Derek Brunson derailed the Edmen Shahbazyan hype train overwhelming the 22-year-old youngster to win by TKO in just 26 seconds of the third round at UFC Fight Night 173 at the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada yesterday morning.
The highly regarded Shahbazyan had won 11 consecutive fights and was hoping to become the youngest UFC champion. The comprehensive beat down at the hands of Brunson may have derailed those plans.
“I had to get off social media all week. I opened my phone and then kinda glanced and turned away. No Facebook. No Instagram. Everybody was saying, ‘You’re gonna get beat up real bad,’ ” said Brunson who did not let his underdog status going into the fight affect him at all.
The pair traded heavy shots in the first round as they calmly took each other’s measure. Brunson had one takedown in the middle of the round but Shahbazyan managed to wiggle free.
Brunson took command in the second by cleverly mixing boxing and wrestling to confound the inexperienced Shahbazyan.
Brunson continued to throw strikes followed by takedown attempts which even when not successful forced Shahbazyan against the cage where he received more punishment with “dirty boxing” administered by Brunson while they were in a clinch.
Brunson took down Shabazyan late in the round and administered vicious ground and pound. Shabazyan, clearly beaten, could not counter and simply covered up, clearly bloodied and beaten when the round ended.
For all intents and purposes the fight could have been stopped right. Referee Herb Dean called the doctor to check on Shahbazyan at the start of the final round. The doctor allowed the fight to continue.
The fight, which could have been stopped in the second, was over 26 seconds into the third when the referee declared Brunson the winner by TKO after he took down Shahbazyan and administered more ground and pound.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Maia defeated Joanne Calderwood via armbar submission at 4:29 of the first round.
“I am very happy (to win) and I am getting better every time I go here. I feel I am getting ready for the title. I already fought the best fighters. And now I want to fight with the champion. It’s going to be a pleasure to fight her,” said Maia in the post-fight interview on live TV.
A few minutes later UFC Women’s Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko responded via Twitter.
“See you soon Jennifer Maia,” tweeted Shevchenko.
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