Last night UFC Vegas 5 rolled on inside the UFC APEX, despite a number of fight alterations and cancellations. One fight that went ahead as scheduled was the headliner between Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbayzan.
In that fight, it was the more experienced Brunson who came out on top. He battered the 22-year-old prospect throughout the fight. Towards the end of the second round Shahbayzan appeared to be rendered unconscious by a Brunson elbow.
Many onlookers were shocked to see referee Herb Dean not call an end to the fight then and there. Instead, the ringside physician was called in to assess Shahbayzan. The doctor attended to Shahbayzan, but then decided the fight could continue. The third round then began and Shahbayzan was swiftly TKO’d by Brunson.
In his post-fight press conference Dana White shared his dismay at the ringside physician’s decision-making during the fight. “Shahbazyan looked like he was out at the end of that round. Think that the doctor could have stopped it.” (h/t MMA Fighting)
In his critique, White also cast doubts over the doctor’s suitability for last night’s event at the UFC’s own APEX facility.
“First of all, the doctor’s obviously inexperienced; I don’t know anything about the doctor, but I haven’t seen him before. You’ve got Brunson, who ends that round strong, [and] many could argue that fight could have been stopped right there at the end of the round. I’m sure ref thought the guy would have time to go back [and recover].”
“What you don’t do is talk to the guy for f**king 10 minutes while he’s hurt,” continued White. “Either stop the fight, or let him continue but go. You’re letting the kid recover while you’ve got Brunson, who just did that work, and he’s waiting for the bell to ring so that he can go in and finish the fight. Pull the trigger one way or the other. Stop the fight or don’t.”
Last night’s loss was the first in Shahbayzan’s 12 fight career. He came into the Brunson fight riding a three-fight stoppage streak with wins over Brad Tavares (KO), Jack Marshman (submission) and Charles Byrd (TKO).
The win gave Brunson a three-fight win streak of his own. He beat Ian Heinisch and Elias Theodorou, by decision, in 2019. His last loss was against current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at 2018’s UFC 230.