Ian Heinisch wants Derek Brunson after UFC on ESPN+ 10 win: ‘I just feel I can beat him’

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – After improving to 2-0 in the UFC on Saturday night with an impressive victory over Antonio Carlos Junior, Ian Heinisch isn’t afraid to aim high.

Specifically, he wants a piece of Derek Brunson, who is fresh of a victory over Elias Theodorou earlier this month.

“I just feel I can beat him, you know?” Heinisch said of Brunson to reporters, including MMA Junkie, at Blue Cross Arena. “I’m believing it, and once I believe it, you know, it seems to come true. I believe in that right now and just watching his fight didn’t impress me that much, and I would like to fight him.“

It’s not too hard to understand why Heinisch was feeling confident after his victory in the UFC on ESPN+ 10 co-feature bout. Junior came into the night on a five-fight win streak, with submissions in each of his past three. And he immediately put Heinisch in a bad way, so much so that it appeared Heinisch would be his next submission victim.

But Heinisch bulled his way out of the bad spot, and then won Rounds 2 and 3 in a clear-cut manner, leaving no doubt who was the better man on the evening. 

“Honestly, I was expecting a first-round finish, but he was just elusive,” Heinisch said. “He got at me in a bad position in the first round, but I’m no stranger to adversity. I weathered the storm and then going into the second round I just felt like that was all he had. I let him wear himself out a little bit and then I came out in the second, and I was like this is my time now.”

After a performance like that, the Factory X product says he expects a number next to his name when the next middleweight rankings come out. And a fight that can prove he belongs among the elite. 

“I think that’s going to get a number next to my name, hopefully by Monday, then I’m looking at a top 10. Jack Hermannson, man, he’s just killing it right now, and I’d love to get him. Derek Brunson, I’d love to fight him. So either one of those guys comes to mind,” Heinisch said. “But anyone in the top 10 will do. I want someone that, too we can really do something for the fans, because it’s kind of me fighting off these jiu-jitsu guys. It’s exciting, man, but obviously it’s not the most exciting fight, but I’m doing what I gotta do to win.” 

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 10, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Why Felicia Spencer didn’t have jitters heading into UFC debut win over Megan Anderson

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – To paraphrase another fighter out of Montreal, plenty of people were impressed by Felicia Spencer’s performance on Saturday night.

And no, that’s not to say Spencer, who made a tremendous splash in her UFC debut, is the next Georges St-Pierre. But the fellow Quebecker is right on track in the UFC women’s featherweight division after she submitted the fighter long thought to be the future of the class, Megan Anderson, on the main card of UFC on ESPN+ 10.

The undefeated Spencer is the former Invicta FC featherweight titleholder, and the experience she gained there gave her the confidence to go out and do battle with another former titleholder.

“People talk about levels to the game and this and that, but Invicta is a high-level promotion,” Spencer told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at Blue Cross Arena. “And the people I have faced, their records might not be stacked, some of them, but they were tough athletes who would perform well if they kept fighting.”

Besides, Spencer (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has been competing in martial arts from practically the moment she could walk, so she wasn’t about to get the famed octagon jitters in her UFC debut.

“I’ve been training to do martial arts my whole life, so everything that’s come at me I’ve seen before,” Spencer said. “Standing, on the ground, on the cage. I’m prepared everywhere. I’ve been doing this 24 years. I’m just honored and excited I had a chance to put on a display tonight, and everything went exactly as I hoped.”

That’s an accurate assessment. The question from here is, what’s next? Women’s featherweight is thin in the UFC, so unless the company signs another decent contender, her options seem to be champion Amanda Nunes, which would require a long wait, as she will defend her bantamweight belt against Holly Holm at UFC 239, or former champ Cris Cyborg.

Spencer didn’t want to put a timetable on her return. For now, she wants to take a minute to appreciate what she achieved against a foe like Anderson (9-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC).

“I knew our paths would cross, so it’s better to just get things going,” Spencer said. “Anyone that comes, anyone that wanted to fight me, I’m ready to go. Everyone has their own challenges, Megan included. I didn’t want to overlook her by any means. She’s definitely still very skilled and talented. Everyone should still be on the lookout for her skills. I just thought my skills would be able to trump her skills.” 

UFC on ESPN+ 10 took place Saturday at Blue Cross Arena. The card streamed on ESPN+.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 10, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 bonuses: Aspen Ladd-Sijara Eubanks barnburner earns ‘Fight of the Night’

Aspen Ladd, Sijara Eubanks, Michel Pereira, and Grant Dawson earned $50,000 apiece for their performances at UFC Rochester.

UFC officials announced Saturday’s bonus winners following the event.

Eubanks (4-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Ladd (8-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) had a fun, back-and-forth bantamweight brawl in the UFC on ESPN+ 10 featured prelim bout. Ladd won via unanimous decision, repeating the result of their first bout in 2017. The duo earned “Fight of the Night” honors.

Pereira (23-9 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Dawson (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), meanwhile, took “Performance of the Night” awards.

