UFC 155 Round-by-Round Review: Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson

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The first of three straight middleweight bouts kick-starts the pay-per-view this evening, as Chris Leben (22-8) returns from a year-long suspension to face UFC newcomer Derek Brunson (9-2). Brunson actually advanced to the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, but was denied a chance to compete on the show by Showtime since he was under contract to Strikeforce. Herb Dean will be the referee.

Round 1: Brunson with a big kick to the body to start that Leben blocks. Another kick and Leben catches it and goes for a trip-takedown. Instead, it is Brunson who gets the takedown and moves to advance position. Leben goes for an arm, but Brunson pulls the ligament free. Full guard and Brunson lands a few short jabs. Leben going for an arm but Brunson uses his power to get out and back to guard. Brunson using his wrestling to control the action, while also watching for any submission attempt by Leben. Brunson into the mount, working an arm triangle, but Leben blocks that. Brunson nearly takes the back, half-guard, and a nasty elbow to the face of Leben. Brunson with a nice little flurry of punches inside the guard, as he grabs a hold of the head, but nothing comes of it.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Brunson

Round 2: Brunson goes for another takedown to start the round, gets double under-hooks in, but Leben is able to fight off the takedown and remain standing. Big left from Leben and Brunson shoots in, getting the takedown. Leben going for a submission, softening Brunson up with a series of short, quick punches off his back. Weak guillotine attempt by Brunson is easily fended off by Leben. Huge uppercut from Leben connects, as Brunson tries firing back. Leben fends off a takedown attempt and Leben is looking to tee-off. Nice pairs of jabs land from Brunson, as Leben answers back. Both fighters look exhausted as we head under a minute in the round. Leben with a flurry, as he fights off another takedown attempt.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Leben

Round 3: Brunson throws a strong left to start, and a right, but Leben looks the fresher man right now. Brunson misses wildly, goes for a takedown, and Leben fends it off with ease. Brunson gets the takedown this time but has yet to do any damage. Leben gets up, eating a knee to the body in the process. Big right misses by Leben, but he lands a pair of jabs. Very lackluster performance, but not as many boos from the crowd as during the prelims, which featured much more excitement. And, as soon as I type that, the booing starts. Leben throws a series of lefts, but Brunson answers with a takedown. Brunson does some small damage on the ground, but the two get back to their feet and finish there.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Brunson

Derek Brunson def. Chris Leben via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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