Robert Whittaker scored a spectacular first round TKO victory over Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night 101 in Melbourne Saturday evening.

Brunson tried to take the fight early to Whittaker, scoring several strong shots and even landed a takedown, but Whittaker popped right back up and proved more than equal to the task, landing his own strikes while stuffing Brunson’s takedowns. Brunson’s wildness for a takedown opened up a textbook right head kick that forced him to cover up. Whittaker quickly pounced for ground-and-pound that forced ref Herb Dean to call the bout.

Welcome back to The Crossfire.

MMA Crossfire

Whittaker and Brunson earned Fight-of-the-Night honours, while Whittaker and Tyson Pedro earned performances of the night. Whittaker earned a cool $100,000 USD in bonuses while Pedro earned $50,000 USD.

In case you missed the prelims.

JENEL LAUSA DEF YAO ZHIKUI VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

MARLON VERA DEF NING GUANGYOU VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

JASON KNIGHT DEF DAN HOOKER VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)

BEN NGUYEN DEF GEANE HERRERA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)

JONATHAN MEUNIER DEF RICHARD WALSH VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

DAMIEN BROWN DEF JON TUCK VIA SPLIT-DECISION (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

DAN KELLY DEF CHRIS CAMOZZI VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-27, 30-27)

Kenai Andrews checks in.

MAIN CARD 

SEOHEE HAM VS DANIELLE TAYLOR 

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WINNER: DANIELLE TAYLOR VIA SPLIT- DECISION (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: DANIELLE TAYLOR VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION

Andrews: Ham was the one who pressured Ham in the first round, but Taylor found her stride in the second and third rounds. An unfortunate eye poke helped Taylor. Hard luck for Ham, good luck for Taylor.

KHALIL ROUNTREE VS TYSON PEDRO

UFC Fight Night 101

WINNER: TYSON PEDRO VIA SUBMISSION R1 4:07

ANDREWS PREDICTION: KHALIL ROUNTREE VIA TKO

Andrews: Pedro overcame a knockdown to get the fight to the ground and slap on a RNC. Rountree needed to keep the fight on the feet. Khalil needs to work on his ground game, for real.

YUSUKE KASUYA VS ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI 

UFC Fight Night 101

WINNER: ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI VIA TKO R2 2:06

ANDREWS PREDICTION: ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI VIA TKO

Andrews: Volkanovski wore down Kasuya and finished via the ground-and-pound. This guy has some potential.

KYLE NOKE VS OMARI AKHMEDOV

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WINNER: OMARI AKHMRFOV VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: OMARI AKHMEDOV VIA TKO

Andrews: Akhmedov imposed his will from the opening bell. He landed some shots and then took Noke down and kept him there until the ref stood them up. If this is all Noke has left, then it’s time to for the Aussie legend to consider hanging ’em up.

JAKE MATTHEWS VS ANDREW HOLBROOK

UFC Fight Night 101

WINNER: ANDREW HOLBROOK VIA SPLIT-DECISION (29-28,28-29,29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: JAKE MATTHEWS VIA TKO

Andrews: Good fight, but the experience of Holbrook gave him the edge. He wore down Matthews and used the Aussie’s youth against him. Good win for Holbrook.

MAIN EVENT

#7 ROBERT WHITTAKER VS #8 DEREK BRUNSON 

UFC Fight Night 101

WINNER: ROBERT WHITTAKER VIA TKO R1 4:07

ANDREWS PREDICTION: DEREK BRUNSON VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION

Andrews: Whittaker overcame a wild Brunson, who thought he could end the fight with his strikes. But it was the younger Whittaker who maintained his poise and returned intelligent fire, negating Brunson’s takedown and stuffing the rest, while landing some big shots of his own. That headkick was the beginning of the end. That’s how you deal with someone swinging for the fences. Excellent performance for The Reaper.

@kenaiandrews