Dubai: Following a successful four-event stint on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, the UFC bandwagon returns to it’s home in Las Vegas this weekend for another bunch of explosive MMA contests - headlined by an interesting middleweight match-up between veteran Derek Brunson and Ronda Rousey’s former training partner Edmen Shahbazyan.
A women’s bantamweight title fight between Holly Holm (13-5 and Irene Aldana (12-5) was scheduled to be the main event at the UFC’s Apex arena on Saturday, August 1, only for Aldana to be ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19.
The new headliner has presents 22-year-old Armenian sensation Shabazyan with the chance to announce himself as a legitimate top-10 contender when he takes on the 25-year-old Brunson.
The 170-pound division is one of the most talent rich categories of the UFC’s eight classes where recent Fight Island scorer Kamaru Usman sits at the top as the reigning champion.
The division also boasts the likes of highly-regarded MMA arts including Gilbert Burns, Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, Jorge Masvidal, Tyron Woodley, Conor McGregor (retired), Nate Diaz and Anthony Petis.
Shabazyan looked hugely impressive in his three UFC appearances, encouraging UFC President Dana White, to pitch him into the upper ranks from where he can leapfrog into the big league. The new co-main event will see late replacement Joanne Calderwood of Scotland accepting the fight against Brazil’s Jennifer Maia.
Calderwood, 35, will be looking to bounce back from back-to-back defeats against Cynthia Calvillo and Jessica Andrade when she takes on Maia who will also hoping to get back into the win column after a loss to Katlyn Chookagian.
Another outstanding fight on the card pitches welterweight Vicente Tuque and Randy Brown who will be aiming to ride the momentum of recent wins against Niko Price and Warlley Alves respectively.
UFC Las Vegas 5
Saturday, August 1
Apex Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
Joanne Calderwood vs. Jennifer Maia
Vicente Luque vs. Randy Brown
Lando Vannata vs. Bobby Green
Trevin Giles vs. Kevin Holland
Frankie Saenz vs. Jonathan Martinez
Ed Herman vs. Gerald Meerschaert
Ray Borg vs. Nathan Maness
Timur Valiev vs. Jamall Emmers