What's next for Jacare Souza, Derek Brunson and Andre Fili?

Who should you expect Ronaldo Souza to fight next after defeating Derek Brunson on Saturday? Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

UFC middleweight Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza punctuated last weekend's event in Charlotte with a first-round knockout over Derek Brunson.

It was the top performance of a UFC Fight Night that flew very much under the radar. But while the event itself was relatively buzz-free, Souza's victory deserves to be recognized.

Where do the fighters of Saturday's UFC Fight Night go from here? ESPN provides its take on what should be next.


Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza, middleweight

Result: Defeated Derek Brunson via first-round TKO

Next: Kelvin Gastelum.

And you know, it may sound cruel to "reward" Souza's performance with a matchup against a dangerous, hungry 26-year-old, but this fight would satisfy what both men want: A guaranteed title shot.

Souza deserves a championship bout now, but the path is blocked. Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero fight for the interim belt next month. Undisputed champion Robert Whittaker is expected to face the winner. That will take time to play out, and Souza should fight as it does.

Another potential opponent would be Chris Weidman, but he is recovering from thumb surgery. Book Souza vs. Gastelum now, and promote it as a No. 1 contender fight.

Derek Brunson, middleweight

Result: Lost to Ronaldo Souza, via first-round KO

Next: Brazilian prospect Paulo Costa.

This was a tough result for Brunson. He waited a long time for this kind of opportunity -- a highly ranked opponent, in his home state of North Carolina -- only to see it go very poorly.

No need to send him to the back of the line, though. Costa, 26, looks like the real deal. He's 3-0 in the UFC, with three knockouts. Either Costa catapults himself into title contention, or Brunson makes up the ground he just lost by defeating a prospect with some hype.

Andre Fili, featherweight

Result: Defeated Dennis Bermudez via split decision

Next: Mirsad Bektic, who picked up a first-round knockout over Godofredo Pepey.

Bektic is considered a super prospect at 145 pounds. A potential future champion. Fili has received similar praise, albeit less of it. His UFC record is an average 6-4.

It's an appropriate next step for Bektic, and a chance to prove something against a widely praised opponent for Fili.