Derek Brunson vs Edmen Shabazyan
Derek Brunson (+250) (20-7-0)
Brunson comes into this fight on a 2-fight winning streak. He’s a powerful striker with good wrestling. His last win was a year ago via unanimous decision over Ian Heinisch. He got the better of the wrestling exchanges and put pressure on Heinisch without overextending himself. Brunson’s taken on the best at middleweight and his only UFC losses have come to Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker, Anderson Silva, and Jacare Souza.
Edmen Shahbazyan (-310) (11-0-0)
At only 22-years old, Shahbazyan is an exciting prospect and he’s racing up the middleweight rankings. He’s 4-0 in the UFC and he has three straight 1st round finishes. In his last fight, he knocked out Brad Tavares with a head kick. Shahbazyan has finished all but one opponent in the 1st round and he’s shown impressive patience and precision. He faced some adversity against Darren Stewart in his UFC debut but he was able to grind out a split-decision. This will be the 1st main event of Shahbazyan’s career, but still only a 3-round fight.
Prediction: Edmen Shahbazyan via KO/TKO
Edmen Shahbazyan is the real deal. He’s an extremely intelligent fighter and he’s very well-rounded. He’ll pick Brunson apart on the feet and his takedown defense is solid. Brunson has as tendency to run chin-up into trouble and whether it’s chasing a single-leg or blitzing in with strikes, Shahbazyan is going to find an opening. Take Shahbazyan to get it done.