After a solid win at UFC Vegas 27, what’s next for Jack Hermansson?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 27, Jack Hermansson (22-6) took on Edmen Shahbazyan (11-2) to kick off the main card. Hermansson was coming off of a December loss to Marvin Vettori.

Had Hermansson won that fight, he might’ve been in the UFC title conversation. However, Vettori got the win and Vettori is fighting for the title at UFC 263. Hermansson took a step back to take on the top prospect Edmen Shahbazyan.

In this matchup, it was all going to come down to where the fight took place. On the feet, you would think that the young Shahbazyan would have the advantage. On the ground is where Hermansson expected to dominate.

In the first round at UFC Vegas 27, Shahbazyan dominated with his standup. It was a great opening round for the prospect, but you could tell that he would be in some trouble should Hermansson get this fight down.

Over the next two rounds, Hermansson was able to do just that. Hermansson was able to get Shahbazyan down and completely dominated the final two rounds at UFC Vegas 27. Ultimately, Hermansson walked away with a unanimous decision victory.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 27?

This was a really good win for Hermansson to get him back on track. Overall, Hermansson is 6-2 in his last eight UFC appearances. However, the two losses came when he was knocking on the door of a title shot.

Hermansson appears to be a very good middleweight, but when he gets to the top of the division, that’s when he falters. However, with his skill set and being ranked sixth, he needs a good opponent with a good name.

Most of the middleweight division is booked, but there is one opponent that comes to mind for me. I think a perfect matchup would be pairing Hermansson against former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (16-5).

Rockhold has been trying to get a fight booked at 185, but there hasn’t been any takers. The former champion wants a top guy to get right back in the mix and Hermansson fits the bill. It would be a big fight for both men and it honestly makes a lot of sense.

After another loss at UFC Vegas 27, what’s next for Edmen Shahbazyan?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 27, top prospect Edmen Shahbazyan (11-2) took on The Joker Jack Hermansson (22-6) to kick off the main card. This was a really tall order for Shahbazyan who was coming off of his first career loss last year.

Shahbazyan was being touted as a future champion in 2020. The previously unbeaten Shahbazyan was surging up the UFC‘s middleweight division all before he even turned 23 years old.

Shahbazyan was 4-0 in the UFC as he got his first main event slot against Derek Brunson last August. The 22 year old Shahbazyan looked like he was ready to break into the scene of stardom, but Derek Brunson was having none of it.

Brunson completely broke Shahbazyan down on his way to picking up a third round TKO victory. In reality, Shahbazyan should have taken a step back after that loss. At just 23 years old, there is no reason to rush his career.

However, Shahbazyan insisted that he fight someone in the UFC‘s top ten. After some back and forth with the promotion, Shahbazyan was given that top ten opponent in the tough Jack Hermansson.

UFC Vegas 27 and what’s next?

In the first round, Shahbazyan looked sensational at UFC Vegas 27. In fact, it looked like he made the right choice. However, when he wasn’t able to stop Hermansson in the first round, that’s when things went south quickly.

Hermansson started taking the fight to the ground after the first and Shahbazyan had no answer. The third round was so one-sided that it was an easy 10-8 round for Hermansson. Ultimately, Shahbazyan lost a decision at UFC Vegas 27.

Having lost a second fight in a row, Shahbazyan has to take a step back at this point. He very well might be a future UFC champion, but he seriously needs to take a breather and take an easier fight.

It’s important to remember that he’s only 23 years old in a sport where many don’t reach their prime until their late 20s to early 30s. So, who should the UFC give him in his next matchup?

I think he needs to fight someone outside the rankings. I think someone entertaining would be a matchup with a guy like Julian Marquez (9-2). Marquez has nine finishes in nine wins and he’s won two in a row.

With the style he possesses, this could be a good step back for Shahbazyan. Should Marquez win, he bursts into top fifteen. Should Shahbazyan win, he gets some confidence back and the UFC can give him a ranked opponent afterwards.

UFC Vegas 27 Preview: Edmen Shahbazyan – Jack Hermansson

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC Vegas 27, we will see a big time matchup in the middleweight division. The Golden Boy Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) makes his return as he takes on The Joker Jack Hermansson (21-6).

