann’s pace and power was the difference-maker on the scorecards, and I had her up 20-18 going into round three.

The trends of the fight continued in round three. McCann advances, throwing powerful hooks, while Kim looked to counter on the backfoot. I actually thought Kim landed the better shots throughout the majority of this final round, tagging McCann with counter hooks as McCann attempted to work her way inside. However, McCann really turned it up in the final minute, applying heavy pressure while taunting Kim, and I thought her strikes towards the end of the fight secured a close round in her favor. 30-27 McCann.

WINNER: Molly McCann by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

McCann was throwing heavy shots from the opening seconds of the fight, and she kept that pace until the final bell. It was a closer fight than my 30-27 scorecards would indicate, but when a fight is largely contested on the feet, and the output between both fighters is similar, it’s typically power that will be the difference-maker. Kim didn’t seem to possess the power in her hands to really hurt McCann, and that allowed McCann to continuously move forward while putting all of her strength into each shot. McCann is now 4-3 in the UFC with this win.


They exchanged kicks to the head, as Daniel Cormier compared Paddy Pimblett to Owen Hart, appearance-wise. Vendramini cracked Pimblett with a huge hook, before securing a takedown near the cage. Pimblett made it back to his feet, and he looked to have recovered from that big shot. Vendramini was finding success with his lead left hook, and he seemed to be pulling ahead in the round. In the final minute of the round, Pimblett went on the attack. He hurt Vendramini with a right hook and just started swarming him with strikes, giving him no room to recover. He landed one last big hook against the cage, and Vendramini finally went down.

WINNER: Paddy Pimblett by TKO at 4:25 of Round 1

The atmosphere for this fight was impressive considering this card was held at the Apex. Vendramini seemed to be getting the better of Pimblett on the feet and had him in a ton of trouble early. To Pimblett’s credit, he didn’t seem shaken in the slightest, and when he began to swarm Vendramini, he landed with fight-ending power. This marked Pimblett’s UFC debut, and he came across as very charismatic in his post-fight interview.


Rountree was going for the kill from the opening seconds of this fight, and Bukauskas was practically sprinting away in an effort to avoid Rountree’s power. Rountree appeared to break the nose of Bukauskas, and he began to dig into the body as well. As the round progressed, Rountree started slowing down, but Bukauskas did not pick up his activity in return. 10-9 Rountree.

The second round began at a slow pace, but Rountree’s leg kicks had begun to add up. He landed one heavy oblique kick to the knee, and the lead leg of Bukauskas just sort of crumbled inwards at the awkward angle. Bukauskas let out a yell as he went to the ground, and the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Khalil Rountree by TKO at 2:30 of Round 2

This was certainly a brutal finish, with Bukauskas almost certainly sustaining serious injury from that final oblique kick. Rountree had a huge advantage in power, and honestly, Bukauskas looked completely overwhelmed before Rountree slowed his pace. I’m sure this will bring back the decade-old argument about the legality of oblique kicks, but the fact remains that they are legal attacks, and this particular one was masterfully timed by Roundtree to end the fight. Rountree is now 5-5 (1 NC) in the UFC.

ALEX MORONO (19-7, 1 NC, 170.5) VS DAVID ZAWADA (17-6, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT

Morono landed the first big shot of the fight, a looping right hand. There were some heavy exchanges of punches throughout the round, but neither fighter was really pulling ahead. Morono was doing a good job of sneaking in these looping shots at the end of his combinations, and I thought these shots were probably the difference-maker throughout a very close round. 10-9 Morono.

The pace of the fight did not slow at all in the second round. Zawada swarmed Morono early, but Morono backed him off when he began to fire back. Morono continued to land the bigger shots in my opinion, and while the striking numbers continued to be relatively close, it felt as though Morono was the fighter doing the damage. 20-18 Morono.

Zawada slipped to the ground following a shot from Morono early in the third but did not seem to be hurt. Morono briefly had the upper hand on the ground, before Zawada worked his way back to the feet. Morono was pulling ahead in the striking department, but Zawada never stopped moving forward in his attempt to find a finish. Zawada secured a takedown to end the fight. 30-27 Morono.

WINNER: Alex Morono by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

It was far from a technical battle, but Morono got the job done here. Much of this fight was spent on the feet, and Zawada just didn’t make the adjustments necessary to pull ahead, largely resulting in what can best be described as an active, but somewhat repetitive, fifteen minutes. Morono has won his last two fights, and his record is now 9-4 (1 NC) in the UFC.


After a short feeling out process, Aspinall cracked Spivak with a right elbow that cut Spivak open, and dropped him to the ground. Aspinall gave Spivak no room to recover, and he swarmed him with ground and pound until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Tom Aspinall by TKO at 2:30 of Round 1

Tom Aspinall has been one of the top prospects at heavyweight since his UFC debut, but I believe he has outgrown the “prospect” status at this point. He is rapidly approaching the top ten of the division, and there have been zero stumbles thus far for him (at least in terms of his UFC run), which is something special when we’re talking about the heavyweight division. The first big shot he landed here ended the fight, and this marked his fourth consecutive win in the UFC. He has finished all of his wins, and all but one of those wins have come in the first round. Aspinall said he hurt his hand with the first punch he threw in the fight, but expressed his interest in fighting up in the rankings upon his return.


Till and Brunson touched gloves to begin the fight. Till advanced quickly, seeming intent on putting Brunson on the backfoot. Till landed a quick straight left, as well as a clean one-two. Brunson succeeded in taking Till to the ground moments later, where he began to work from half guard. Brunson postured up and began to throw down ground and pound, which had Till in a ton of trouble. Eventually, Till was able to work his way back to his feet, and gave Brunson a pat on the back. 10-9 Brunson for me, but you could make the case for this being a 10-8 round.

Till’s right eye had some significant swelling around it from Brunson’s ground and pound. He was able to defend Brunson’s first two takedown attempts of the round, but Brunson was eventually able to take Till back down. Brunson controlled Till from half guard while staying active with ground and pound. Till was able to escape to his feet late in the round, but this was another round for Brunson. 20-18 Brunson.

The momentum began to swing in round three, as Till repeatedly tagged Brunson with left hands. He mixed up his attack, attacking the lead leg of Brunson while continuing to land those powerful left hands. Brunson looked hurt, and Till began to unload with strikes in an attempt to finish the fight. Brunson was able to secure a desperation takedown, and he brought Till right back to the ground. He immediately transitioned into full mount, before throwing down ground and pound that forced Till to give up his back. Brunson sunk in the rear-naked choke, and Till was forced to submit.

WINNER: Derek Brunson by rear-naked choke at 2:13 of Round 3

The third round of this fight was wild. Just as it looked as though Till was on the verge of a comeback, Brunson got the fight back to the ground, before finishing things moments later. With the exception of that ninety-second start to round three for Till, this was a dominant win for Derek Brunson, and you could argue that this may have been the most impressive win of his career. Brunson has climbed back into contendership status, and in his post-fight interview, he made it clear that he wants a title shot next, and is willing to wait until Adesanya and Whittaker have their rematch. If that strategy doesn’t work out for Brunson, I think a fight against Jared Cannonier would be perfect to determine the division’s next title challenger.

About Eric Marcotte 189 Articles
A graduate of Laurentian University, Eric reports on Mixed Martial Arts at POST Wrestling.