The Severe Spotlight: Brunno Ferriera

185lb has always been somewhat of a rogue division. Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya and Chris Weidman the longest reigning champions. Often due to those longer reigning champions, specifically the reign of The Spider, 185lb has sometimes seemed staled by dominance. Generally, the talent pool of humans that walk around between 83-93kg are few and far between in comparison to the lighter weight classes, and this can often mean a slowing in the development of said division.

However, the main card opener was the first half of a bookend of 185lb fights shone a small light into some of the ferocity that is available coming through in the UFC middleweight division. Brunno Ferriera blasted his way through Dustin Stoltzfus in the first round, taking his record to 12-1 (4-1 under the Endeavour banner). Add to this he has left the first round once in his 13 outings and this begins to paint a picture of the type of fighter that we are dealing with.

A loose yet measured opening minute from Ferriera saw him skirt the tramline and cage wall, switching his stance, resetting to the centre after pulling a jab from Stoltzfus. His first strike a stepping side kick to the liver. The right leg seems to be the favoured option when kicking, and Ferriera does a good job of being comfortable enough in both stances to find kicking options with the right leg from orthodox, with the low kicks and the side kicks from southpaw.

A wild scramble sees both men land, a large overhand from Ferriera failing to deter Stoltzfus from closing the distance, giving up a back bodylock Ferreira attempts to throw Stoltzfus with an overback uchi mata variation, which as it failed allowed him to momentarily play reverse z guard, with the same overback to try to elevate Stoltzfus and regain some space. Stoltzfus rode the hips well and found his way to chest-to-chest half, with a head and arm.

Ferreira immediately works for a pinch shoulder grip and both his butterfly hooks. Negating damage from Stoltzfus with bicep ties and a strong collar tie, Ferriera works feet to hips as he moves to double overs. Forcing Stoltzfus to posture with a shotgun armbar attempt, Ferriera uses the space to build up into a turtle.

Stoltzfus opts for a merkle grip set (the opposite of a seat belt), but Ferrier keeps his hips tracking well and as Stoltzfus opts to hop on the back, does a good job of shucking his man forward so the hooks fail to stick. A good adjustment from Stoltzfus see’s him work to a short hook, long hook configuration but Ferriera has done a fantastic job of forcing Stoltzfus to sit high on his back, he four points as Stoltzfus tries to settle and collapses the connection his opponent has on his back.

Stoltzfus then looks for a leg entanglement, and Ferriera misaligns his knee well, before giving room for the kneebar as he spins through. Hamstring exposure saves the knee of Ferriera, retracting the knee line and giving moments pause for him to scramble back to his feet.

A pocket exchange see’s both men clipped yet again, forcing a reset. All this adversity, and all of this tension is simmering to an explosive crescendo. The Stoltzfus shots keep coming, a knee up the middle lands flush, a spinning side kick drags Ferreria out to the right-hand pocket and Stoltzfus’s fists chase him. But then, the barrage begins.

A over hand right, a left hook, a spinning elbow and another over hand right land cleanly on Stoltzfus, forcing him to stumble backwards, desperately looking for a shot to land to stun the onrushing angry bull. More wild shots from Ferriera just bully Stoltzfus backwards, basically keeping him standing.

A desperation takedown stuffed, Ferreira sends the beat to a finger splitting pace as he sets the final jumping knee to push Stoltzfus against the fence. Two body hooks force the left hook and step out from Stoltzfus, a final dip to the right-hand side brings the hands down, expecting a third body shot. Instead, a spinning elbow from the pits of hell clatters into the crash cymbal as the choir reaches it apex, and the lights go out.

The body that bounces up from the canvas no longer contains the soul of Stoltzfus, that left a considerable time previously. Jason Herzog perfectly calls a halt to the fight, and awards Ferriera with the jubilation of a comeback win, and an immediate entry into the KOTY nominations.

Brunno Ferriera needs much polishing, but best believe that he can turn a tide, and drown a man in a wave of violent music if given the chance.

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