Shahbazyan was one of the UFC‘s most hyped prospects in 2020. He started out his career inside the octagon at 4-0 including three first round stoppages. The most impressive victory was his first round knockout over Brad Tavares.

That win propelled Shahbazyan into his first UFC main event last August. Shahbazyan was tasked with fighting the gate keeper of the middleweight division, Derek Brunson. Ultimately, Brunson stopped the Shahbazyan hype train via a third round TKO.

Shahbazyan didn’t want to take a step back to reset after the loss and the UFC didn’t give him one. Tomorrow night, he’s going to be taking on one of the trickier middleweights in the division.

Jack Hermansson is looking to bounce back after he lost to Marvin Vettori back in December. Hermansson is 5-2 in his last seven UFC fights with the two losses coming against Vettori and Jared Cannonier. If he’s able to win at UFC Vegas 27, Hermansson will propel himself right back into the mix at 185.

UFC Vegas 27 Prediction

I’m very curious to see what we will get out of Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC Vegas 27. Derek Brunson broke him in his last fight and usually with prospects one of two things happens after a loss like either.

Either Shahbazyan is going to look better than ever tomorrow or he will look like a shell of that top prospect that UFC fans were excited for. Even if Shahbazyan looks good tomorrow, he’s in for a very tough fight.

Jack Hermansson does pretty much everything well inside the cage. His striking is his weakest area, but he’s still effective with his striking. He can hang on the feet with Shahbazyan especially if Shahbazyan’s power can’t put him away.

If this fight goes the distance, I see no way that Shahbazyan wins. I think Hermansson’s grappling and pace are a tough out for the prospect. I wouldn’t rule out a Shahbazyan stoppage on the feet at UFC Vegas 27, but I think The Joker is going to be too much.

Prediction: Jack Hermansson by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – Round 3

UFC: Jack Hermansson – Edmen Shahbazyan postponed one week

UFC 262 has lost one of it’s fights. MMA DNA was the first to report today that the middleweight matchup between Jack Hermansson (21-6) and Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) is being postponed. Shahbazyan confirmed the news on his Twitter page. 

At this time, it’s not known why the fight is being postponed. However, fight fans will not have to wait long for this matchup. Shahbazyan confirmed also that the fight is being pushed back just one week to UFC Vegas 27.

With the news that it’s only being pushed back a week, we can safely make the assumption that nothing serious is happening. The most important thing is that the UFC was able to turn around this matchup quickly.

Shahbazyan is looking to bounce back after his first UFC and career loss in his last matchup. The promotion was giving him the fast track and he took on Derek Brunson in a main event last year.

The veteran did a fantastic job of weathering the storm from Shahbazyan and making him tired. Brunson ended up scoring the TKO victory in a very humbling defeat for the top prospect.

In all honesty, I’ve been surprised about this booking from the beginning. I’m shocked that the UFC decided to give Shahbazyan a fight with Jack Hermansson after his last fight. However, they ultimately wanted to keep him around the top ten.

UFC bounce back for Hermansson

Jack Hermansson is still ranked seventh in the UFC’s middleweight division, but he’s coming off of a lopsided loss to Marvin Vettori in his last fight. Hermansson had some moments, but ultimately, The Italian Dream was too much.

That loss puts Hermansson at 1-2 in his last three matchups. The two losses coming to Vettori and Jared Cannonier. Twice now, Hermansson has come close to getting a UFC title shot.

After winning four in a row, Hermansson got a shot against Jared Cannonier. Had Hermansson won that fight, he might’ve been challenging for the title. However, Cannonier stopped him in the second round.

Then after he defeated Kelvin Gastelum, Hermansson was right back in a good position to potentially get a UFC title eliminator matchup. But, he of course came up short against Vettori.

Now, he will look to reset against the top prospect. This is a big fight for both of these men and it will tell us a lot about where they are heading in the future.

UFC books Jack Hermansson – Edmen Shahbazyan

UFC 262 is getting a fun one at middleweight for the main card. The LA Times was the first to report today that Jack Hermansson (21-6) will be taking on “The Golden Boy” Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1).

