The UFC returned to its natural home in Las Vegas this weekend but there was no shortage of drama as a positive coronavirus test, a last-minute fighter withdrawal and a dubious decision from the cageside doctor left Dana White raging.
UFC Vegas 5 saw Derek Brunson earn a third-round technical knockout victory over Edmen Shahbazyen, but fans and pundits were left questioning whether the bout should have been called to an end sooner.
Brunson had punished Shahbazyen badly with some heavy ground and pound towards the end of the second round, leaving the Armenian in seriously bad shape as the bell sounded.
The cageside doctor was on hand to assess the fighter, and deemed he was able to continue into the third. Just 26 seconds into the round, Brunson knocked out his rival in devastating fashion.
And UFC president Dana White was left baffled by the decision of the doctor to allow the fight to continue.
‘Shahbazyan looked like he was out at the end of that round,’ White said irst of all, the doctor’s obviously inexperienced. I don’t know anything about the doctor, but I’ve never seen him before.’
The Shahbazyan decision was the crescendo of what was an eventful evening in Vegas. Two fights were scrapped from the event – one due to a late positive coronavirus test and another after a fighter passed out just seconds before he was scheduled to walk out to the octagon.
It was announced just minutes before the main card got underway that Trevin Giles had fainted behind the scenes, forcing the Nevada State Athletic Commission to abandon his opening bout against Kevin Holland. Giles was later reported to be in good health.
It came just hours after the fight between Ed Herman and Gerald Meerschaert was cancelled after the latter delivered a last-minute positive test result for Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas-based Briton Joanne Calderwood had to be taken to hospital after fainting backstage while being checked out following a submission loss to Jennifer Maia in the co-main event.
In the main card’s remaining two fights, Bobby Green outlasted Lando Vannata to claim a decision victory while Vicente Luque defeated Randy Brown via second-round TKO.