Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 76, we are going to see a battle in the middleweight division. On paper, an interesting matchup as seventh ranked Sean Strickland (26-5) puts his ranking on the line against unranked Abus Magomedov (25-4-1).
When this fight was first announced, many (including myself) were perplexed. There’s a lot of things to like about Magomedov, but he’s only fought once in the UFC. He’s been with the promotion since 2021, but he’s only had one fight while five fights have been cancelled.
That one fight he did have lasted 19 seconds and he won by knockout. Despite the limited visibility inside the octagon, Magomedov is going right into the top ten to take on Sean Strickland. Strickland will be looking for his second straight win.
When Sean Strickland returned from a motorcycle accident and moved up in weight, his career took off. Five straight wins earned him a fight with Alex Pereira at UFC 276 in a title eliminator. Unfortunately, Strickland was knocked out. Then, he lost a very close split decision to Jared Cannonier before defeating Nassourdine Imavov earlier this year.
UFC Vegas 76
I actually look at the Imavov fight as a blueprint for Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 76. If you watch the table on Magomedov, he’s a tremendous striker. Strickland also is a very good striker, but they strike in very different ways.
For Magomedov, he needs a little space to utilize his best techniques. His kicks and long shots could be a factor the way those shots were a factor when Strickland fought Alex Pereira. However, Nassourdine Imavov is a rangey sniper as well and Strickland solved that puzzle.
How did he do it? With a lot of pressure and using his tremendous defensive striking and pressure to outpoint and frustrate Imavov. I think that Strickland can do that again tomorrow. There’s just a little too much unknown with Magomedov factoring in how he’ll do with only 19 seconds of work in three years.
I think Magomedov will find some success, but as the fight goes on, the persistence and gas tank of Sean Strickland will win out and he’ll pick up his second straight win.
Prediction: Sean Strickland by Decision