UFC FIGHT NIGHT REPORT: Derek Brunson stops Edmen Shahbazyan in Round 3

John Pollock's coverage of the UFC Fight Night card from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas featuring Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan.

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of the UFC Fight Night event from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This card has lost several fights including news breaking on Saturday that Gerald Meerschaert has tested positive for COVID-19 and his fight with Ed Herman is off. Later in the night, Trevin Giles fainted backstage and his fight with Kevin Holland was pulled by the commission.

The card will proceed with nine fights including the three-round main event between Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan.

Brendan Fitzgerald, Dominick Cruz, and Paul Felder are the broadcast team for tonight’s fights.

MAIN CARD 
*Derek Brunson def. Edmen Shahbazyan by TKO at 0:26 of Round 3
*Jennifer Maia def. Joanne Calderwood by armbar at 4:29 of Round 1
*Vicente Luque def. Randy Brown by KO at 4:56 of Round 2
*Bobby Green def. Lando Vannata by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

PRELIMINARY CARD 
*Jonathan Martinez def. Frankie Saenz by TKO at 0:52 of Round 3
*Nate Maness def. Johnny Munoz by unanimous decision (29-27 all)
*Jamall Emmers def. Vincent Cachero by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Chris Gutierrez and Cody Durden fought to a unanimous draw (28-28 all)

CHRIS GUTIERREZ (15-3-1, 135.5, -310) VS CODY DURDEN (11-2, 135.5, +255) – BANTAMWEIGHT

In the first round, Durden dominated after securing a takedown and controlling Gutierrez’s back for the remainder. Near the end of the round, Durden briefly flattened him and then went back to the initial back position. It was one-sided. 10-8 Durden

Gutierrez responded in the second round utilizing his great leg kicks and mixing those strikes with jabs. Durden scored a takedown and Gutierrez attempted an armbar off his back. 10-9 Gutierrez

In the third round, Gutierrez scored several key strikes. Durden could not take him down, held onto the leg, and ate a big hook in the process. Late in the round, Gutierrez threw a kick and it looked like he nailed his knee to the face of Durden. 10-9 Gutierrez and a 28-28 draw

WINNER: Unanimous Draw (28-28 all)

It is surprising when all three judges agree on a 10-8 round as I was expecting at least one judge to have it 10-9 but they all got it right.

This was Durden’s UFC debut and took the fight on one week’s notice when Luke Sanders had to withdraw.

For Gutierrez, he had a three-fight win streak coming into the fight and was coming off a TKO win against Vince Morales due to leg strikes that were brought up numerous times by the commentary team.

JAMALL EMMERS (17-5, 146, -455) VS VINCENT CACHERO (7-2, 145, +365) – FEATHERWEIGHT

In the first round, Emmers utilized a strategy of knee strikes from the clinch attacking the body of Cachero, who displayed an amazing ability to absorb damage. Cachero put on pressure but also paid for it with Emmers’ response. It was a fairly dominant round for Emmers but I didn’t go 10-8. 10-9 Emmers

The second round was the 10-8 round for me. Emmers unloaded on Cachero, who amazingly stayed upright and ate countless shots to the head and body. The knee strikes from the clinch were putting a hole in Cachero’s body and it was unreal that Cachero kept coming forward. Emmers mixed in takedowns and did a lot of damage. 10-8 Emmers

The third round was another strong round for Emmers. He scored several more takedowns and shut Cachero down by taking his back near the end of the fight and quickly achieving the mount as the horn ended the fight. 10-9 Emmers and 30-26

WINNER: Jamall Emmers by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Cachero deserves a lot of credit as he took this fight on two day’s notice after Timur Valiev had to pull out of the fight this week.

Emmers looked tremendous and was enormous for the bantamweight division. His conditioning was on display as he never let up throughout the fifteen minutes and showcased a wide arsenal of weapons. This was his first win in the UFC after losing by split decision to Giga Chikadze at UFC 248 in March.

JOHNNY MUNOZ (10-0, 145.5, +105) VS NATHAN MANESS (11-1, 144.5, -125) – FEATHERWEIGHT

There were several low blows from Munoz in the opening round and he was warned after the second time-out as Maness recovered. Munoz applied a body lock and worked to get the takedown. He passed to side control and later took the back and unloaded with ground and pound as Maness covered up and the horn sounded. The final minute was a huge one for Munoz. 10-8 Munoz

They battled most of the second round in the clinch position with the difference-maker being several shots Maness landed to open a cut above Munoz’s right eye. Munoz scored with a slam late in the round but ate some elbows from Maness off his back. 10-9 Maness

The third round started with another low shot from Munoz and this time, he was deducted one point. The round was dull as they spent most of it in the clinch against the cage with Munoz controlling from that position until Maness got a takedown. The round could either way, but I went with Munoz. 9-9 and 28-27 for Munoz

WINNER: Nate Maness by unanimous decision (29-27 all)

This was a somewhat surprising score given how dominant the ending of the first round was for Munoz. The judging would suggest they all gave Munoz the first round 10-9 and the other two rounds to Maness with the point deduction in round three giving Maness that round 10-8.

Munoz was another late replacement on the card replacing Ray Borg over the past few days.

Both were making their UFC debuts.

FRANKIE SAENZ (12-6, 136, +210) VS JONATHAN MARTINEZ (11-3, 140.5, -250) – CATCHWEIGHT 140.5 POUNDS

Saenz scored a takedown early, but Martinez got up immediately. Martinez started throwing lots of kicks and connected with several uppercuts and came back to win the round. 10-9 Martinez

The second round was huge for Martinez. He dropped Saenz twice, once with a left hand and another with a head kick. In both cases, Martinez didn’t follow up long enough for the referee to stop the fight, but it was close. 10-8 Martinez

Martinez connected low and it was the eighth low blow of the night in the fourth fight of the night.

