Nassourdine Imavov defeats Joaquin Buckley, wins third-straight fight at UFC Paris

Nassourdine Imavov: A second shot at the 185 elite

Seventh ranked Nassourdine Imavov has the biggest opportunity of his career this weekend. He takes on Jared Cannonier coming off of an MCL injury who is 40 years of age. This doesn’t mean Cannonier is easy picking, but it absolutely stacks the cards in his favor. After dropping the ball against Sean Strickland, a five round decision loss, Imavov is getting a quick second chance at the elite of the division.

Nassourdine Imavov: A swift rise

With middleweight dying for contenders for former-champion Israel Adesanya, many new names were signed and are making their way through the division. Nassourdine Imavov is one of those names. Signed in 2021, “The Russian Sniper” hit a snag in his UFC debut when he lost a majority decision to Phil Hawes. Imavov didn’t let that hold him back.

His first win with the world’s top promotion was a quality win over Ian Heinisch. Heinisch was a Contender Series alumni and Imavov handed him his pink slip from the promotion.

In his next outing, Imavov ran through 11th ranked Edmen Shahbazyan. After gassing the American, the Xtreme Couture talent made a statement by catching Shahbazyan in a crucifix and dropping some vicious elbows. His third win came from Joaquin Buckley who is now on a hot streak.

His first shot was at the top came against Sean Strickland, who was beginning his run to capturing the title. Strickland ended up running away with the fight and it was back to the starting line for Imavov.

The 30-year-old then hit another snag and had a no contest against Strickland’s teammate, Chris Curtis, due to unintentional headbutts.

Fortunatelt, Imavov took on and defeated Roman Dolidze, which he won via majority decision.

The second opportunity

Now, Nassourdine Imavov takes on Jared Cannonier when middleweight is very much in flux. Dricus Du Plessis is now the champion. Sean Strickland and Israel Adesanya are in play for a shot at the title. Should either win, there’s a story there to promote the fight for Imavov.

Strickland has the last win over Imavov. Adesanya is the former-long reigning champion who would need new contenders should he defeat Dricus Du Plessis. Then there’s Du Plessis who is looking to cement his legacy over the division.

Don’t count out Robert Whittaker and Khamzat Chimaev who could very well make a play for the title once they fight this month.

Middleweight is changing and Nassourdine Imavov has placed himself right in the thick of the divisional race with his current body of work.


All that aside, Imavov needs not to put the cart before the horse. Jared Cannonier is a very game and capable opponent. With hands as heavy as bricks, one mistake can see Imavov put his lights out. Cannonier is no stranger to wrestling either. He can put Imavov on his back and put the lights out in the same manner he did Derek Brunson.

Cannonier will be a big challenge for Imavov, but not impossible. Having a karate-style base, Imavov can look to Robert Whittaker’s win over a younger “Killa Gorilla” in 2020 that saw Whittaker take the three round decision.

Whittaker’s fight can be a blueprint on what Imavov can get away with against the hard hitting Jared Cannonier. Cardio will be a big issue going in this fight. Will Nassourdine Imavov be able to go the full five rounds? Cannonier has in each of his last three fights. The time is now for Imavov to prove his level of talent and dedication to the sport of MMA.

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Blaine Henry
Your friendly neighborhood fight fan. I watch way too many fights and my wife lets me know it.