Dana White: Don’t give up on Edmen Shahbazyan after one loss

LAS VEGAS – Edmen Shahbazyan came up short at UFC on ESPN+ 31.

On Saturday, in his first UFC main event, Shahbazyan (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) was defeated by Derek Brunson via third-round TKO. Shahbazyan was a heavy favorite entering the middleweight bout – a -366 on average across all major sports books (per Best Fight Odds).

Despite suffering the first loss of his career, Shahbazyan still showed signs of promise, according to his boss, UFC president Dana White.

After all, the Glendale Fighting Club standout is still just 22 years old, and was facing a solid step up in competition in the veteran Brunson.

At the UFC on ESPN+ 31 post-fight news conference, White reaffirmed his faith in Shahbazyan’s future. He pointed to Shahbazyan’s cardio as his biggest issue, as this marked just the second time he went past the first round in his pro career.

White also praised the efforts of the bout’s victor, Brunson (21-6 MMA, 12-4 UFC), in making veteran adjustments and earning the victory after a back-and-forth opening round.

So don’t write off Shahbazyan’s prospects, White concluded.

“Yeah, I think the kid is good,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie. “I’m not taking anything away from Brunson, but he looked gassed out in the second round. But you’ve got to credit Brunson for that, too. I think that Brunson mixed up his striking and his wrestling tonight like he used to. He also came in in great shape. He definitely came in better shape than Shahbazyan.”

Shahbazyan, 22, won his first four UFC bouts entering Saturday. Prior to UFC on ESPN+ 31, Shahbazyan had not lost in his professional career, which dates back to February 2017.

UFC on ESPN+ 31 took place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event streamed on ESPN+.

Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/08/dana-white-edmen-shahbazyan-ufc-on-espn-31-dont-give-up/

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