Derek Brunson halts the Edmen Shahbazyan hype train

Edmen Shahbazyan has been heralded as the UFC middleweight division’s next big thing, but he’ll have to spend to regroup after Derek Brunson handed him his first loss as a professional mixed martial artist.

The Armenian-American was hurt early as Brunson landed a big right hand before taking him down. Shahbazyan weathered that storm and proceeded to land big shots of his own to finish the first round strong.

However, Brunson turned things up a notch in the second round as his wrestling-heavy attack wore on Shahbazyan. The fight was almost called towards the end of the second round as Brunson landed a series of unanswered ground and pound blows – smashing elbows and big punches – but the clock stopped him from scoring a second-round victory.

Brunson didn’t have to wait long for that stoppage win, though.

Shahbazyan continued to fight on in the third round after being checked on by the cageside doctor. As soon as the fight was grounded once again by Brunson, who got an easy takedown from Shahbazyan’s back, referee Herb Dean quickly stopped the contest before a beleaguered Shahbazyan could suffer any more undue punishment after eating more punches on the canvas.

This was a big win for Brunson as the veteran entered the fight as a betting underdog against his 22-year-old adversary.


Jennifer Maia likely earns herself a title shot after submission win over Joanne Calderwood

Joanne Calderwood agreed to fight Jennifer Maia in the meantime as she patiently waited for her crack at Valentina Shevchenko’s UFC women’s flyweight championship. Maia had other ideas, though, as her win over the Scot essentially sealed her own title shot at 125 pounds.

The two strikers ended up on the mat in the first round once Calderwood scored a well-timed takedown. Maia used that to her advantage as she attacked off her back and soon secured an omaplata.

From there, Maia transitioned to an armbar attempt. Calderwood looked to be defending well, but the Brazilian made the necessary adjustments required to extend her foe’s arm to get the tap with around 30 seconds remaining in the opening round.

Massive win for Maia, who surely replaces Calderwood as number one contender. Commiserations to the 33-year-old Calderwood, who will no doubt regroup and soon return to title contendership if she can string more wins together.


Vicente Luque bludgeons Randy Brown

Vicente Luque fights are, in general, violent affairs and his contest with Randy Brown was no different.

The two welterweights were more than willing to trade leather and shin bones while standing, but Luque seemed to have Brown’s number.

In the first round, Luque appeared to have the boxing advantage as he came off better from each exchange of punches. Brown was knocked down in the opening five minutes and was visibly hurt on a number of occasions.

It wasn’t just Luque’s hands that did the trick. The American-born Brazilian striker’s nasty leg kicks scored a second knockdown, as well as stifling Brown’s movement and forcing him to switch stances to relieve any punishment being delivered to each of those limbs.

Luque finished the fight in brutal fashion with just four seconds left of the second stanza.

“The Silent Assassin” landed a crushing knee to the head of Brown, before delivering three massive punches to his prone opponent to secure the win.

Luque is fast becoming must-watch MMA if he isn’t already.


UFC Fight Night 173: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan full results

Middleweight: Derek Brunson def. Edmen Shahbazyan by TKO (punches) at 0:26 of round three
Women’s Flyweight: Jennifer Maia def. Joanne Calderwood by submission (armbar) at 4:29 of round one
Welterweight: Vicente Luque def. Randy Brown by KO (knee and punches) at 4:56 of round two
Lightweight: Bobby Green def. Lando Vannata by unanimous decision after three rounds
Catchweight (140.5 lb): Jonathan Martinez def. Frankie Saenz by TKO (knee and punches) at 0:57 of round three
Featherweight: Nathan Maness def. Johnny Muñoz by unanimous decision after three rounds
Featherweight: Jamall Emmers def. Vincent Cachero by unanimous decision after three rounds
Bantamweight: Chris Gutiérrez and Cody Durden fought to a unanimous draw after three rounds