Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Fortunes change quickly inside the Octagon. Shahbazyan entered 2020 undefeated at 11-0 while riding a four-fight UFC win streak and having recently broken into the rankings. Just 22 years of age, Shahbazyan was seen as one of the best young prospects in the sport thanks to his terrific finish wins over opponents like Brad Tavares.
In his corner — figuratively and literally — were Ronda Rousey and Edmon Tarverdyan. Shahbazyan’s first exposure to UFC audiences was as a teenager, working with Rousey on UFC “Embedded” videos. Tarverdyan began training him as a youth, and after Rousey’s career ended poorly, Shahbazyan became his next star.
Unfortunately, things fell apart for “Golden Boy.” He’s since lost three in a row, suffering consecutive knockout losses in his last two bouts. Those losses came to tough opposition, but nevertheless, Shahbazyan decided it was time to change camps and seek out different training opportunities.
“Going off my past two fights, I feel a change was definitely needed and it was long overdue,” Shahbazyan said (via MMAFighting). “I looked at my options to see where I can be that I feel I can unleash my full potential and I believe Vegas had the best thing. I’m away from distractions. I can concentrate on training. Of course, you have the Strip here if you’re going to get wild but if you stay out of the Strip, for a fighter you can train here, go home and rest, come back to train, go home, rest. It’s a fighter’s life here.
“Of course the gyms, the high level partners to work with. There’s a lot of good guys out here and constantly coming in because of having fights. It’s great. I look at my last few fights and a change was needed so this was the best choice.”
In addition to leaving for Las Vegas, Shahbazyan replaced Rousey as his manager, signing with Ali Abdelaziz. It’s a complete split from his original team, but Shahbazyan made it clear that the separation is not on bad terms.
“I needed to change,” Shahbazyan said. “It was time. It was definitely time for me. It could have been done sooner but now I’m just happy to be here and get the new work in. I have not talked [to them] since I left. From my end, I have a good relationship [with them]. I don’t have any problem. All respect cause I respect what they’ve done for me but on my end, I’m good.”
“I haven’t talked to [Ronda] in say a few months. I don’t have anything against her, respect from my end. As far as my end, I don’t have no ill will.”
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Slips, rips, and KO clips
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Semmy Schilt putting dudes down left and right with his lead hand:
Imagine getting permanent brain damage from a slap. Rough!
Another day closer to the robot take over.
Midnight Music: Jangle pop, 1988
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.