Of course, we learned last night that the card was being headlined by the vacant lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira. Today, we learned that UFC 262 will take place in Houston in front of a crowd at the Toyota Center.

Jack Hermansson had a huge win halfway through the year last year against former title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum. With that win, Hermansson was 5-1 in his last six and appeared just a fight or two away from a UFC title shot.

However, that is when he ran into Marvin Vettori. The two men fought in December and Vettori won a decision in an absolute war. It was a tough defeat for The Joker, but he’s ready to get back into the swing of things. He’s getting one of the UFC‘s brightest young prospects in his next matchup.

Will the UFC hype come back?

There was so much hype in 2020 around Edmen Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan has all of the skills to be a world champion and he’s only 23 years old. In his first big step up in competition, Shahbazyan demolished Brad Tavares.

After that win, the UFC decided to give him a headlining spot against Derek Brunson. Shahbazyan ultimately fell short and it was a humbling moment for the young fighter. Frankly, I’m a little surprised by this booking decision.

Shahbazyan is still incredibly young and the UFC believes he can be a star. Giving him Jack Hermansson off of his first loss is not an easy rebound matchup. In fact, it’s a brutal matchup, but Shahbazyan does have all the skills needed to get the win. Either way, it should be a fantastic matchup on May 15th.

UFC: Three biggest stars to come out of the contender series

Tomorrow night marks the return of UFC president Dana White’s Contender Series. The contender series made it’s debut back in 2017.

The show has produced incredible fights and the show has introduced us to many fighters who are now prominent in the UFC.

With the return of the series starting tomorrow, I decided to take a look at the three biggest stars, in my opinion, to come out of Dana White’s contender series.

Suga Sean O’Malley

To me, the biggest star is not questionable. The biggest star to come out of the contender series is Suga Sean O’Malley (12-0). O’Malley burst onto the scene when he knocked out Alfred Khashakyan on the show.

Since his appearance on the show, O’Mally has gone 4-0 in the UFC. He had some USADA issues that kept him out of action for a couple of years, but he’s returned in full force in 2020.

O’Malley has scored back-to-back first round knockouts looking better than he ever has. At just 25 years old, the Suga Show is becoming must see TV. He has all the makings to be the next superstar. O’Malley fights Chito Vera at UFC 252 in a couple of weeks.

Geoff Neal

Handz of Steel Geoff Neal (13-2) appeared on the contender series back in 2017. That night, Neal knocked out Chase Waldon in the first round earning himself a shot in the UFC.

Since joining the promotion, Neal has looked incredible. Neal has gone 5-0 with only one fight going the distance. Neal has the makeup to be a big star in the UFC. He’s got incredible talent and a killer instinct.

Because he is so dangerous, the promotion was having a difficult timing finding Neal a fight in 2020. It became so bad that Neal had to pick up a job serving tables just to make some extra money.

However, Neal was recently booked to take on fellow top 15 welterweight Neil Magny on August 29th. If Neal looks impressive in that contest, he might only be a couple of wins away from getting a shot at the title.

Edmen Shahbazyan

Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) was making headlines last week because everyone believes he’s going to be a star. The 22 year old went into UFC Vegas 5 at 11-0 with 10 first round finishes. One of those finishes came in the contender series.

Shahbazyan was humbled over the weekend by Derek Brunson and he suffered the first loss of his career. Again, at just 22, the future is very bright for Shahbazyan. The man could still become world champion one day.

He’s still going to be ranked in the top ten of the UFC‘s middleweight division despite the loss. With the talent and following he has already, you can’t deny that he’s one of the biggest stars we’ve seen come out of the show.

Other UFC notables

In addition to the three that I mentioned, there have been several other big time fighters to come out of the show. Fighters like Dan Ige, Ian Heinisch, Maycee Barber, Greg Hardy, Ricky Simon, and Ryan Spann amongst others.

White’s show has been incredibly successful about finding some premier talent. I’m pumped that the show is coming back, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the future stars of the UFC.

