Derek Brunson took the wind out of young rising star Edmen Shahbazyan’s sails tonight in the main event of UFC On ESPN+ 31 as he badly hurt him late in the second round and then sealed a TKO stoppage early in the third.
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Body punch from Brunson. Now a high kick to the body. Body punch from Shahbazyan. Another light body punch from him. Right hand flashes out for Shahbazyan.
Kick from Shahbazyan and Brunson grabs onto his neck, but then lets go. Head kick attempt from Shahbazyan misses. He does land nicely with a right hand though.
Reaching left hand from Brunson. Left hook for Shahbazyan. Brunson fires off two lengthy straight lefts and then goes for a takedown and gets it. Shahbazyan on his knees and looking to stand with his shoulder to the cage.
Shahbazyan gets up with Brunson landing blows as he does so. nice strike from Brunson as he gets out of the clinch.
Shahbazyan marches forward and throwing big power in his right hand here. Body kik for Brunson. Body punch from Brunson, but it lands to the cup. Brunson ok to continue though.
Shahbazyan loads up too much on the left hook and misses. Brunson working elbows. Both fighters happy to trade here, but then Brunson works into the clinch against the cage and is trying to get Shahbazyan down, but is unable to and they go back to striking range.
Knee and a left hand from Brunson. Now a knee at close range from Shahbazyan. leg kick from Brunson. Weak kick from Brunson and Shahbazyan lands two strikes in response. Final hook from Shahbazyan as the round comes to a close.
Leg kick from Brunson. Now a reaching jab. Hard body kick from Shahbazyan. Right hand for Brunson and one in return from Shahbazyan.
Body kick from Brunson and a glancing left hand behind it. Shahbazyan targets the body with a punch. Missed hook from Shahbazyan and Brunson gets in on a takedown attempt and brings him to the mat. Shahbazyan immediately stands and gets away as Brunson is firing off a left hand.
Brunson pressing Shahbazyan to the cage, but he moves away. Both men looking for the overhand right there. Nicely timed hook from Shahbazyan.
Eye poke from Brunson forces a stoppage. After a bit of a breather Shahbazyan is able to continue.
Jab for Brunson. Hard body kick from Shahbazyan. Now he’s pressing forward throwing that hard right hand. Now it’s Brunson coming on the offensive with left and right hands, then transitioning to a takedown attempt.
Shahbazyan stops the takedown, but Brunson staying busy here whether with striking or grappling.
Left hand for Brunson. Straight punches from Brunson backs Shahbazyan to the cage. Brunson into the clinch. Uppercut attempt now and then back to trying to take the fight to the mat and does well to do so.
A few punches from Brunson as he settles into side control. Shahbazyan onto his knees and Brunson landing some punches here.
Brunson gets into mount briefly and then has the back. Elbows from Brunson. Now Brunson in Shahbazyan’s half-guard in the final 20 seconds of the round. He postures up and lands a huge elbow. Shahbazyan hurt and Brunson lands several more big blows and has Shahbazyan close to unconscious here, but he survives and gets back up with his face bloodied and looking dazed.
Leg kick for Brunson. left hand for Brunson and then wades forward with more punches and then gets an easy takedown. Brunson starts to land ground and pound and the referee doesn’t wait long to step in and wave this one off at 0.26mins of the third round before the hurt and exhausted Shahbazyan takes any more damage.
Great win for Brunson, showing more composure than usual, but stepping up the aggression when it mattered to secure the stoppage victory.