Edmen Shahbazyan-Derek Brunson Tilt Moved From UFC 248 to UFC Portland

By Jay Pettry Feb 20, 2020

UFC 248 in March has taken yet another hit, this time in the form of a top-10 ranked middleweight battle.

Editor's Note: The article has been updated at 6:05 p.m. ET to reflect additional information regarding the new location of the bout.

On Thursday, ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) posted on Twitter, writing that his UFC 248 bout with Derek Brunson (20-7) has been moved to an April event. No specific reason has been given to explain the change, and Shahbazyan explained that it had to do with Brunson but that it was not his place to discuss matters publicly. He will still be facing Brunson at an upcoming event, and according to MMA DNA and later confirmed by ESPN, it will serve as the co-main event of UFC Portland on April 11.

In his post, Shahbazyan wrote, “Fight got moved to April. Was excited to be on the big #UFC248 card but it’s all good. I’ll light up the show on the other card. I’m in killer shape now, I can’t imagine what kind of crazy shape I’ll be by April!! I’m ready anytime, anywhere! The young killer is coming!!!” In his follow-up answer about the reason, he wrote “Something with opponent. I don’t wanna say exact reason just so it won’t be out publicly yet until they wanna say it but it’s something with his side. But still same opponent.”

The unbeaten Glendale Fighting Club prospect has finished 10 of his 11 opponents before the final bell, including his last three under the UFC banner. He made his organizational debut at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale in November 2018, and went the distance for the first time in his career against Darren Stewart. Emerging victorious by split scorecards, he went on to finish Charles Byrd, Jack Marshman and Brad Tavares in a combined 4:17 in 2019.

Brunson rebounded from two first-round knockout losses to Ronaldo Souza and Israel Adesanya in 2018 with a pair of decision wins over Elias Theodorou and Ian Heinisch in 2019. In each of his last eight bouts, Brunson has alternated two victories with two defeats. Throughout his 27-fight career, all of his bouts, win or lose, have ended in the first round or the third round.

UFC 248 will proceed with its two-title headlining bouts of Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero for the middleweight strap, and Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the strawweight throne. Elsewhere on the main card, Neil Magny takes on Jingliang Li in the welterweight division, while Jose Alberto Quinonez vs. Sean O'Malley kicks off the main card at bantamweight. No bout has yet been announced as its main card replacement.
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