The latest in a string of finishes on the UFC 282 preliminary card saw the successful return of Edmen Shahbazyan, against middleweight Dalcha Lungiambula.
Once a promising young star with an undefeated record, Shahbazyan’s stock has fallen a bit after losing three fights in a row and showing a major weakness in his cardio. His opponent at UFC 282, Lungiambula, represented a step down in competition from ranked middleweights Derek Brunson, Jack Hermansson, and Nassourdine Imavov, but the fighter from the Congo was still a challenge as a former light heavyweight with massive power.
The fight started with a feeling out process but Shahbazyan was looking sharp with his straight punches after a thirteen month layoff since his last fight. He was also not overexerting himself, perhaps looking to preserve his cardio if the fight went late. Meanwhile, Lungiambula was swinging wild hooks that mostly missed the target, but then he began to target the body of Edmen with round kicks due to the open stance matchup since he was southpaw and Edmen was orthodox. Dalcha surprisingly level-changed with two minutes left in the round but Shahbazyan was able to defend the takedown. With only thirteen seconds left in the round Lungiambula landed a big overhand that seemed to rock Shahbazyan, but he recovered and the round ended.
The second round saw Dalcha begin to have more success and land more strikes than the first round. Edmen seemed to be slowing down a bit but was still sharper and landing more often. Two minutes into the round Edmen ducked into a high kick from Lungiambula that seemed potentially fight ending but Shahbazyan ate it with just a slight wobble. The pace was slower after that, with Edmen dancing on the outside for long periods and stuffing another takedown from his foe. With one minute left in the round Shahbazyan suddenly landed a massive flying knee that dropped his opponent.
Dalcha went into survival mode and did everything possible to survive as Edmen swarmed him on the ground, but when Dalcha turned his back to turtle up the referee had to step in and stop it. Edmen Shahbazyan had snapped his three fight winning streak with a return to form, as most of his career wins have been knockouts.
Official Result: Edmen Shahbazyan def. Dalcha Lungiambula by TKO (strikes), Round 2, 4:41