Brunson Stuns Shahbazyan in Middleweight Clash

Jenn Connor
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Sunday, August 2, 2020

Veteran Derek Brunson shocked heavily favoured Edmen Shahbazyan, registering a TKO just 0:28 into the third round of the headline event at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Shahbazyan came in to the fight undefeated with an 11-0 record, but was no match for the swarming attack of the veteran Brunson.  


Both fighters had their moments in round one, but Shahbazyan landed the heavier blows, showcasing the power that has been his calling card since his UFC debut in 2018. Since that debut, Shahbazyan has not had to go past the first round in any of his subsequent fights and that began to show early in round two. Brunson took Shahbazyan down and landed a couple of heavy strikes before the twenty-two year old was able to get to his feet. Brunson continued to press, and midway through the round, forced Shahbazyan against the fence, landing several significant strikes, including a huge knee to the chest that staggered the young fighter. Shahbazyan, obviously exhausted, was again taken down by Brunson with just under a minute left, and absorbed some vicious ground and pound, saved only by the bell at the end of the round. 


Shabazyan came off his stool for the final round, but obviously had nothing left, and referee Herb Dean mercifully stopped the fight after yet another Brunson takedown. It was a pivotal win for Brunson as he tries to climb the ladder in the middleweight division and a definite learning moment for Shahbazyan in what continues to be a promising future.  


In the co-main, Jennifer Maia shocked third ranked Joanne Calderwood,  applying an arm bar with just thirty-one seconds left in the first round to claim a submission victory. It was a devastating loss for Calderwood, who was in line for a title shot with flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.


In other action from the main card, lightweights Bobby Green and Lando Vannata renewed their rivalry, staging a war over three rounds with Green capturing the decision. Green took charge in the final round, flooring Vannata with a right and following up with a series of blows that left Yannata’s face swollen and bleeding. Vannata, however, kept coming and landed some significant blows of his own, but Green was the better fighter on this night, holding a 115-54 advantage in significant strikes. It was a satisfying win for Green, the two having fought to a draw at UFC 216 in 2017. 


In a welterweight matchup, Vicente “The Silent Assassin” Luque improved his record to 19-7-1 with a second round TKO victory over Randy “Rudeboy” Brown. Luque got off to a good start, knocking Brown to the canvas with an overhand right midway though the first round. Content to let Brown get to his feet, Luque pressed his advantage and clearly won the opening stanza. The two fighters exchanged several significant strikes in round two, but with just seconds left, Luque dropped Brown with a vicious knee to the face and quickly moved in for the finish, raining blows on Brown to bring the fight to a sudden conclusion. With the win, Luque has his sights firmly set on the best of the division.  


The next UFC event is set for August 8th at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The headliner features a battle of heavyweights, as the always dangerous Derrick Lewis tangles with veteran Aleksei Oleinik.