Outlook: With a sub-60-second finish over David Branch and a short-notice decision win in a main event against Jacare Souza, Jack Hermansson was putting together the kind of stretch that would’ve thrown him right into the top of the heap in the division. That came to a halt in the form of a Jared Cannonier uppercut, but the Swede still has plenty to say at 185 pounds. One of the more sound, well-rounded fighters in the division, Hermansson has sneaky, lethal finishing ability with both his striking and submission games. On the opposite side of the coin, nothing is sneaky about Kelvin Gastelum’s game. Few can forget his knockout of Michael Bisping, and in a sport where timing means so much, Gastelum hasn’t found it in his favor. What was supposed to be his title shot against Robert Whittaker evolved into an interim title fight with Israel Adesanya that, while the best of the year, ended with him empty-handed. His bout with Till resulted in similar disappointment, and Gastelum is left searching for a path back to the top, though I’m sure few would argue against a rematch with Adesanya, eventually. Derek Brunson has continued to float right outside the top 5 as he’s been alternating between two-fight winning or losing streaks over his last eight fights. Scheduled to face the fast-rising Edmen Shahbazyan, Brunson has another opportunity to prove he isn’t the middleweight steppingstone. Easier said than done, though, as Shahbazyan is one of the most impressive young prospects in some time. At just 22 years old, “The Golden Boy” finished all but one of his opponents inside the first round. A product of Glendale Fighting Club, Shahbazyan improves by leaps and bounds with each walk to the Octagon. His head-kick knockout of Brad Tavares at UFC 244 was as emphatic an announcement as one could make: the division has a young, ultra-confident contender who might be making real noise much sooner than his age would suggest.

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