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UFC Vegas: Brunson vs Shahbazyan - Aug 1 🇺🇸


Who wins and how?   

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OK then, we’re leaving Fight Island. On Saturday 1st August we’re back at the APEX in Las Vegas.


Derek Brunson vs Edmen Shahbazyan 

Joanne Calderwood vs Jennifer Maia

Vicente Luque vs Randy Brown

Lando Vannata vs Bobby Green

Trevin Giles vs Kevin Holland

Frankie Saenz vs Jonathan Martinez 

Nathan Maness vs Johnny Munoz 

Jamall Emmers vs Vince Cachero 

Chris Gutiérrez vs Cody Durden 


Literally, while I was typing this post, I read that the original main event of Holly Holm vs Irene Aldana has been postponed. Not sure of the reasoning but, honestly, I don’t give a fuck. That didn’t do much for me as a main event anyway and now Brunson vs Shahbazyan has been bumped up to headline this fucker. Well happy with that. Half of this post was going to be about how that was the ‘real main event’ on this card so now I needn’t bother with that talk. Bout order will probably change yet. Got a feeling Spicely vs Perez won’t be the co-main on the night but we’ll see. You know how it’s been lately. These cards change daily.



Derek Brunson vs Edmen Shahbazyan then. Like I said, it wasn’t the original plan for this to top the card. This was supposed to be the co-main. I like this though. They’ve actually been trying to make this one happen for months now. Think it was originally going to be on the UFC 248 card in March. Then it got moved to the Fight Night that was planned for Portland in April. Then that whole show got binned. And here we are with the third attempt. Really hope it happens this time because it’s such an interesting fight and a step up for Shahbazyan that should give us more of an idea on his potential going forward. Especially if it’s a 5 rounder now, which I assume it will be. Shahbazyan, for me, is one of the brightest prospects in all of MMA right now. I first heard of him just because he was managed by Ronda Rousey and was kind of her protégé. But that’s been mostly forgotten now because he’s quickly making a reputation for himself in his own right. He’s only 22 years old and already he’s 11-0 with 10 first round finishes, 5 of them in less than a minute! He doesn’t look like much but rest assured he’s a fucking animal.


There he is wiping out Brad Tavares with a huge headkick in his last fight. Bear in mind that Tavares had just gone 5 rounds with Israel Adesanya in his fight prior to this, and also took Yoel Romero to the judges before. So seeing this 21 year old kid just waste him in a round was quite the statement. Brunson should be able to test him though. He’s 20-7 with wins over the likes of Lyoto Machida, Uriah Hall and Lorenz Larkin. He’s a handful on a good night. Evidently, Shahbazyan is a fast starter. But if Brunson can weather that initial storm, he could be a problem. The one fight where Shahbazyan didn’t look like Superman was his UFC debut against Darren Stewart back in 2018. That went to a split decision and I recall Edmen gassing as the fight wore on. Could’ve just been down to inexperience and him being so young and/or getting too excited in his Octagon debut. The old adrenaline dump. Or maybe his cardio will always be his Achilles heel. I’m hoping Brunson can drag him into at least the second or third round so we can see if he’s improved at all there. On the other hand, if Shahbazyan wrecks Brunson in a round like he has almost everyone else then it’ll be quite a statement and we’ll probably see him getting fast tracked into contention sooner rather than later. Especially given the Rousey connection and Dana’s boner for her. Really looking forward to this one though. Even more now it’s probably 5 rounds.

Edit - OK just read that it’s going to be 3 rounds.



Joanne Calderwood vs Jennifer Maia is a late switch up. Was meant to be Maia vs Viviane Araújo but Araújo got the COVID. In steps Dr Kneevil. Love that nickname. Well, Calderwood in general. Maybe the most likeable fighter on the women’s side of MMA. She was actually being lined up for a title shot against Valentina Shevchenko earlier this year but with all the uncertainty and upheaval and not much talk of when Shev will next fight, Calderwood jumped in on this. She’s saying she didn’t want to sit out any longer which is understandable. Everyone’s got bills to pay. And besides, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to be sitting out now and then facing Shevchenko after a spell of inactivity. Not that it matters, she’s getting battered by Shev either way. Maia fights out of the Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil. Original home of Wanderlei, Shogun, Anderson etc. And now...Jennifer Maia. Yay! Honestly, she’s 17-6-1 and has fought 4 times in the UFC now and I can’t recall a single second of any of it. She does have wins over Roxanne Modafferi (twice) and Alexis Davis but, yeah, no recollection at all. I would expect Calderwood to win this but you just never know with her. She’s not the most consistent and sometimes it’s like she just sleepwalks through fights. The endgame is pain anyway. All roads lead to Shevchenko. And I think that’s a dead end until Shev declines and/or a new beast emerges.