Three fights to make after UFC Vegas 5

UFC, Dana White

Last night, the UFC returned home to Las Vegas with an event at the APEX. The main card didn’t disappoint and there were several story lines that came out of last night.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at three fights the UFC should move to make following UFC Vegas 5.

Derek Brunson vs Jack Hermansson

Derek Brunson (21-7) made a massive statement last night. Everyone (including myself) thought that Brunson was going to get run over like he did against Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker.

However, Brunson was composed and put on arguably the best performance of his career in stopping Edmen Shahbazyan. Now the question becomes, what’s next for Brunson.

In looking at the rankings, a match that makes a ton of sense is a fight with Jack Hermansson (21-5). The Joker is also coming off of a big win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Fight Island 2.

Hermansson has been vocal about wanting to fight Darren Till next, but with Till’s injury, I think Brunson makes a lot more sense. Plus the two men are both coming off big wins.

If the UFC were to pair these two up against each other, the winner could be next in line to fight for the title. Obviously the title is booked up for a while as Adesanya fights Costa and Whittaker fights Cannonier for the next shot, but a Brunson/Hermansson winner wouldn’t be far behind.

Valentina Shevchenko vs Jennifer Maia for the UFC Flyweight Championship

Despite the impressive performance last night from Derek Brunson, the star of UFC Vegas 5 for me was Jennifer Maia (18-6-1). Maia took on JoJo Calderwood who was supposed to fight Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) for the title.

Shevchenko got hurt so the UFC title fight with Calderwood was called off. Calderwood didn’t want to wait around so she decided to take a fight against top contender Jennifer Maia. This has proved to be a massive mistake.

Maia looked tremendous last night. She was winning the stand up battle and when Calderwood took her down, it didn’t take long for the BJJ blackbelt to throw up a slick arm bar. The champion tweeted out her thoughts after the fight.

Maia poses an interesting challenge given her skills, but she will be a massive underdog against Shevchenko. Shevchenko is head and shoulders ahead of anyone in her division. However, Maia proved last night that she’s a game opponent and she’ll be willing to bring the fight to the champ.

Edmen Shahbazyan vs Ian Heinisch

Last night we saw the Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) hype train hit a wall. The Golden Boy was being touted as the next big thing. However, after he wasn’t able to finish Brunson early, it appeared that Shahbazyan still had miles to go in development.

The UFC is in an interesting spot trying to book Shahbazyan’s next fight. He definitely needs a top 15 opponent. In looking at the rankings, I think a fun matchup could be with Ian Heinisch (14-3).

Heinisch bounced back big time after back-to-back losses back in June with a first round TKO over Gerald Meerschaert. Heinisch is currently ranked as the thirteenth best middleweight in the UFC.

These two would make sense from a rankings perspective and it would be a really fun fight for fight fans. I think the style matchup would be a lot of fun. If the UFC would rather aim lower to build Shahbazyan back up, another option could be Antonio Carlos Junior.

I believe that Shahbazyan will work his way back up eventually. He’s still extremely young and has all the talent in the world. Last night was a humbling fight and a reminder of just how special young Jon Jones was.

Herb Dean draws unfair criticism at UFC Vegas 5

I said this in my article last week, but I believe that Herb Dean is one of if not the best referee in the UFC. There is a reason the man has been the official for so many massive events.

Dan Hardy criticized Dean for a late stoppage back at UFC Fight Island 3. The two men had some verbal back and forth. Dana White came out last week and said that situations like that could never happen again.

Herb Dean found himself at the center of more controversy after UFC Vegas 5. In the main event, Derek Brunson almost finished Edmen Shahbazyan at the end of the second round.

Shahbazyan took some massive shots and Dean came close to stopping the fight. His decision to proceed drew criticism.

How I saw UFC Vegas 5

There was a lot of criticism thrown Dean’s way, but I truly believe that he made the right call last night. I fall more in line with what Michael Bisping had to say after UFC.

There were a lot of people that said Shahbazyan was out near the end of the second round. I’ve watched the tape multiple times and he was not out. He was exhausted and taking some big shots, but he wasn’t out.

