For most of his UFC career, Edmen Shahbazyan has been the hammer. But on Saturday night, at the main event of UFC Vegas 5, he became the highlight.
After entering the headliner on short notice for the Las Vegas card, the 11-0 middleweight was billed as the future of the division as he prepared to face veteran Derek Brunson.
With the intention of becoming the youngest champion in UFC history, Shahbazyan had a lot of expectations on his shoulders, but he received a rude reception in the top 10 in the division after Brunson brutalized him. with punches and elbows before earning a TKO stoppage in round three.
After the fight, the 22-year-old hopeful was taken to a local hospital for treatment, but soon after, Shahbazyan issued a statement to update his condition after suffering the first loss of his career.
“I’m fine, everyone just needs some stitches,” Shahbazyan wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for all your messages, I love you all!
“Congratulations to Derek Brunson tonight, he did a great job. No excuses, this is the fighting game and I will be back! Glad to have the support I have from everyone. “
After winning his Contender Series contract from Dana White, Shahbazyan made immediate waves in the UFC with four straight wins including his last three by either knockout or submission.
He failed against Brunson, but UFC president Dana White thinks it’s all part of the game as he made a milestone in the competition at the UFC Vegas 5 main event.
“No, I was not disappointed,” White said of Shahbazyan’s performance at the post-fight press conference. “Look, everyone knew, no matter what the odds said, he was up against a fucking experienced guy.
“Brunson fought everyone. Shahbazyan hasn’t fought everyone and that’s where you find out where a guy is tonight. You put it against a guy like Derek Brunson.