Dricus Du Plessis can never be counted out.
The South African middleweight was locked into a back-and-forth duel with Derek Brunson (23-9) on Saturday at UFC 285 in Las Vegas and had to reach down deep to pull out a knockout victory late in the second round. A Du Plessis (19-2) flurry ended the fight just before Round 3 after Brunson’s corner threw in the towel to save their fighter.
Watch the dramatic finish above.
The fight started off well for Brunson, who dominated Du Plessis on the ground in Round 1. Brunson scored with ground-and-pound, while beating Du Plessis to positions and then threatening with a choke late in the period. Both fighters looked the worse for wear to start off Round 2, but Du Plessis showed the depths of his gas tank as he pushed the pace and met Brunson blow-for-blow until Brunson wilted and fell back to the mat. Du Plessis followed up with ground-and-pound until referee Herb Dean saw the signal from Brunson’s corner.
The official time of the stoppage was 4:59 of Round 2.
Du Plessis, No. 12 at middleweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, will jump into the top 10 with his latest victory over the No. 7 Brunson. He improves to 5-0 in the UFC, with four of those wins coming by way of knockout or submission.
Brunson has now lost two straight and finds himself on his first losing streak since November 2018.