Immediately after the round ended Shahbazyan got up and went to his corner. You could tell he was hurt, but he had a full minute to recover. We’ve seen fighters in the past go from being nearly finished at the end of the round to winning the fight.

Shahbazyan did look a little out of it so Dean called in the doctor just to get a second opinion on his ability to continue. The doctor approved it and the fight continued.

Of course, Brunson stormed forward and took Shahbazyan straight to the ground. After landing just two shots, Dean called a stop to the action. The stoppage was great in my opinion. Shahbazyan was not ready to continue, but I think it was okay to send him out for the third.

I understand it’s the flavor of the month to bash Herb Dean. Yes, he made a bad call at UFC Fight Island 3. However, are we just going to ignore his history as one of the best refs in MMA history?

Dean unfortunately is going to find himself under the microscope every time he refs a UFC contest for the foreseeable future. It shouldn’t be that way, but unfortunately it’s the world we live in.

 

UFC Vegas 5 Recap: Derek Brunson derails the Shahbazyan hype train

Derek Brunson

The UFC made their Las Vegas return tonight. Headlining the first card back in the United States was a middleweight contest between Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) and Derek Brunson (20-7). UFC Vegas 5 was highly anticipated and it didn’t disappoint.

Derek Brunson breaks Edmen Shahbazyan

In the main event of the evening, Derek Brunson was looking to spoil the party for the 22 year old UFC phenom, Edmen Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan was headlining his first card while Brunson was headlining his fourth.

As the first round started both men were just feeling the other out. Brunson started the action with a couple of kicks. Shahbazyan landed a crisp right which Brunson countered with a body kick.

Brunson looked incredibly patient to start looking for his openings. Brunson shot forward with a couple of big shots and landed a takedown. Shahbazyan was able to work his way back up to his feet but ate some big shots.

Shahbazyan started throw massive shots which opened the eyes of Brunson. Brunson remained patient almost seeming to fight in slow motion at times. Shahbazyan threw a knee that Brunson used to clinch him. Close first round that I give to Shahbazyan.

Brunson opened the second round with a leg kick but Shahbazyan landed a massive body kick to counter. Shahbazyan looked to be going more to the body in the second.

Brunson started really looking to grapple early on in the second round. Shahbazyan landed another massive body kick and a couple of shots. Brunson then landed some big shots of his own before trying for another takedown.

Shahbazyan really started to look tired about three minutes into the round. Brunson really started pressing the action when Shahbazyan looked tired. Brunson landed another takedown on an exhausted Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan started taking massive shots. Dominant second round for Brunson.

In the final round, Brunson immediately pressed forward landing big shots. Shahbazyan crumbled. Herb Dean called a stop to the action after Shahbazyan showed nothing. Statement win for Derek Brunson.

Jennifer Maia Armbars her way to a UFC title shot

The co-main event of the evening featured a women’s flyweight contest between Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (14-4) and Jennifer Maia (17-6-1). Calderwood elected to stay active against Maia despite having a UFC title shot guaranteed once Valentina Shevchenko heals.

As the fight started, Calderwood immediately started looking for kicks. Maia was pushing forward looking for big 1-2’s. Maia started landing some big shots early on. Calderwood took a couple of clean shots down the middle that got her attention.

Maia was finding a home for her right hand a ton in the first two minutes. Calderwood kept looking for kicks to keep the distance and score points. Calderwood caught a kick from Maia and used it to take the fight to the ground.

Maia looked for some submissions off of her back, but couldn’t get anything to stick at first. Calderwood just looked content to hold top position. Out of no where, Maia throws up an armbar. She locked it in and Calderwood was forced to tap.

Crushing defeat for Calderwood who was supposed to fight for the title in June. With that win, Maia will likely be next for the champion. In fact, the champ had something to say about her win.

Vicious knee leads to a finish for Vicente Luque

The third fight of the main card had fight of the night written all over it. The UFC paired welterweights Vicente Luque (18-7-1) against Randy Brown (12-3).

Early on in the first round, Luque landed a massive leg kick that got Brown’s attention. Luque continued to spin Brown around with a couple of additional calf kicks early. Brown started landing a crisp jab that reddened the nose of Luque.

