Can Ian Heinisch Earn A Fight-Night Bonus?

Can Ian Heinisch Earn A Fight-Night Bonus?





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Ian Heinisch has been with the UFC for less than a year. Despite that, the 31-year-old has a spot in the top 10 of the middleweight division. On Saturday, Heinisch competes on the first pay-per-view card of his UFC career. The No. 10 ranked 185-pounder faces the No. 8 ranked Derek Brunson in the opening bout of the ESPN+ streamed portion of UFC 241.

Heinisch earned his spot in the UFC via a first-round stoppage win on a 2018 Dana White’s Contender Series card. In his two fights with the promotion, Heinisch has scored two decision victories. Overall, Heinisch has won five straight outings. 

After his May win over Antonio Carlos Junior, Heinisch, who turned pro in 2015, called for a matchup against Brunson, who has been with the UFC since 2012. 

“I just feel I can beat him, you know?” Heinisch said (via MMA Junkie). “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.”

Brunson is coming off a unanimous decision win over Elias Theodorou in May. That victory ended a skid of two consecutive knockout losses for Brunson. The two fighters who stopped him were Israel Adesanya and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. 

Heinisch seems familiar with Brunson’s style, which can sometimes find the fighter engaging in emotional striking battles where he puts himself in danger.

“I think I’m going to put that pressure on him, get him emotional, get him swinging hard,” Heinisch told MMA Junkie. “He might try to take me down, but I think it’s going to be a dogfight, a fast-paced brawl. Usually those turn out very well for him. That’s how I see it going.”

“… I see it ending like some of his worst finish losses have ended where he gets emotional, swinging, chasing me around the cage. I’m going to come forward like he is. It’s going to be a super exciting fight. I’m expecting that KO. I want to be in that bonus club.”

Heinisch has yet to claim a UFC fight-night bonus award. Brunson has three fight-night bonuses to his name. He earned “Fight of the Night” honors in two defeats and a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his 2017 knockout win over former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.

UFC 241 takes place at Honda Center in Anaheim. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass. 

Pick: Brunson

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