One of the most anticipated fights on UFC 262 was rescheduled for May 22nd and will now open up the main card of the fight night headlined by Cody Garbrandt and Rob Font. In a massive fight for the middleweight division, 185 pounds’ biggest prospect Edmen Shahbazyan will take on Sweden’s Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson. With both men coming off of losses, this fight will see which one turns their fortune around and ascends up the rankings towards the top five.
Since his UFC debut in November of 2018, Edmen Shahbazyan has emerged as one of the sport's most exciting prospects. Only 23 years of age, Shahbazyan had built a UFC run of four consecutive wins before running into Derek Brunson. Tasting defeat for the first time in his professional career, this fight will be massive for him as he jumps right back in there with another top middleweight. Shahbazyan’s strengths are clear when he’s operating in the striking ranges. His first round head kick KO of Brad Tavares was the moment that forced people to take notice and started the hype train that was slowed by Brunson. There is no denying that this fight is extremely dangerous for ‘The Golden Boy’. After he was outgrappled by Brunson, he now faces another of the division's top grapplers where a loss would see him winless in back to back fights after such an exciting start to his career.
Jack Hermansson is a real benchmark in this division. With two wins and two losses in his last fights, Hermansson has proved himself against some of the divisions very best whilst coming up short against others. His wins over Kelvin Gastelum and Jacare Souza showed the very best of ‘The Joker’, whilst his losses to Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori showed how you can halt his relentless fighting style. The key thing for Hermansson will be implementing that style from the very start, not giving Shahbazyan anytime or space when the fight is on the feet. If he is to keep his place in the division, regularly fighting other top middleweights, he has to beat this emerging contender.
With Hermansson’s grappling proficiency and Shahbazyan’s success when striking with his opponents, the gameplans for both seem set in stone. A loss here would set either man back significantly in their hopes to make the top five whilst the victor will leapfrog several positions in the rankings. It’s a massive fight for both and it goes down this saturday as the main card opener for UFC Vegas 27.