Pereira’s debut was memorable in all aspects. The welterweight was emotional in his walkout, breakdanced during his cage intro, then felled Danny Roberts (16-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) with a wicked flying knee at 1:47 of the opening round.

Dawson, for his part, used a rear-naked choke to finish Mike Trizano (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at 2:27 of the second round in their featherweight fight.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 took place Saturday at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. The card streamed on ESPN+.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 10, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 draws announced crowd of 8,132 for $643,000 live gate in Rochester

UFC on ESPN+ 10 drew a crowd of 8,132 for $643,840.50.

The card took place Saturday at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., and streamed on ESPN+. It was the promotion’s first visit to the city.

In the main event,Rafael dos Anjos (29-11 MMA, 18-9 UFC) defeated Kevin Lee(17-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC) via arm-triangle choke at 3:47 of the fourth round.

The co-feature bout saw Ian Heinisch (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) earn a unanimous decision over Antonio Carlos Junior (10-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) via across-the-board scores of 29-28.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 10, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 results: Rafael dos Anjos wears down Kevin Lee, earns finish in fourth

Kevin Lee pushed a furious pace at the outset of his UFC on ESPN+ 10 main event against Rafael dos Anjos on Saturday night.

The fast start figured to make for an exciting fight but also hard to maintain over the course of 25 minutes, especially when Lee was fighting up at welterweight after a career spent at lightweight.

Indeed, that’s precisely how things unfolded. After three rounds of back-and-forth, up-and-down, all-over-the-place action, Lee (17-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC) started to fade, and that’s when dos Anjos (29-11 MMA, 18-9 UFC) pounced. The former UFC lightweight champion finished things off with an arm-triangle choke at 3:47 of the fourth round to snap a two-fight losing streak.

“I knew he was coming strong in the first rounds, and he pushed to the third. I was just using my experience,”dos Anjos said after his 15th career victory via finish.

Each of the first three rounds could have been scored for either fighter. Lee frequently pressed forward to initiate his takedown attempts, which frequently ended in clinch battles along the fence.

Both fighters scored multiple takedowns, both managed reversals and scrambles to get out of trouble afterwards. Both managed to land with a variety of standup offense from head kicks to jabs to knees, and both managed to land effective counters.

In the fourth, though, Lee visibly tired. The first big sign the tide was turning came when RDA connected with a vicious calf kick. Soon thereafter, Lee shot for a takedown, didn’t get it, and dos Anjos expertly weaved his way into position for the finishing choke.

Dos Anjos is now 4-2 since going up to welterweight. Lee has now dropped three of his past four fights.

The welterweight bout was the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 10 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.

Full UFC on ESPN+ 10 results:

For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 10, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 results: Ian Heinisch rallies for decision over Antonio Carlos Junior

For the better part of a round, it appeared Antonio Carlos Junior was well on his way to an easy victory.

Junior took a five-fight win streak into his bout with upstart Ian Heinisch and effortlessly displayed his world-class jiu-jitsu skills at UFC on ESPN+ 10.

But if you didn’t already know, now you should: Heinisch is one gritty customer who can never be counted out. He proved this Saturday by rallying in a down-and-dirty fight to take the last two rounds and earn a unanimous decision on across-the-board scores of 29-28.

“I’m usually super explosive, but I had to be patient,” Heinisch said after his fifth straight victory. “This guy is one of the best in the world, a world champion.”

Junior (10-3 MMA; 7-3 UFC) was all over Heinisch in the opening round, using his grappling game to fluster his foe and work for submissions. But he never quite got the job done, and as the second round unfolded, it became clear Heinisch (13-1 MMA; 2-0 UFC) was turning things around.

Fouls aside (a headbutt and more than one fence grab by Heinisch; a brutal knee to the groin by Junior, none of which merited point deductions in the eyes of referee Todd Anderson), Heinisch imposed his will on Junior for the bulk of the final 10 minutes, winning wild scrambles and smothering his foe. Heinisch punctuated his performance by raining down punches from the top as time expired.

The middleweight bout served as the co-main event for UFC on ESPN+ 10 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN+ 10 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 10, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 results: Felicia Spencer makes Megan Anderson tap out in first

Throughout UFC on ESPN+ 10 fight week, Felicia Spencer didn’t seem fazed by her surroundings.

It was going to be her UFC debut, but Spencer (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was calm and collected heading into her main-card bout with fellow former Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson.

And Saturday night, Spencer’s cool and collected attitude translated nicely to the cage. Spencer put on a ground clinic on how to defeat a larger foe and earned the victory over Anderson (9-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) with a rear-naked choke. The time of the stoppage was 3:24 of the opening round.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life, that’s just what I do,” Spencer said after her fifth career stoppage victory. “I’m known for the choke now. I’m so happy.” 

Spencer, who gave up six inches to Anderson, wasted little time getting the fight to the ground. From there it was a matter of methodically working into position. A series of right hands helped flatten Anderson out for the choke.

Initially, referee Keith Peterson missed Anderson’s tap, but he soon thereafter waved things off as the Montreal native earned the win.

The women’s featherweight bout was part of the main card for UFC on ESPN+ 10 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN+ 10 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 10, visit the UFC Events section of the site.