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UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan Main Event Odds and Picks

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UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan Main Event Odds and Picks
Edmen Shahbazyan. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has a jam-packed schedule and this Saturday we are getting what should be a very entertaining fight between Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and our betting pick.

Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan

Saturday, August 01, 2020 – 11:59 PM EDT at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas

In the main event of the evening, Derek Brunson faces Edmen Shahbazyan. UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. There will not be fans in attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With plenty of betting lines and markets currently available, let’s attempt to find some value for our UFC picks on Saturday’s main event.

It Wasn't the Original Main Event

A major change was made to this UFC card. The original main event was a bantamweight fight between Holly Holm and Irene Aldana but it was postponed.

Holm’s manager Lenny Fresquez told MMA Fighting that Aldana withdrew from the fight because she has COVID-19 and that it will possibly take place until October. Fresquez added that they tried to find a suitable replacement for Saturday but nothing come together.

Brunson vs. Shahbazyan is the new headliner but it will remain a three-round fight. Cole Shelton of BJPenn.com reported that the fight will not be upped to five rounds given the short nature the combatants were given.

Brunson and Shahbazyan have been rebooked twice. One of those previous bookings was at UFC Portland but it was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Derek Brunson. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images/AFP

Derek Brunson

Introduction, Background & UFC Career

Derek Brunson was a competitive cheerleader and wrestler at John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington, North Carolina under coach Dan Willis. He had scholarships for both cheerleading and wrestling but opted to wrestle at college.

Brunson is a three-time Division II All-American wrestler from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

After college he immediately turned his attention to mixed martial arts. He made his professional MMA debut at CFP - Carolina's Summer Fight Series 1 on May 22nd, 2010 against John Bryant and he won using a rear naked choke in under a minute.

He would win his next five fights, all before 2:30 of the first round. Brunson made his Strikeforce debut on June 24th, 2011 at Strikeforce Challengers 16, beating then-undefeated Jeremy Hamilton via unanimous decision.

Brunson has been stalwart of the middleweight top-10 for a long time, facing a who’s who in the division including past fights against Robert Whittaker, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo Souza and Israel Adesanya.

He is coming off back-to-back wins over Elias Theodorou and Ian Heinisch, both by unanimous decision. The victory against Heinisch was on August 17th, 2019 at UFC 241.

Born: January 4th, 1984

Age: 36

Country: United States

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 186 lbs

Reach: 77″

Stance: Southpaw

Association: Hard Knocks 365

Class: Middleweight

Record: 20-7

Stats

Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
11 wins by KO/TKO3.39 Landed29% Accuracy
3 wins by Submission2.91 Absorbed100% Defended
6 wins by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Three-time Division II All-American wrestler
  • Battle-tested
  • Has heavy hands

Octagon Weaknesses

  • Has many miles on the clock

Edmen Shahbazyan UFC
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images/AFP

Edmen Shahbazyan

Introduction, Background & UFC Career

Edmen Shahbazyan has remained undefeated in his mixed martial arts career thus far, going 11-0 overall and 4-0 in the UFC.

Shahbazyan began his mixed martial arts training when he was nine years old and is about to be in the biggest fight of his career, one that threatens his perfect record.

He earned his UFC contract after getting an impressive win TKO win against Antonio Jones at Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series - Season 2, Episode 5 on July 17th, 2018.

Since then, he is 4-0 in the UFC with three straight finishes in the first round. Those victories include a devastating head kick knockout against Brad Tavares at UFC 244 on November 2nd, 2019.

Ronda Rousey, who manages Shahbazyan, praised him during a recent video call with UFC President Dana White.

“That’s my fighter. He has always been special. He is that first generation of kids that only did MMA,” Rousey said.

“He was obsessed with MMA when I was training at the gym. He was actually my throwing dummy,” Rousey added.

“It’s not like he is mediocre at everything. He is just f**king awesome at everything.

Like this kid started off like destroying everyone at grappling tournaments, destroying everyone at boxing tournaments, then we started MMA, it was just a no-brainer.” Rousey also revealed: “He was my training partner [at 15], he learned armbars from me.”

Born: November 20th, 1997

Age: 22

Country: United States

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 185 lbs

Reach: 74″

Stance: Orthodox

Association: Glendale Fighting Club

Class: Middleweight

Record: 11-0

Stats

Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
9 wins by KO/TKO4.11 Landed40% Accuracy
1 win by Submission2.16 Absorbed75% Defended
1 win by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Undefeated
  • Managed by UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey
  • All out martial artist since he was nine years old

Octagon Weaknesses

  • Hasn't faced elite competition

Prediction

UFC odds favor Shahbazyan and it's easy to see why, with 10 of his 11 fights ending with a first-round knockout. Five of his fights ended in under one minute, evidencing his dominance.

Brunson has to keep the fight on the feet and pressure Shahbazyan but it's easier said than done. I have to take Shahbazyan to win this fight, he is a composed snipper that has the It Factor.

UFC Pick:

  • Edmen Shahbazyan inside the distance -260 at 5Dimes