WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Derek Brunson beat Edmen Shahbazyan with a TKO 26 seconds into the third round in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday.
Brunson (21-7) extended his win streak to three fights while handing Shahbazyan (11-1) his first career loss
The Wilmington native nearly finished Shahbazyan at the end of the second round by did so early in the third.
“So many people were betting against me and had negative things to say. [But] I had so much support -- way more than the negative,” Brunson said in a post-fight interview. “... Ever since I’ve gone down there, [Hooft has] believed in me. He’s always said, ‘You’re not a gatekeeper. Show these guys you’ve got it. You want a title? Let’s go.’ I’m ecstatic right now.”
Brunson and Shahbazyan each landed hard shots in the first but Brunson was able to take down Shahbazyan in the round.
In the second, Brunson took over, wearing out Shahbazyan, who had never gone past the first round in the UFC.
Brunson controlled the final second of the second round landing numerous hard shots before the end of the round.
“I cracked him with a big elbow [at the end of the second round] and heard Coach Hooft saying, ‘Two more elbows,’” Brunson said. “I cracked him with another and thought the referee was going to stop it right there. He didn’t. I got my composure back and listened to my corner.”