A final nudge from Derek Brunson rocked 22-year-old prospect Edmen Shahbazyan and possibly left him unconscious for a brief moment at the end of the second round of the UFC Vegas 5 main event.
While it looked like Brunson could have been declared the winner on the spot, Shahbazyan was allowed to continue, but only after the cage doctor came into the octagon to verify him. After a few moments, the doctor finally gave the green light and Shahbazyan was allowed to continue as the final round began.
For his part, UFC president Dana White felt that Shahbazyan was probably done by the end of the second round and the fight should have been stopped.
“Shahbazyan looked like he was out at the end of this round,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “Think the doctor could have stopped it. “
Regardless of whether Shahbazyan was allowed to continue, White’s biggest problem was that the doctor was taking too long to make this decision.
“First of all, the doctor is obviously inexperienced; I don’t know anything about the doctor, but I’ve never seen him before, ”White said. “You have Brunson, who finishes this tour in force, [and] many would argue that the fight could have been stopped right there at the end of the round. I’m sure the ref thought the guy would have time to come back [and recover].
“What you don’t do is talk to the guy for 10 minutes while he’s hurt. Either stop the fight or let it continue but go. You let the kid recover while you have Brunson, who just did this work, and he’s waiting for the bell to ring so he can come in and finish the fight. Pull the trigger in either direction. Stop the fight or not.
Brunson dealt with this problem only 26 seconds later after he brought Shahbazyan to the ground and pummeled him with punches until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.
While not telling officials how to do their job, Brunson didn’t have as much of a problem with stopping, even after blasting Shahbazyan with a potential punch to finish the fight at the end of the second round.
Instead, Brunson feels like the referee and the doctor finally gave Shahbazyan another chance to come back strong on the final round.
“It’s funny, I’ve been hearing the media lately just saying, ‘Oh, they should have stopped the fight,’ but there wouldn’t be any turning back if they just stopped every fight, ‘Brunson said. “He looked a little defeated in the corner, for sure. It has not been pushed or tested, but does not take anything away from the child. He looked great in his other fights.
“He just had a guy who had a lot of fights. I was tired of going out, having bad fights and just stinks. So I was really locked into this fight and made sure I executed it.
Whether the fight ends in the second or third round, the outcome was ultimately the same as Brunson took the victory and Shahbazyan suffered the first loss of his professional career.