Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza spoiled Derek Brunson's homecoming with a devastating first-round knockout to cap off FOX UFC Fight Night from Charlotte on Saturday night.
Returning from a nine-month layoff, Souza didn't look like he skipped a beat in the opening round as he defended Brunson's best shots on the feet before firing back with his own counter right hands that consistently found a home against the No. 8-ranked middleweight.
While his punches were working, it was Souza's kicking game that paid off as he kept taking a swing at Brunson's legs and midsection to keep him concentrating there instead of protecting his head. That's when Souza launched a lightning quick head kick that bounced off Brunson's hand and head as he tried to block the shot, but it was already too late.
The end came just a few seconds later as Souza wrapped up a knockout victory as he gets back in the win column following a loss to middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in his previous outing.
Despite the layoff, Souza was still a very solid favorite going into the night, with 69 percent of fantasy players predicting that he would win. Souza got the job done and now awaits his next assignment in the middleweight division.
In the co-main event, Andre Fili managed to pull off one of the biggest upsets all night as he took out top 15-ranked Dennis Bermudez in a razor close split decision. Just 28 percent of fantasy players picked Fili going into the card but he came through with a hard fought victory to get his second win in a row.
Gregor Gillespie remained undefeated by moving his record to 11-0 with a punishing performance against Jordan Rinaldi in a lightweight matchup on the main card. Gillespie needed less than a round to put Rinaldi away after 76 percent of fantasy players correctly predicted that he would leave with a win.
Drew Dober also got the job done with 73 percent of fantasy players selecting him to defeat Frank Camacho in the back and forth battle that ultimately earned Fight of the Night honors.
On the preliminary card, Bobby Green earned a hard fought victory against Erik Koch, with 56 percent of fantasy players predicting that he would get back on track following a draw in his last fight. Meanwhile, Mirsad Bektic came through as one of the biggest favorites all night as he made short work of Godofredo Pepey with a vicious first-round body shot knockout with 80 percent of fantasy players picking him to win.
MORE FROM CHARLOTTE: Souza makes triumphant return | Full Results | Octagon Interviews: Fili | Gillespie | Dober
Katlyn Chookagian made the most of her flyweight debut with a win over Mara Romero Borella in a three round striking affair, with 76 percent of fantasy players correctly predicting the outcome in this matchup at 125 pounds.
Former Ultimate Fighter competitor Randa Markos also got the job done with a unanimous decision victory over Juliana Lima, with 73 percent of fantasy players picking her to win on Saturday night.
The biggest shocker all night came in another flyweight matchup as Ji Yeon Kim picked up a stunning win over Justine Kish, with just 23 percent of fantasy players on her side going into the night. Those players that picked her will also enjoy a huge bonus with an extra 175 points being awarded because she was such a heavy underdog.
Vinc Pichel also gutted out a win in his fight against Joaquim Silva with 39 percent of fantasy players picking him to win. The players who predicted Pichel's victory will also get an extra 120 points thanks to the fight being such a tight matchup.
On the early prelims, Niko Price dished out a submission victory to put away George Sullivan with 83 percent of fantasy players picking him while Cory Sandhagen got his UFC career off to a good start with a victory against Austin Arnett with just 24 percent giving him the nod ahead of the event.
All told, eight favorites still ruled the night based on the selections made by fantasy players, with just four upsets taking place at FOX UFC Fight Night: Jacare vs. Brunson.