Edmen Shahbazyan and Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez fight for a potential spot in the top 15 this Saturday. The young contenders could have the makings of a future title contender and the UFC lines expect it to be the latter. Hernandez has won three straight fights and is expected to dust Shahbazyan. But the 25-year-old remains a growing fighter and could just turn the tables on the favorite.
Shahbazyan Dangerous Underdog
Shahbazyan was, at one point, the hottest prospect in the 185-pound division. At just 22 years old, he won his first four UFC fights, with three coming via quick finishes. He looked like a world-beater… then he got exposed by Derek Brunson. The wily veteran wrestled him down and finished him.
Since then, Shahbazyan’s won just one fight. His losses may have come against ranked fighters, but until he can solidify his grappling skills, he seems like easy prey for any prolific grappler. Still, Shahbazyan is young and explosive and can finish his opponents early. Betting online on him to finish in round 1 could be the best UFC bet.
— UFC (@ufc) May 15, 2023
But if he doesn’t, Shahbazyan will likely tire out and get beaten in the later rounds. The UFC thinks highly of him, and that’s why they are matching him against an opponent that will challenge his weakness. Fortunately for Shahbazyan, Hernandez is not bulletproof. So he has a chance.
Hernandez Proving to Be Real Deal
Hernandez first made UFC news with his shocking upset over Rodolfo Vieira in 2021. Of course, one win made him a novelty more than anything. But now riding two more wins, including another submission victory over a veteran, has many considering him as a legitimate contender.
The 29-year-old, unlike Shahbazyan, does his damage with his relentless wrestling. Averaging 6.49 takedowns per 15 minutes, not many can withstand his pressure as a grappler. He withstood Vieira, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, then landed eight takedowns each against his next two opponents.
Hernandez does still have questions to answer, namely his durability. Kevin Holland starched him early, and Shahbazyan can do the same. At his current UFC odds, Hernandez better withstand Shahbazyan’s early onslaught. He’ll need to turn to his wrestling quickly.
Shahbazyan vs Hernandez Head-to-Head
Shahbazyan and Hernandez are almost the same size. The former is two inches taller but the latter has the one-inch reach advantage. He’s also four years younger than Hernandez though he has more UFC experience. Both strike in the orthodox stance.
Shahbazyan vs Hernandez Fight Information
- Fighters: Shahbazyan (12-3-0) vs Hernandez (10-2-0)
- Location: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV
- Day/Time: Saturday, May 20, 8:25 pm ET
- Shahbazyan vs Hernandez: Live stream: UFC Fight Pass
Shahbazyan vs Hernandez Betting Lines
The odds in this chart are posted on the time of publication of the article. They are subject to change without previous notice.
Shahbazyan vs Hernandez Pick and Prediction
This is a dangerous fight for both Shahbazyan and Hernandez, which is likely why the UFC’s matchmakers made it. Shahbazyan has a decent shot at catching Hernandez early and finishing him. But the more likely scenario is for Hernandez to wrestle Shahbazyan, grind him out, and finish him after two rounds. Fluffy’s line is a tad too steep, so bet online to go past the halfway mark instead.