Luque continued to pepper the lead leg of Brown with inside and outside calf kicks. Brown stepped in but was met with a massive right that floored him from Luque. Luque let Brown back up to his feet with about two minutes left.

Brown seemed to get his feet back under him and started landing jabs again. Luque was just stalking Brown near the end of the round. Brown was rocked again which forced him to shoot for a takedown. The round ends and it was a clear one for Luque.

As the second round started, Brown landed a massive body kick to start things. Brown looked more comfortable to start the second landing some decent combinations off the jab. Luque dropped Brown with a calf kick about a minute into the round.

Luque allowed Brown to get right back up. Brown tried firing off his jab to keep Luque off of him. Luque continued to plot forward just stalking Randy Brown. Brown did start to gain momentum back with some good knees in the clinch.

With about a minute left in the round, Brown got a big takedown into side control. However, Luque was able to get right back up. Luque clinched up with Brown and landed a massive knee that floored Brown. A few follow up shots ended the fight. Great finish for Vicente Luque.

Bobby Green wins entertaining scrap with Vannata

The main card was kicked off by a rematch between lightweights Bobby Green (25-10-1) and Lando Vannata (11-4-2). The two men fought to a draw back at UFC 216 in 2017.

Both men were talking before the fight even started. They both took the center and immediately started trying to figure out their range. Green looked really smooth in the opening minute evading shots and landing some good counters.

Both men stepped forward with big shots and Green hit the deck for a just a second after a massive right from Vannata. Green was able to bounce back quickly. About a minute later, after hitting the deck himself, Green dropped Vannata with a massive right of his own.

Vannata worked his way back up to the feet and the two men resumed their stand up fight. Both fighters seemed to rock each other in a big exchange towards the end of the round. Very fun first round that I give to King Bobby Green.

Green took the center to start round two and landed a stiff jab. Vannata tried for a takedown thirty seconds in, but couldn’t land it. These two could not stop talking to each other in the cage.

Vannata started showing some real damage on his nose from the stiff straight shots from Green. Green continued to pepper Vannata with jabs. Vannata landed a couple of clean shots which forced a Green takedown attempt. Vannata pulled guard for a guillotine but couldn’t secure it.

The two ended up back on their feet with about two minutes left in the round. Green started pepping Vannata again with straight shots. Vannata shot for a takedown and was able to get it near the end of the round. Despite the takedown, Green still landed the bigger shots. Another round for Bobby Green.

Both men started the final round with a big high five. The two started exchanging immediately and Vannata seemed to land a shot that wobbled Green. They clinched and started throwing bombs at each other.

On the break, Green landed a massive shot that put Vannata down. Green got on top and started landing bombs. Somehow, Vannata was able to survive. After regaining his composure on the bottom, Vannata was able to work his way back up two minutes into the round.

Halfway through the round, Green shot in for a takedown and was able to get Vannata down. Green landed some pretty decent elbows from the top position. Vannata worked his way up with about a minute and a half left.

Vannata tried to push forward for the last minute, but Green seemed a step ahead. Green put on a great performance and takes the final round and the fight on my scorecard 30-27. The judges agreed giving the fight to Green unanimously (30-26, 30-27, 30-27).

UFC Vegas 5 Final Takeaways

The UFC returned to Vegas but didn’t do it without some adversity. There were fights cancelled to undisclosed reasons, COVID, and a fighter fainted before making the walk. Despite that the night delivered with some solid fights.

Jennifer Maia to me was the star of the night. Weeks ago she was just another top ten UFC flyweight and now she’s the likely number one contender.

Tonight also proved that Edmen Shahbazyan is not quite ready for the top competition in the UFC’s middleweight division. He looked completely lost after he couldn’t finish the fight in the first round.

UFC Vegas 5 Preview: Can Derek Brunson stop the Edmen Shahbazyan hype train?

The UFC returns to it’s home base tomorrow night. The promotion is back at the APEX with a solid card that is headlined by middleweights Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) and Derek Brunson (20-7). Let’s take a look at the main card for UFC Vegas 5.

Can Brunson stop the UFC’s Golden Boy Shahbazyan?

