For most of his UFC career, Edmen Shahbazyan has been the hammer. But on Saturday night in the UFC Vegas 5 main event, he became the nail.
After stepping into the short notice headliner for the card from Las Vegas, the 11-0 middleweight was touted as the future of the division as he prepared to face veteran contender Derek Brunson.
With designs on becoming the youngest champion in UFC history, Shahbazyan had a lot of expectations heaped on his shoulders but he received a rude welcome to the top 10 in the division after Brunson brutalized him with punches and elbows before earning a third round TKO stoppage.
Following the fight, the 22-year-old prospect was transported to a local hospital for treatment but not long after, Shahbazyan released a statement to update his condition after suffering the first loss of his career.
“I’m OK everyone just need some stitches,” Shahbazyan wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for all your messages, love you all!
“Congrats to Derek Brunson tonight, he did a great job. No excuses, it’s the fight game and I’ll be back! Blessed to have the support I have from everyone.”
After earning his contract from Dana White’s Contender Series, Shahbazyan made immediate waves in the UFC with four straight wins including his last three by knockout or submission.
He came up short against Brunson but UFC president Dana White believes that’s just all part of the game as he took a decided step up in competition in the main event at UFC Vegas 5.
“No, I wasn’t disappointed,” White said about Shahbazyan’s performance at the post-fight press conference. “Listen, everybody knew, no matter what the odds said, he’s going in against an experienced f**king guy.
“Brunson’s fought everybody. Shahbazyan hasn’t fought everybody and this is where you find out where a guy’s at tonight. You put him in against a guy like Derek Brunson.”