Derek Brunson will be the highest-ranked opponent to date for the undefeated Edmen Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan last competed two months ago at UFC 244, defeating Brad Tavares via first-round KO (head kick). Shahbazyan competed three times in 2019, and all three victories came via first-round stoppage. Shahbazyan’s record is currently a spotless 11-0, and the 22-year old could potentially find himself sneaking up on Jon Jones’s record as the youngest UFC champion of all time. With Shahbazyan’s UFC 248 bout occurring in the first quarter of 2020 against a top 10 middleweight, he has a realistic opportunity to make history by the end of the year or early 2021.
Derek Brunson has no interest in being on the wrong side of Shahbazyan’s history but rather seeks to continue tracking his own pursuits towards UFC gold. Brunson has revamped his fighting style recently by adopting a more composed, patient, and methodical approach since May of 2019, which saw him outpoint notorious point fighter Elias Theodorou and then also decision middleweight prospect Ian Heinisch, who, not unlike Shahbazyan, entered the bout against Brunson with a lot of hype behind him. A victory over Shahbazyan would make three straight for Brunson and potentially earn him a fight against someone ranked above him for the fist time in over two years.
With the addition of this middleweight bout, the current UFC 248 lineup is as follows:
UFC Middleweight Championship Bout Israel Adesanya © vs. Yoel Romero
UFC Strawweight Championship Bout: Weili Zhang © vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
Li Jingliang vs. Neil Magny
Beneil Dariush vs. Drakkar Klose
Sean O’Malley vs. Jose Quinonez
Polyana Viana vs. Emily Whitmire
Danaa Batgerel vs. Guido Cannetti
Mark Madsen vs. Austin Hubbard
Max Griffin vs. Alex Oliveira
Saparbek Safarov vs. Rodolfo Vieira
Who do you predict will win this middleweight bout between Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 248?