The main event of the evening is a three round middleweight contest featuring Shahbazyan and Brunson. The fight is three rounds due to the fight originally being planned as the co-main event.

Shahbazyan comes into this fight with a ton of hype. Many people believe than he’s the next big thing in the UFC‘s middleweight division.

The promotion has been bringing him along slowly and the 22-year old phenom has answered the call every time. He took on Brad Tavares in his last fight and put on a clinic.

Shahbazyan has very crisp striking. He throws clean straight shots and possesses dynamite in his hands and legs. In addition to that, he’s got really good grappling. He’s truly a well-rounded guy.

Despite hating the name, Derek Brunson is the gatekeeper of the UFC‘s middleweight division. He doesn’t lose to guys in the lower half of the top 15, but he always loses against top five talent.

Brunson is coming into this fight coming off of back-to-back wins. In his last fight, Brunson was dropped in seconds against Ian Heinisch but bounced back to grab a decision victory.

Brunson has a wrestling background that he mainly uses for defensive purposes. He boasts an incredible 100% takedown defense. Brunson also has really good power and he’s used that in his knockout wins over Lyoto Machida and Uriah Hall.

While Brunson is a very solid fighter all around, he’s very hittable and I think he’s very chinny. To me, this fight reminds me a lot of the Israel Adesanya fight with Brunson.

Brunson was there to take on the guy everyone viewed as the next big thing. In that fight, Brunson got lit up like a Christmas tree and stopped in the first round. Brunson has been stopped in the first round four times in his career.

While I’m not saying Shahbazyan is Style Bender, I think the fight is going to go the same way. I think the accuracy and the speed of Shahbazyan’s shots will just be too much. I don’t believe Brunson has the chin to make it out of the first round. In my opinion, Shahbazyan will prove he’s the real deal tomorrow night.

Prediction: Edmen Shahbazyan by KO – Round 1

Joanne Calderwood vs Jennifer Maia

The co-main event of the evening features a likely title eliminator match in the UFC women’s flyweight division as Joanne Calderwood (14-4) takes on Jennifer Maia (17-6-1).

Taking this fight was an interesting choice for Calderwood. She is stepping up on short notice, but she was next in line to face UFC flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko. That fight had been booked but cancelled due to the champ’s injury.

Now, Calderwood is taking on a dangerous contender in Maia and putting her title shot on the line in this one.

Calderwood comes into this contest 3-1 in her last four fights with the lone loss coming against Katlyn Chookagian. Calderwood is one of the more entertaining fighters in the division.

When she’s striking, she throws with decent volume and has a wide range of striking techniques. You will likely see her throw some spinning techniques. In addition to that, she’s very good in the clinch. She does a fantastic job of landing good shots from that position.

Maia is the former Invicta flyweight champion and she’s coming into this contest 2-2 in her four UFC fights. Her two wins coming against Alexis Davis and Roxanne Modafferi.

Maia is the type of fighter who’s not elite anywhere, but she’s very good everywhere. She’s got decent striking, she’s got decent submissions, and she’s got good offensive grappling.

For Maia to win this fight, she really has to push the pace and land with volume. I’m not sure either of these ladies will be getting a finish, so the highest output might take this one.

While it’s extremely dangerous to risk her title shot, I like JoJo Calderwood to come through tomorrow night. I just think she’s going to use her range well and I think she’ll be able to control the grappling positions. Expect some cage work tomorrow night.

Prediction: JoJo Calderwood by Unanimous Decision

Vicente Luque vs Randy Brown

The third fight of the evening is a popular fight of the night pick as UFC welterweights Vicente Luque (18-7-1) and Randy Brown (12-3) go to war.

Luque ranks just outside the top ten in the welterweight division. He’s 11-2 in his last 13 fights with his only losses being to Stephen Thompson and Leon Edwards.

Luque has one of the better killer instincts in the UFC‘s welterweight division. When he hits people, they go down. He’s also got very good submission skills which could come into play in this fight. Luque is coming off of a doctor stoppage TKO victory over Niko Price back in May.

