Edmen Shahbazyan entered the UFC octagon tonight at UFC on ESPN+ 31 with an undefeated 11-0 professional record. Shahbazyan had earned praise from coach Edmond Tarverdyan and manager, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey. “Rowdy” believes that the 22-year-old Shahbazyan will one day wear UFC gold.
“It speaks to the inevitability of his championship reign,” Rousey recently told UFC President Dana White. “It’s not if, it’s when. This kid is special. He is one in a generation. I know what the [expletive] I’m looking at and you [White] know what you’re looking at. It’s interesting to finally be in this time where everyone is starting to take notice.”
If Shahbazyan is indeed on the path to a UFC title, it will have to wait.
Derek Brunson, who is 14 years his opponent’s elder, has been with the UFC longer than Shahbazyan has been competing on either the professional or even amateur mixed martial arts level. Brunson began his tenure with the UFC back in 2012 following the promotion’s acquisition of Strikeforce.
That experience showed tonight.
Derek Brunson was ahead of Edmen Shahbazyan, hitting him with strikes that he didn’t see coming. Just as the second frame closed, it look as if referee Herb Dean had called an end to the contest but somehow Shahbazyan popped up, convincing the officials to go to a third round.
At the start of that round, Dean asked the cageside physician to take a look at Shahbazyan. The fight was allowed to continue, only to be stopped seconds later due to strikes. Brunson comes out on top in Vegas.