The UFC Vegas 5 marked the return of the UFC to Las Vegas following a one month run at Fight Island.
The main event was headlined by Top 10 middleweights Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan. Towards the end of the second round, a brutal elbow from Brunson left the 22-year-old prospect hurt and in serious trouble. He elbow may have possibly left Edmen unconscious for a brief moment.
While it appeared as the referee was going to stop the fight and declare Brunson the winner, Shahbazyan was allowed to continue. A cage-side physician came into the octagon to check out Shahbazyan before finally giving the go-ahead to continue fighting.
UFC President Dana White felt the fight was done at the end of round two and the fight should have been stopped.
“Shahbazyan looked like he was out at the end of that round,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “Think that the doctor could have stopped it.”
White’s biggest issue with his stoppage came from the doctor taking way too long to make that decision.
“First of all, the doctor’s obviously inexperienced; I don’t know anything about the doctor, but I haven’t seen him before,” White said. “You’ve got Brunson, who ends that round strong, [and] many could argue that fight could have been stopped right there at the end of the round. I’m sure ref thought the guy would have time to go back [and recover].
“What you don’t do is talk to the guy for f**king 10 minutes while he’s hurt. Either stop the fight or let him continue but go. You’re letting the kid recover while you’ve got Brunson, who just did that work, and he’s waiting for the bell to ring so that he can go in and finish the fight. Pull the trigger one way or the other. Stop the fight or don’t.”
Brunson then went out and took Shahbazyan out just 26 seconds later via TKO derailing the hype train.
Brunson didn’t have much of a problem with the stoppage.
“It’s funny, I’m hearing the media lately just saying, ‘Oh they should have stopped the fight,’ but there would be no such thing as a comeback if they would just stop every fight,” Brunson said. “He looked a little defeated in the corner, for sure. He hasn’t been pushed or tested, but take nothing away from the kid. He looked great in his other fights.
“He just had a guy who had a lot of fights. I had enough of coming out, putting up bad fights and just stinkers. So I was really locked in for this fight and made sure I’m out there executing.”
Whether the fight should have been stopped at the end of round 2 or 3, the outcome remained the same as Brunson got the win over the rising star and positioned himself in line to fight a Top 5 opponent next.