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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

UFC Fight Night Brunson vs. Shahbazyan Picks, Predictions, Odds

UFC Fight Night Betting Resources

  • Date: Saturday, August 1, 2020
  • TV-Time: ESPN/ESPN+, 6:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: UFC Apex Center
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Betting Odds: Money-Lines, Totals

UFC Fight Night
Brunson vs. Shahbazyan
Main Card Analysis

Following a four-show run on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to its home base in Las Vegas for Saturday’s 10-fight card, UFC APEX 5.

Two fights have fallen off the card, including the initial main event between former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm and Irene Aldana, who was forced out after testing positive for COVID-19 on July 22. Also, Markus Perez vs. Eric Spicely is off due to health-related issues during Spicely’s weight cut. The promotion had found Charles Ontiveros to replace Spicely on late notice, but the NSAC deemed him ineligible.

The show will be broadcast on ESPN+ only, with the Prelims starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern and the main card commencing at 9:00 ET.

The new headliner will be a three-round middleweight affair between eighth-ranked Derek Brunson and undefeated ninth-ranked Edmen Shahbazyan. As of early Friday afternoon, FanDuel had Shahbazyan (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) installed as a -310 favorite, with Brunson at +250 on the comeback (risk $100 to win $250). The total was 1.5 rounds (‘under’ -142, ‘over’ +112).

The 22-year-old Shahbazyan has blasted into the Top 10 of the 185-pound loop by winning five UFC fights in 24 months. He’s gunning for a sixth win Saturday in less than 25 months.

Shahbazyan has been working with Ronda Rousey’s former coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, at the Glendale Fighting Club since the age of 12. He has 10 first-round finishes in his 11 career fights, including seven in 72 seconds or less. Shahbazyan has nine career knockout victories.

Shahbazyan’s only scrap that has made it to Round 2 went the distance in his second UFC appearance. On Nov. 30 of 2018, he earned a split-decision win over Darren Stewart. Since then, Shahbazyan has dusted Charles Byrd and Brad Tavares with first-round KO wins and recorded his first submission victory over Jack Marshman with a rear-naked choke at UFC 239.

The 36-year-old Brunson (20-7 MMA, 11-5 UFC) is looking to win his third consecutive fight. He’s off decision wins over Elias Theodorou and Ian Heinisch.

Brunson is 4-4 in his last eight fights. Even though his last two contests have gone the distance, nine of his last 12 bouts have ended in the opening frame. Brunson’s best career wins have come Chris Leben, Uriah Hall, Lorenz Larkin, Sam Alvey, former light-heavyweight kingpin Lyota Machida and Ed Herman.

Brunson’s skill level is evident when examining the only fighters who have beaten him. That list includes Jacare Souza (twice), Yoel Romero, Robert Whittaker, Anderson Silva and Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya. Romero has fought for UFC gold twice, Souza has fought for a world title in two different promotions including Strikeforce, Adesanya is the current UFC middleweight king, Silva is the former midlleweight champ and Whittaker is another former middleweight champ.

UFC Fight Night
Brunson vs. Shahbazyan
Main Card Picks


Is this a sizable step up in competition for ‘The Golden Boy?’ It is. Nevertheless, Shahbazyan is more than ready. Therefore, we’re going to get aggressive here. Let’s go with one unit on ‘under’ 1.5 rounds at a -125 price from DraftKings (and William Hill). Also, let’s take the prop for Shahbazyan to win by KO/TKO for two units at a -140 price (FanDuel). Finally, let’s go with one unit on Shahbazyan to win in Round 1 for a +150 payout from William Hill. We’re also going to include Shahbazyan in a parlay, which we’ll get to shortly.

UFC Fight Night Bonus Picks

-- Let’s go with one unit on Ed ‘Short Fuse’ Herman to defeat Gerald Meerschaert as a +145 underdog at DraftKings . Although Herman is getting up there in age at 39, he’s won back-to-back fights. Meerschaert is stepping in on nine days’ notice and less than two months after taking a KO loss to Ian Heinisch at UFC 250 on June 6. Meerschaert is also fighting at 205 pounds for the first time since August 13 of 2016. He has competed at 185 pounds throughout his 11-fight UFC tenure.

-- Let’s go with a two-fight parlay for two units backing Shahbazyan (at -310 via FanDuel) and Vicente Luque (at -184 from FanDuel vs. Randy Brown). VI’s parlay calculator tells me that this wager will net a +104.14 return. Luque is 7-1 in his last eight fights and 11-2 in his last 13 scraps. His only defeats during that span have come in decision losses to Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson and Leon Edwards, who is on an eight-fight winning streak.

-- The middleweight contest between Trevin Giles and Kevin Holland should be action packed from start to finish. We’ll make two small plays at plus odds and earn a profit if we can get a split. Holland took this fight on nine days’ notice. He is 17-5 with eight wins by KO and six via submission. Giles is 12-2 with 10 finishes (five KOs and five subs). Let’s go with one-half unit on Giles as a +180 underdog (FanDuel) and one-half unit on ‘under’ 1.5 rounds for a +158 payout.

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