Brunson vs Shahbazyan
Photo Credit: MMA Fighting

FSM Essential Recap: UFC Fight Night – Brunson vs Shahbazyan – 8/1/2020

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Welp, with a return to the states, UFC Fight Night saw some favorites fall short in their showings from Las Vegas.

 

In the main event, Derek Brunson (21-7 12 KO’s) picked up his third straight victory as he ended the hype train (for now) of youngster Edmen Shahbazyan, (11-1) who suffered his first defeat via third-round TKO. Brunson, who switched camps last year, has found a new life with his coaches. Not only has he earned three straight wins in a row, but he seems to be putting his skills together in more controlled gameplay finally.

 

Brunson vs Shahbazyan
Photo Credit: Yahoo UK

Usually, we’ve seen the former Division II Wrestling All American come in with wild rights and lefts, a kick here and there, a takedown attempt, and more wild strikes. It’s done him well as he’s defeated some big names within the division, but that type of wild approach has also left him defeated by some of the game’s better talent. Now, he has shown more patience in the octagon; he’s putting combinations together instead of just looking for the one big shot. He’s utilizing his wrestling to control his opponents more and wear on them, so their cardio is affected as the fight goes on.

As shown tonight, Brunson was able to stay calm while standing toe to toe with Shahbazyan, throwing leg kicks often to keep his opponent at bay from charging in, landing a right hand through his foe’s defense. The first round was a close back and forth affair, but Shahbazyan was able to land some substantial rights that backed Brunson up and gave him the round on most scorecards.

 

 

Brunson vs Shahbazyan
Photo Credit: MMA Fighting

The second started with a vicious kick to the body of Brunson that looked like it would be the start of the end. To his credit, Brunson held tough and started pushing forward and landing takedowns. Only going past the first round once in his career, many wondered how Shahbazyan would do going into deep waters, and Brunson was looking to find out himself. Controlling the action with his grappling and powerful rights, Brunson nearly put the young fighter away at the end of the second due to his highly effective ground and pound. Shortly into the third, the match went to the mat again, and Brunson would only need a few shots before the referee stepped in and called it off.

This was a good showing for Brunson, who many considered a gatekeeper of the 185 lbs division, but now with three wins in a row, he’s sure to get a step up in competition to see if he is finally ready to match up with some of the best middleweights in the world. For Shahbazyan, this loss won’t hurt him as much as it’s his first, it was against a fighter ranked one spot ahead of him, and he’s still 22 years old. So his future is bright and has some potential. But this will be a learning curve for him to carry going forward, and we’ll see how much he can improve in his next showing in the cage.

 

In the nights co-main event, another favorite went down as Jennifer Maia (18-6 5 SUBs) defeated Joanna Calderwood (14-5) via first round arm bar submission.

 

Maia consistently found a home with her right hand after setting it up with combinations. The tide seemed to shift when Maia attested a front kick that Calderwood caught and turned into a takedown. As the two would battle for position on the mat, Maia hooked her opponent’s leg, secured the arm, threw her legs up in front of Calderwood’s chest, and after a few moments of working, was able to pull off the armbar. Calderwood tried to fight it off, but it’s a submission that once it’s in, you’re pretty much tapping out instantly to ease further damage.

Before this bout was scheduled, Calderwood was set to face the current champion, Valentina Shevchenko. An injury caused the champion to pull out, and Calderwood being the fighter that she is, didn’t wanna wait around and took this matchup. With the win, Maia said she now wants a shot at the champion, and Shevchenko, via twitter, seemed to agree. We should be seeing these two square off possibly before the end of this year.

 

Brunson vs Shahbazyan
Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Also, Vicente Luque (19-7 11 KO’s) put Randy Brown (12-4) to sleep in the second round with a knee to the head. Luque, who is 12-3 in the UFC, called for a fight with Nate Diaz, saying their styles match up perfectly. Will Diaz be willing to step in against a fighter where 17 of his 19 came via finish? We shall see what the future holds for the Brazilian. Also, in a rematch of their 2017 Fight of the Night draw, Bobby Green (26-10) this time left no doubt as he defeated Lando Vannata (11-5) via decision in another Fight of the Night showing to earn his second win in a row.

 

 

 

Another weekend of fights is in the books as the UFC looks to keep the heat rolling through the summer. Next week the promotion is back with a heavyweight showdown as Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik do battle once again from the APEX center in Las Vegas. Be sure to check back in next week for the preview and recap.

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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

 

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