Former women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm was expected to headline the UFC's return to Las Vegas after a three-week trip to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi against Irene Aldana. However, Aldana was forced from the bout after testing positive for COVID-19. Now, the focus has shifted from a former champion to a potential future one as Edmen Shahbazyan steps into the main event to face longtime contender Derek Brunson in a middleweight showdown.
Shahbazyan holds a perfect professional record of 11-0, including a 4-0 record in the UFC Octagon. In his 11 victories, Shahbazyan has only been to the judges' scorecards once, winning nine fights by knockout with an additional submission victory. At just 22 years old, Shahbazyan has big "future champion" potential.
Brunson is an ideal gatekeeper, having fought 16 times in the Octagon while only losing fights to elite-level fighters. Brunson is riding a two-fight winning streak and has won four of his six previous bouts.
In the co-main event, Joanne Calderwood is making a bit of a surprise appearance when she takes on Jennifer Maia in a women's flyweight contest. Calderwood was lined up to take on champion Valentina Shevchenko in June before the champion suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw. Without a solid timeline as to when that bout would take place, Calderwood took a stay-busy fight of sorts and risks losing her spot against the dangerous Maia.
Read on for the full fight card and viewing information, including odds from William Hill Sportsbook.
UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan fight card, odds
- Edmen Shahbazyan -330 vs. Derek Brunson +260, middleweights
- Joanne Calderwood -155 vs. Jennifer Maia +130, women's flyweights
- Vicente Luque -195 vs. Randy Brown +165, welterweights
- Lando Vannata -155 vs. Bobby Green +130, lightweights
- Kevin Holland -220 vs. Trevin Giles +180, middleweights
- Jonathan Martinez -260 vs. Frankie Saenz +210, bantamweights
- Gerald Meerschaert -170 vs. Ed Herman +145, light heavyweights
- Ray Borg -260 vs. Nathan Maness +210, bantamweights
- Markus Perez -210 vs. Eric Spicely +175, middleweights
- Timur Valiev -165 vs. Jamall Emmers +140, featherweights
- Chris Gutiérrez -340 vs. Cody Durden +270, bantamweights
UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan info
- Date: Aug. 1
- Location: UFC APEX facility
- Start time: 9 p.m. ET (Main card)
- How to watch: ESPN+
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