The first time Shane Burgos fought at Madison Square Garden at UFC 230 approximately one year ago, he didn’t get to enjoy the full experience as much as he would have liked.
This past Saturday, however, the Team Tiger Schulmann product took the time to savor the moment. The venerable arena has been good on both occasions to Burgos, who improved to 2-0 at MSG with a third-round TKO of Makwan Amirkhani at UFC 244. In his first appearance, the 28-year-old tapped Kurt Holobaugh with an armbar at the 2:11 mark of the opening round last November.
“The first time I competed in MSG, it was quick, like two minutes or something, so I didn’t have a chance to embrace it,” Burgos said. “This time, I soaked it in; walking out, being in there, walking back, I soaked it all in. It was awesome, it means a lot to me, you heard how loud the place was, I have so many friends and family here and my team, I knew the crowd would be electrifying.”
The Woodbury, N.Y., native has been victorious in six of his first seven Octagon appearances thus far. After besting Cub Swanson in his previous outing, Burgos admittedly had been hoping for an opponent with a higher profile. That might have contributed to a slow start, as Amirkhani busted Burgos open with a punch during an initial exchange and then controlled much of the opening frame with his wrestling and submission game. From there, Burgos picked up the pace, as he battered “Mr. Finland” with punches — including a number of wicked body shots — to earn a stoppage 4:32 into Round 3.
“I tried not to think too much about him being a step down in competition after Cub,” Burgos said. “It was a little harder to stay focused, and I was the biggest favorite on the card. It puts more pressure on me because I’m supposed to win, so I wanted to go out there and not just win, but finish him. It’s exactly what I needed and wanted to do. My pace and my power made the difference, he felt those body shots. I expected him to stand a little longer, he shot right off the bat and it caught me a little off guard, but it went well, I’m happy with it.”
As a result of his latest triumph, Burgos has elevated expectations for his next promotional appearance. Of course, there’s also the matter of coming to terms with the UFC on a new contract before anything can happen.
“A ranked opponent would only make sense for me now, but whatever the UFC wants,” he said. “That was the last fight on my contract, so hopefully I made a statement. I want a big deal next.”