Brunson puts on dominant display with TKO of Shahbazyan
In a battle of middleweight contenders, it was Derek Brunson that had his hand raised at the end of the night, as he scored a third-round, TKO victory over previously undefeated Edmen Shahbazyan in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.
The event marked the promotion’s return to their Apex facility after staging four events in Abu Dhabi at a venue dubbed Fight Island.
Brunson had Shahbazyan in trouble at the end of the second round, but was not able to punch him out before the horn sounded.
The 36-year-old picked up where he left off in the third round, to earn his third victory in a row and pin the first professional MMA loss on Shahbazyan.
Despite being a main event bout, the fight was only scheduled for three rounds after it was inserted into the card as a late replacement for the original headliner, a matchup between former bantamweight champion Holly Holm and Irene Aldana.
The co-main event saw a shakeup in the flyweight division as Joanne Calderwood, who was next in line for a shot at the title, lost to Jennifer Maia via first round submission.
The victory, Maia’s third in her last four bouts, could thrust her into a shot at champion Valentina Shevchenko.
The UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan card was reduced to eight fights after Gerald Meerschaert confirmed just prior to the beginning of the event that he tested positive for COVID-19 and Trevin Giles fainted as he was preparing to walkout to the Octagon and was pulled from his fight against Kevin Holland.