Headlining the event is a light-heavyweight bout between no. 7 ranked middleweight contender Sean Strickland (25-5) and no. 12 ranked middleweight contender Nassourdine Imavov (12-3).
Imavov was initially slated to face no. 13 ranked Kelvin Gastelum, however, Gastelum has been forced from the bout with a tooth injury and was replaced by Strickland five days ago.
Co-headlining the event is a featherweight matchup between no. 13 ranked Dan Ige (15-6) and Damon Jackson (22-4-1-1).
Our feature fight of the evening came in the middleweight division between touted prospects in Hawaii’s Punahele Soriano (9-2) and Russia’s Roman Kopylov (9-2).
Both men made it to 8-0 before losing for the first time, and both fell from 8-0 to 8-2 before winning their most recent respective contests via KO.
Continue reading to see how this middleweight clash went down:
Official Result: Roman Kopylov def. Punahele Soriano via TKO (body kick & punches) at 3:19 of round two
Soriano is really tensing up every time he throws as he’s in constant search of the knockout, but all of his punches are telegraphed and he’s not throwing any kicks. Kopylov sees this and is doing a good job evading whilst landing his jab.
Kopylov is making reads and making Soriano miss, though he does get cracked a few good times throughout the first five minutes. Kopylov is just looking much more fluent and sharper, and he also secures a well-timed takedown right into Soriano’s side control toward the end of round one.
Kopylov begins to pull away in the second round as he’s landing far more often than the ever-tiring Soriano. He lands a beautiful spinning back kick to the body, and not long after lands a vicious round kick to the body.
It looked like Soriano was done right there; he drops his hands because his body is starting to shut down via a thunderous kick his body on the side his liver is on.
Kopylov strings together some more nice combinations and ends up landing another left body kick. A few follow up punches later and the fight was stopped, Soriano couldn’t take anymore.
Kopylov gets Soriano to use a high guard with punches/fakes and then hammers his open liver with the kick. pic.twitter.com/A0KuBTFtIW
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) January 15, 2023
Roman Kopylov is now 10-2 as a professional, this becoming the ninth knockout victory of his young career.
If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to share it on social media!
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.