UFC middleweight, Edmen Shahbazyan, 11W 1L is no hype train, the guy is as legit as it gets when it comes to mixed martial arts, however on August 1, 2020, at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas, Nevada, Derek Brunson, 21W 7L, was able to stop Shahbazyan early in the third round, via TKO from punches. It was a devastating upset for Shahbazyan, as he was aiming to become the youngest champion in UFC history.
Brunson was just a different kind of killer that night, as the two engaged in what started off as a pretty even battle leading into the second round. Shahbazyan was throwing some heavy leather, landing nasty hooks, however Brunson weathered the storm, and got off on some of his own shots. Shahbazyan was putting a lot of energy into those punches, which might have compromised his stamina a little, but it’s a style he’s used to, as he likes to finish his opponents in the 1st round. Brunson, who’s evolved from being a blitz driven fighter, to one that has more patience with control inside the octagon, showed he has one hell of a chin, after taking some of those heavy shots from Shahbazyan. By the middle of the 1st round, Brunson was able to score a solid takedown, giving himself, and his cornermen some extra confidence going into the 2nd. As the 2nd round started, Brunson stayed calm just like in the 1st, expressing no emotions, as both men continued with a heavy onslaught of attacks. Brunson would eventually score another takedown, which completely changed the entire fight, as he began to unleash brutal ground-and-pound from top position. Shahbazyan barely survived the devastating blows from the ground, as the round would end with the commentators not sure if Herb Dean stopped the fight. Shahbazyan appeared unconscious for a brief moment, after perfectly placed punches from Brunson, right before the buzzard. Shahbazyan looked pretty broken, however he immediately stood up to go to his corner, took his in-between round break, then answered the bell to the 3rd round like a warrior. Brunson smelled blood, immediately went for the kill, dropping Shahbazyan to his knees with strikes, then unleashed a barrage of punches. Herb Dean had no choice but to step in, stopped the fight as Shahbazyan stayed covered up, unable to fight back.
The results from having a dedicated coach now has shown, with Brunson going on a 3-fight win streak, getting one step closer to a number one contender match-up. Shahbazyan was highly favored in this fight as a -360 favorite, which could’ve added more motivation, if anyone were to ask Brunson. Many critics were counting Brunson out, labeling him as a gatekeeper, thinking Shahbazyan was going to run right through him. I can assure you I was one of the few that knew this was going to be Brunson’s new come out party, and Shahbazyan was going to face his toughest challenge to date. Although Shahbazyan lost, he will return a better fighter, and will continue as a rising star in the UFC middleweight division, if he chooses to do so. Brunson, with his newly found pace, along with his newly found coach, will finally be heading into the deep waters of the UFC’s middleweight division, and it’s about damn time!