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Souza makes triumphant return, TKOs Brunson in rematch

Read on for UFC Charlotte main event results...

(R-L) Ronaldo Souza of Brazil kicks Derek Brunson in their middleweight bout during a UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on January 27, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)SOUZA vs BRUNSON

No. 3-ranked middleweight contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza made it two for two over Derek Brunson in the UFC Charlotte main event at Spectrum Center Saturday night, knocking out the North Carolina native in the first round and repeating his 2012 win over the No. 8-ranked Brunson.

Fighting more patiently than he has in recent fights, Brunson’s measured approach was matched by Souza, who still found a way to land some hard right hands that got his opponent’s attention. As the round wound down, Souza stunned Brunson and the crowd with a right kick to the head, sending the local favorite to the deck. Brunson tried to get his bearings back, but Souza kept the heat on, with referee Dan Miragliotta stopping the bout at 3:50 of the opening stanza.

With the win, Brazil’s Souza, back in action for the first time since an April 2017 loss to Robert Whittaker, moves to 25-5 with 1 NC. Wilmington’s Brunson falls to 18-6.