Wilmington native Derek Brunson returned to the octagon over the weekend and picked up his third straight victory following a first-round knockout against Sam Alvey as part of UFC Fight Night 73 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Known for his ground game as a former All-American wrestler at UNC-Pembroke, Brunson has now finished his last two fights using a dominating striking attack to solidify himself among some of the top middleweight fighters in the growing sport.
Broadcast live on Fox Sports 1, Brunson pressured Alvey right from the get go and began unloading combination punches that ultimately led to repeated head shots with his opponent pinned up against the cage, eventually leading referee Mario Yamasaki to stop the fight.
On his Twitter feed @DerekBrunson, the Hoggard High School graduate thanked fans and supporters from his home state and Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he’s been training between fights.
“Always a good feeling leaving a UFC fight, returning home with a victory and reflecting back on all the hard work put in during a training camp. Here’s to North Carolina, Albuquerque/ JacksonsWink family and fans. You guys keep me going. Many more in the future!” he wrote.
Brunson is now 5-1 in UFC matchups, with his lone loss coming to top-five ranked fighter Yoel Romero. Leading up to Saturday’s bout, Brunson was in the top 15 among his weight class and will likely receive a bump in the rankings and a top-10 fight in the near future.