Vicente Luque vs Randy Brown is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Mostly just because I love watching Luque fight. He’s 28 years old with a record of 18-7-1 and he’s got to be one of the most consistently entertaining fighters bell-to-bell on the entire roster. If you never saw his incredible slobberknocker with Bryan Barberena in 2019, fix that immediately. You won’t regret it. He’s also got wins over Mike Perry, Belal Muhammad and two stoppages over Niko Price. The last fight with Niko at 249 in April was quality. He even TKO’d Thiago Santos back in 2012 at Middleweight. He’s ace. His only losses over the last few years have been decisions against Wonderboy and Leon Edwards. He’s not tippy-top level but he’s always good for a banger. I’m not quite as jazzed about Randy Brown but he’s still been very impressive at times in his career. He’s 12-3 now. First got on the radar for handing Mickey Gall his first loss and derailing that hype train. But he’s stopped Bryan Barberena and Warlley Alves in his last couple of fights too. The Alves performance in November was probably the best he’s looked so far and it feels like he’s really putting it all together now. Really like this matchup.



Lando Vannata vs Bobby Green 2 just got chucked on here. Pretty chuffed with this. Their first fight back in October 2017 was fantastic. Easily the most I’ve ever enjoyed a Green fight. He’s not a bad fighter at all but I usually find him really frustrating and annoying to watch. Awkward style and seems to spend big spells of fights just doing the bare minimum. That first Lando fight was really good though. They went to a draw, can’t remember how I scored it at the time, I just know I loved the fight. Since then they’ve both been typically inconsistent. Lando’s gone 2-1-1. Another draw in there with Frevola. And Green’s gone 2-2. Looking forward to this rematch, although I don’t expect it to be as good as the first one. 



Trevin Giles vs Kevin Holland is another change up. Giles was set to face Jun Yong Park but again, COVID has him stuck in Korea. This is another decent save though. Giles came into the UFC looking really promising. He was already 9-0 with 8 finishes and holds wins over Ryan Spann and Brendan Allen, who have both gone on to do pretty well for themselves in the UFC since. He made his Octagon debut in 2017 and knocked out his first couple of opponents in impressive fashion. But then he hit a roadblock last year and got submitted in back-to-back fights by Zak Cummings and Gerald Meerschaert. Both have that same type of grinding, grappling, submission style so it seems like that’s the weak area for Giles. He did come back with a points win over James Krause in February though so he’s back on the right track. Holland is 17-5 and coming in off a nice 39 second stoppage over Anthony Hernandez in May. He’s won 4 of his last 5. Came in with a bit of hype off Dana’s Contender Series a couple of years ago and he’s passed through Bellator, Legacy FC, KOTC and that lot. I prefer this to the original Park fight, to be honest.



Frankie Saenz vs Jonathan Martinez is just kind of there. Is it just me who thinks Saenz looks like the lovechild of Carlos Condit and Jamie Varner? There’s an image for you. Anyway...Martinez is 11-3 and coming off a split decision loss to Andre Ewell. He did land a stunning knee KO on Liu Pingyuan in his fight before that though. Not much else of note to say about him. Saenz is a NCAA Div I wrestler with a MMA record of 13-6. He’s a guy who actually got a little bit of buzz a few years ago when he unexpectedly gave Urijah Faber a scare in their 2015 fight. Seem to recall he took that on short notice as well but I’m hazy on it. It fizzled after that though and he’s lost more than he’s won since then. He’s about to turn 40 in August so probably not long left in the game.