In the third round, Saenz was charging at Martinez and ate a brutal left knee and was finished with strikes.

WINNER: Jonathan Martinez by TKO at 0:52 of Round 3

Saenz was in rough shape after the second round and there a strong argument to halt the fight by his corner at that point. It was a needless knockout for a fighter in Saenz who was highly unlikely to finish the fight and only take more damage before the loss was official.

Martinez missed weight by 4.5 pounds and was fined 30% of his purse and you hate to see that happen where someone misses weight by so much and it makes a difference.

Martinez is now 3-2 in the UFC rebounding from a split decision loss to Andre Ewell at UFC 247 in February. Saenz is 2-5 since December 2015 with his second loss in a row.

The main card began with Heidi Androl reporting that Trevin Giles fainted backstage and his fight against Kevin Holland is off. It was called off by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

LANDO VANNATA (11-4-2, 155.5, -160) VS BOBBY GREEN (25-10-1, 156, +140) – LIGHTWEIGHT

The first round was nonstop action with tons of counter strikes. Vannata landed a right hook and Green responded with his own. Green connected with his laser-like right hands and got Vannata down to the mat. Green hit a double jab followed by a 1-2 and won the first round. 10-9 Green

Green was using his jabs and rights throughout the second round. On the ground, a guillotine attempt by Vannata was thwarted when Green passed the legs. Green landed a big elbow and finished strong. 10-9 Green

In the third, it was a continuation of Green’s excellent striking with knees from the clinch and dropped Vannata with an elbow that landed flush. Green threatened with a choke but Vannata escaped. 10-9 Green and 30-27 overall

WINNER: Bobby Green by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

This was a rematch from October 2017 when they fought to a split draw.

Green said he fractured his hand in the Clay Guida fight back in June.

This was a stellar performance from Green and when he is on, he is a tremendously skilled striker from both stances and super-quick strikes that cause many issues for his opponents.

This was the best fight, so far on the card.

After back-to-back losses, Green has now won two straight after beating Clay Guida in June.

VICENTE LUQUE (18-7-1, 170.5, -185) VS RANDY BROWN (12-3, 170.5, +165) – WELTERWEIGHT

Luque started attacking with calf kicks and then dropped Brown with a right hand over the top. Luque got on top of Brown but didn’t threaten with anything and Brown was let up. Later in the round, a body kick by Luque set up a left hand that staggered Brown. A strong round for Luque. 10-9 Luque

Luque continued with calf kicks and absorbed some knees from Brown’s clinch. Brown’s best strike of the fight was a spinning elbow that connected and followed with a body lock takedown that Luque got up from. In the closing seconds, Brown was against the fence and was drilled with a legal knee and finished with strikes.

WINNER: Vicente Luque by KO at 4:56 of Round 2

Luque continues his incredible run and is now 8-1 in his last nine fights going back to October 2017 with the lone loss in that stretch to Stephen Thompson at UFC 244 last November.

It was a measured and effective strategy from Luque where the calf kicks were a steady weapon that worked well and timed the knee perfectly for the ending of the fight.

Brown had won his last two fights coming into this one and his UFC record is now 6-4.

Luque said he would like to fight Nate Diaz.

JOANNE CALDERWOOD (14-4, 126, -150) VS JENNIFER MAIA (17-6-1, 124.5, +130) – WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT

Maia came out aggressive with her right hand and landed with a combination. Maia threw a front kick and was dumped on her back with Calderwood entering her guard. Maia worked from underneath and secured the arm and got control of it for the armbar and Calderwood was forced to tap.

WINNER: Jennifer Maia by armbar at 4:29 of Round 1

Maia was set to fight Viviane Araujo, who came down with COVID-19 and had to withdraw and Calderwood took the short-notice fight.

Calderwood was virtually guaranteed the next flyweight title fight against Valentina Shevchenko but she was tired of waiting and had not fought since September 2019, so she opted to take the fight and the gamble didn’t pay off.

However, it’s not like the flyweight division is deep with contenders and while it’s a big setback for Calderwood, she is probably one or two wins away from being right back at the front of the line.

Maia said she wants the champion and Shevchenko tweeted “See you soon Jennifer Maia”.

DEREK BRUNSON (20-7, 186, +290) VS EDMEN SHAHBAZYAN (11-0, 185.5, -360) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

The first round was super close with Shahbazyan connecting with numerous shots to the body that was the difference-maker on my card. Brunson connected with a big left hand on the break. Shahbazyan landed a right elbow at the end. 10-9 Shahbazyan

Brunson had a big round after absorbing a body kick and right hand from Shahbazyan. Brunson landed several power shots and used the wrist control to take Shahbazyan down and obliterate him with strikes after mounting him in the closing second and nearly ending the fight. 10-8 Brunson

They checked on Shahbazyan to ensure he was okay to continue. Brunson immediately took him down and finished him with strikes from the back.

WINNER: Derek Brunson by TKO at 0:26 of Round 3

Shahbazyan hung with Brunson and looked great in the first round and the first half of round two. The difference came later in the second round when Brunson started landing big shots and was smart to use his wrestling and impressive pressure on top with his ground and pound. It’s a reality check of where Shahbazyan is at when he is 22 years of age and has only been out of the first round once before this fight.

Brunson notched his third consecutive win following up on victories against Elias Theodorou and Ian Heinisch.

Hopefully, Shahbazyan rebounds from this as he has a lot of upside and is young enough that he can mature into a great fighter and learn from this loss.

About John Pollock 1892 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.