This past Saturday night in the headliner of UFC Vegas 67, we saw a showdown between two top middleweight contenders. Now, the bout came together at the last minute so the fight took place at light heavyweight and featured Nassourdine Imavov (12-4) and Sean Strickland (26-5).
Originally, Imavov was supposed to face off against Kelvin Gastelum. However, Gastelum got caught with a knee in the final week of training and it forced him out of the fight. Sean Strickland stepped up on very short-notice to take the fight against Imavov.
Entering the bout, Imavov had won three fights in a row and had been slowly stepping up the competition along the way. His UFC record was 4-1 overall and this was a huge test for him. It could’ve been a blessing that Gastelum fell out because Strickland is the higher ranked contender.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 67?
Unfortunately, it turned out to be a rough night for Imavov. Strickland frustrated Imavov all night with his pressure and his ability to keep the fight in close boxing quarters. Imavov never got comfortable and was always a step behind Strickland through the first four rounds.
In the fifth round, Imavov stepped on the gas and tried to get a finish. Between Strickland getting tired and Imavov getting desperate, Imavov had a ton of success. However, it was a little too late and he lost a unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 67.
So, what’s next for the middleweight contender? Honestly, I really do like the Gastelum matchup and I think the UFC should just rebook that fight. It makes sense for both guys. This was a good reality check for Imavov and if he can re-establish himself with a win over Gastelum, this loss will be just a small bump in the road.