Ed Herman vs Gerald Meerschaert could be OK. Was supposed to be Herman vs Da Un Jung but the Korean fighters on this card have had to be pulled out because of travel restrictions due to COVID. This is a pretty good backup really. Kind of similar styles. Meerschaert is a BJJ black-belt, 31-13 in MMA. He’s had a patchy UFC run but I’ve quite enjoyed his scrappy grappler style. Good finisher too. His last 13 wins have come inside the distance. Subbed Deron Winn and Trevin Giles in his last 2 victories but got stopped by Ian Heinisch in about a minute in June. So this is a good opportunity to get back in the win column. Herman has been around FOREVER. This guy was on the same season of TUF as Bisping, for fuck’s sake. That was 2006. He’s got to be one of the longest serving fighters on the roster now. A real veteran with 40 fights and a BJJ black-belt to show for it. He’s had a bunch of losses and slumps over the years but he’s not doing too badly at the moment. He’s won his last 2. Tough as old boots but he turns 40 this year and unless something mad happens, he’s been stuck in the same spot for 14 years now and I can’t see that late career surge coming.



Ray Borg vs Nathan Maness. Borg’s back. Hopefully he actually gets to fight this time. It’s been one thing after another with him over the years. From his son’s health scares to the McGregor bus incident. He was supposed to be on the Eye vs Calvillo card in June but pulled out late in the day due to personal reasons. And, predictably, he was roundly shat on by arsehole fans because he didn’t ‘suck it up and fight bro’. Or something. Balls to that. When he gets to fight he’s usually decent to watch. Although he’ll always be remembered most as the guy Mighty Mouse German suplexed into an armbar in one of the most ridiculous highlight reel finishing sequences of all time. Maness is an Octagon newbie. 11-1 with 6 finishes. That’s all I’ve got.



Eric Spicely vs Markus Perez. An OK fight, this. Possibly a bit of a sleeper. Neither guy is ever getting in title contention but they’re solid fighters and the types the real contenders all have to get through on the way up. Spicely is 12-5 and a BJJ black-belt. He’s had a couple of UFC stints now and they’ve been spent mostly in the loss column. But he’s a tough guy and he always goes for the finish. He did actually score a submission win against Thiago Santos back in 2016 but it’s been a rough ride ever since. He dropped a decision to Deron Winn in his last fight a year ago but, even then, it was a hell of a scrap and got FOTN. I quite like Spicely. Perez is a BJJ brown-belt but he’s a bit of a wild man. Likes to mix it up anywhere the fight goes and I remember him being a bit of an unorthodox striker and good with using that to dive on chokes and stuff. Basically a little bit of a pound shop Tony Ferguson. Probably be a very enjoyable fight this.



Jamall Emmers vs Timur Valiev is definitely one to keep an eye on. Valiev is making his UFC debut. Another one of those Dagestani fighters who trains in New Jersey along with Zabit, Frankie Edgar and that lot. Caught this on Zabit’s Instagram which made me laugh...



The Wet Bandits! 

I’ve seen bits and pieces of Valiev pop up for a while now but can’t say I’m massively familiar with him. The consensus opinion seems to be that this signing is long overdue though. He’s 14-2 and since 2014 has been fighting for WSOF now PFL. He’s never been stopped and his losses, one was his first pro fight and the other was a split decision against Chris Gutiérrez who’s also on this card. Never seen the fight but I’ve read it was controversial. To the point WSOF president Ray Sefo ordered an immediate rematch, which Valiev won. So they’re 1-1. If they both win their fights on this card, I guess they might as well do the rubber match next. Emmers is 17-5 and lost his UFC debut against Giga Chikadze in March. Can’t recall seeing that. A quick glance at his record shows a win over Cory Sandhagen though so he’s no pushover. I’m intrigued by this one.



Chris Gutiérrez vs Luke Sanders could be a fun little Bantamweight battle. Wasn’t too familiar with Gutiérrez at all until his fight in May on the Woodley vs Burns undercard. He took Vince Morales out with leg kicks. Was nasty. He’s 15-4-1 overall. Hasn’t had any real standout wins but he’s knocked about and fought pretty much everywhere from Bellator to WSOF to LFA. Sanders I only really recall because he used to be with WWE’s Becky Lynch. And the silly topknot, of course. He’s had an up and down career. Totally forgot he submitted Maximo Blanco in his UFC debut a few years back. That was quite a shock at the time. He’s 13-3 now and knocked out Renan Barao in his last fight in February 2019. Again, completely forgot that. Just shows how far Barao has plummeted that his losses don’t even really register anymore.