Randy Brown came to fame as one of the first guys to appear on Dana White’s Looking for a Fight. Since joining the UFC Brown is 6-3 with wins over Mickey Gall and Bryan Barberena.

Brown is coming off of a win over Warley Alves by triangle choke last November. Despite his wrestling background, Brown is the type of fighter who loves to strike. He’s got good length and pretty decent stand up.

In this fight, it would be wise for Brown to try to use some of his grappling to neutralize Luque’s power. At least give Luque multiple attacks to think about.

When thinking about this fight, I definitely believe that Randy Brown can win with his skillset. However, I don’t think he will. I believe he will have some success, but Luque will catch him before the fight is over.

Prediction: Vicente Luque by TKO – Round 3

Lando Vannata vs Bobby Green

The second fight of the main card is a rematch between lightweights Bobby Green (25-10-1) and Lando Vannata (11-4-2). Both men fought to a draw back at UFC 216.

Back in 2014, Bobby Green was emerging as a top contender in the lightweight division. He was coming off back-to-back wins over top guys like Josh Thomson and Pat Healy. Then, his career took a sharp downturn.

Since the Thomson win, Green is just 2-5-1 in his last eight fights. Green had retired after the Trinaldo loss last year, but he returned back in June to face Clay Guida. Green picked up a decision win in that fight.

Bobby Green has pretty good stand up and he’s got very good defensive grappling skills. He’s got pretty good speed as well in his striking.

Lando Vannata came into the UFC at 8-0. He became a replacement to take on the lightweight divisions boogieman in Tony Ferguson in his debut. Vannata almost finished Ferguson in that fight which shocked everyone.

Many people believed that Vannata would become one of the top contenders at lightweight after that fight. However, it hasn’t gone that way. Vannata is 3-3-2 in his last eight fights. He is also coming into this fight like Green coming off a decision win.

Vannata has good pop in his shots and throws a very diverse striking attack at his opponents. That could be a key in a fight against a guy like Green who mainly uses his boxing. In their first fight, Vannata was able to hurt Green bad on the feet.

This is a fight that I keep going back and forth on. I’m not entirely sure which Bobby Green is going to show up on fight night. If this was prime Green, I’d lean that way. However, I think Vannata is going to be able to get it done.

In the end, I think the diverse striking attack and higher output numbers from Vannata will help him. This is truly a fight that I think will be razor close. Don’t be shocked to see the judges split here.

Prediction: Lando Vanatta by Split Decision

Trevin Giles vs Kevin Holland

The opening fight of the UFC Vegas 5 main card is a middleweight contest between two prospects in Trevin Giles (12-2) and Kevin Holland (17-5).

Giles came into the UFC with a lot of hype behind him. He got some pretty good wins over guys like Brendan Allen and Ryan Spann on the regional scene before he made the UFC jump.

After debuting with back-to-back knockout victories, Giles is just 1-2 in his last three fights. Many people (including myself) thought he lost the split decision to James Krause which is his only win.

Giles is pretty good everywhere offensively. He’s got good grappling offense and he’s got good power with solid striking. Giles does fade in the later rounds so it’ll be very important for him to get off to a good start.

Much like Giles, Kevin Holland had a good amount of hype behind him when he started with the promotion. He got a nightmare of a first draw in Thiago Santos which he lost by unanimous decision.

Since that loss, Holland is 4-1 and he just fought back in May stopping Anthony Hernandez in under 40 seconds.

Holland is extremely long holding an 81 inch reach. He’s extremely well rounded and has pretty good cardio. In addition to those qualities, Holland has a very good chin which he showed off in that Santos fight.

When thinking about this fight, I struggle to see a path to victory for Giles outside of a knockout. When you go down the list, Holland beats him in most categories.

I think Holland will use his reach well in this fight, and I think he will do solid in the grappling exchanges. I’m going with a decision, but Holland could get a third round finish in this one.

Prediction: Kevin Holland by Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 5 Outlook

This card is so entertaining from top to bottom. There are a ton of intriguing matchups, but all eyes are going to be on Edmen Shahbazyan. Can he break through and become the next big UFC superstar? That is a question that will be answered tomorrow night.