After his TKO win at UFC Louisville, what’s next for Nassourdine Imavov?

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Timothy D. Easley/Special to the Courier-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORKCredit: Timothy D. Easley/Special to the Courier-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

This past weekend in the main event of UFC Louisville, we saw a big time matchup in the middleweight division. Top contenders went toe-to-toe as Nassourdine Imavov (14-4) took on “The Killa Gorilla” Jared Cannonier (17-7). This fight was very even on paper and that’s the type of fight that we got on Saturday.

Jared Cannonier started out strong and with a combination of clinch work and power shots took the first round in my eyes. In the second round, Imavov really started to get his timing and clearly won the second round. Through two rounds, all three judges had the fight 19-19.

The third round was very competitive with both men having their moments throughout. I personally scored the round for Cannonier as did two of the three judges. So, entering the fourth round, Cannonier was up 29-28 on two of the three scorecards at UFC Louisville.

In the fourth, Imavov landed a bomb of a shot that rocked Cannonier. Imavov pounced and Cannonier kept moving away. Cannonier never hit the ground, but he kept running back to give himself space to recover. Jason Herzog stepped in and stopped the fight in what I thought was a horrific stoppage giving Imavov the TKO win.

It was a terrible stoppage and had Cannonier survived, two scorecards would have had the fight even heading into the final round. However, the fight was stopped and Imavov got the biggest win of his UFC career.

What’s next after UFC Louisville?

I feel terrible for both fighters in this situation. For Cannonier, the fight felt like it was completely taken away from him. For Imavov, he did what he’s supposed to do and got his hand raised, but nobody is talking about his win. Instead, everyone is fixated on Herzog’s mistake which muddied up a great UFC main event.

Nevertheless, Imavov got his hand raised and is now ranked fourth in the middleweight division. So, what’s next? Cannonier wants to run it back and apparently UFC match makers have expressed some interest in doing that. The match making meeting is today so maybe in the next few days we will start to learn a little more.

That said, if they don’t run it back, there are other options for The Russian Sniper. Robert Whittaker and Khamzat Chimaev are fighting in Saudi Arabia this month. Sean Strickland is going to get the next title shot after Dricus Du Plessis and Israel Adesanya fight so the winner of this month’s main event is going to need another fight.

I’m all for them fighting Imavov. Whether it being Khamzat Chimaev or whether it be Robert Whittaker, they’d put on a helluva fight with Imavov. Strickland faces the champion with Imavov facing the winner of Chimaev – Whittaker seems like a great next step for all parties involved if they don’t run it back with Cannonier.

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