Dubai: After a successful foray in Abu Dhabi for the four-event Fight Island series, the UFC returns to its home in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it will host a 12-fight card headlined by middleweight showdown between former champion Derek Brunson and rising star Edmen Shahbazyan.
Armenia’s Shahbazyan is unbeaten in 11 professional fights including four in the UFC Octagon. A dominant fighter, Shahbazyan has finished all but one of his opponents winning nine fights by knockout and one by submission.
At just 22-years-old, Shahbazyan is being seen as one of the most exciting fighters on the UFC roster and worthy of headlining a card following the cancellation of the Holly Holm vs Irene Aldana showpiece, due to the latter’s positive test for COVID-19.
Veteran Brunson has fought 16 times in the Octagon where he has only been defeated by elite-level fighters such as Israel Adesanya, Anderson Silva and Robert Whittaker.
He is currently on a two-fight winning streak having beaten Elias Theodorou and Ian Heinisch last year.
Shahbazyan, who as a youngster was a former sparring partner for now-manager Ronda Rousey, caught the UFC’s attention when he beat Antonie Jones on Dana White’s Contender Series.
He has progressed up the ranks to a position where he finds himself on the cusp of the title picture and a victory over Brunson will go a long way to proving that he deserves his place in the upper echelons of the sport - with or without Rousey’s significant clout in the sport.
Another interesting fight pitches Vicente Luque against Randy Brown, in a contest that is sure to deliver violence and a potential knockout.
In the co-main event, Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood makes a surprise Octagon appearance when she takes on Brazil’s Jennifer Maia in a women’s flyweight contest.
UFC’s return to Vegas looks like a lot of fun.
UFC Fight Night
When: Aug 1
Where: Apex Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Main Card starts: 9pm ET (9pm UAE)
How to watch: ESPN+ and UFC Arabia
Middleweight: Edmen Shahbazyan v Derek Brunson
Flyweight: Joanne Calderwood v Jennifer Maia
Welterweight: Vicente Luque v Randy Brown
Lightweight: Lando Vannata v Bobby Green
Middleweight: Kevin Holland v Trevin Giles
Bantamweight: Jonathan Martinez v Frankie Saenz
Light heavyweight: Gerald Meerschaert v Ed Herman
Bantamweight: Ray Borg v Nathan Maness
Middleweight: Markus Perez v Eric Spicely
Featherweight: Timur Valiev v Jamall Emmers
Bantamweight: Chris Gutierrez v Cody Durden