It’ll do. Not my favourite Fight Night in recent months but it’s got enough about it to sink your teeth into. 


Edited by wandshogun09
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Like I said, it’s almost definitely going to be shuffled up over the coming days. I’m just going off the MMA Junkie order. Holm vs Aldana was only officially taken off the card today so I doubt this is the final bout order. 

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No sooner did I create this thread it started falling apart at the seams. Jun Yong Park and Da Un Jung are both off the card because they can’t get out of Korea. Gerald Meerschaert and Kevin Holland have stepped in. And apparently Luke Sanders is out of the fight with Chris Gutiérrez.

On the plus side, Lando Vannata vs Bobby Green 2 got added today. If you’ve never seen the first fight I’d highly recommend it.

Edit - there was some talk of Leon Shahbazyan (Edmen’s big brother) jumping in against Giles before Holland got the fight so looks like he’s on the way into the UFC now. 24 years old, 7-2 with 7 finishes. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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I like these additions a lot.

I have a soft spot for Ed Herman as TUF 3 is the reason I got into UFC in a big way so to see him still around is awesome. I also enjoy seeing Meerschaert fight. I like this fight a lot. 

Also love the addition of Vannata vs Green. Ever since Bobby's last fight where he cut that promo with his dad (the man who raised him), I decided from then on out, I will never cheer against Green again.



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I'm really looking forward to this card because I have a major kinger for Shahbazyan's style and for Jojo, in general.

I also love Meerschaert. He always looks so sad, like he's just watched the ending of Terminator 2 or Turner and Hooch, and every time I see him I just want to give him a big hug and say "You're doing great. Just great, Ger. In general, like."

Edited by Scott Malbranque
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25 minutes ago, Scott Malbranque said:

I also love Meerschaert. He always looks so sad, like he's just watched the ending of Terminator 2 or Turner and Hooch, and every time I see him I just want to give him a big hug and say "You're doing great. Just great, Ger. In general, like."

You’ve nailed Meerschaert. I don’t mean literally. Well, maybe you have for all I know. But you’ve captured the essence of why I like the sad sack looking sod. He reminds me of an old bloodhound. Lovely, but he’s seen shit and he’s had a lifetime of nephews, nieces and grandkids running him ragged.

Good old Gerald. 


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44 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Lovely, but he’s seen shit and he’s had a lifetime of nephews, nieces and grandkids running him ragged.

Good old Gerald. 

That's bang on, Magic. 

Judging by this Tweet, a girl actually did call that fresh faced, cheeky divvil

.. and after a few years of relationship bliss...this happened:






Edited by Scott Malbranque
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It occurs to me that I would give a lot to see our @Scott Malbranque at the commentators' bench, if he talks anything like he posts. Our very own Branq Shamrock, on there with DC, calling him "Washington" and having a stonk-on for all the drama that goes down in the Potsagon.

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5 hours ago, Carbomb said:

It occurs to me that I would give a lot to see our @Scott Malbranque at the commentators' bench, if he talks anything like he posts. Our very own Branq Shamrock, on there with DC, calling him "Washington" and having a stonk-on for all the drama that goes down in the Potsagon.

I'd have gone with Batman or Flash for DC meself there, Gerry.
And with my gutter Dublin accent, I'd most likely need elocution lessons should I even attempt such a task.

Also, I know the way the world is nowadays and what we can and can't say or think, but there will always be that side of me that would not be able to concentrate or speak in anything other than vowels when the likes of Barber, Shevchenko, Ribas or Dumont's bums are in positions during the fight that would have me thinking about other things but the fight.
By jays, Godfrey Jones would have me ruined via the Rock Bottom medium.

I could well do a bang up job on something along the lines of Cage Clatter though.

My fault for dragging this well off topic. Hold me hands up but had to reply before I left work as I'm away for a week, and didn't want to seem rude.

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