Headlining the event was 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.
Strickland is a former KOTC middleweight champion that came into the bout on a two-fight losing skid, losing to UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira (KO) and former title challenger Jared Cannonier (SD) in his last two outings, the Cannonier fight of which many pegged him as the winner of. It was certainly a disputed result.
That happened last year in December, the last UFC event of the year, and he aims to right that wrong tonight three days shy of one month later.
Imavov on the other hand is a former TFL welterweight champion that had gone 4-1 thus far into his UFC tenure and came into tonight’s main event on a three-fight win streak.
Continue reading to see how this light-heavyweight main event went down:
Official Result: Sean Strickland def. Nassourdine Imavov via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
Both men land some heavy punches throughout the first five minutes, they’re really swinging early. Strickland is trying to get over that loss last month and it’s showing.
Imavov looks sharp, and Strickland is fighting with a sense of urgency. Early on in the first it appeared Imavov was getting the better of the exchanges, but as it went on Strickland began to win them and even wobbled Imavov at one point.
Strickland is really looking great tonight, thus far ten minutes into it. He’s out-boxing Imavov, though Imavov is the more diverse striker of the two. Strickland is even mixing kicks in with his attack, he’s controlling the center, and he secured a body lock trip takedown momentarily in the second as well.
Not to mention, he’s racking up control time by pressing Imavov into the fence.
Strickland appears to be frustrating Imavov with his awkward style of boxing, though Imavov is still having a good amount of success landing some nice punches in the pocket.
Strickland really begins to piece Imavov up in the fourth, landing a number of heavy combinations throughout the round. Imavov shoots in on a double leg, only to be denied and pressed into the fence.
Imavov is still landing some good shots of his own, but Strickland is avoiding most of them while landing the better, more effective punches.
Imavov comes out with a real sense of urgency in the fifth and final round, but he can’t keep Strickland from tying up with him. He’s able to separate momentarily several times, but Strickland leans in for double underhooks every time Imavov gets in close to let go on a combination.
Sean Strickland really showed up a different fighter tonight.
We never truly see urgency of any kind out of him, he’s generally happy to coast to a decision whilst out-striking his opponents. That’s part of the reason he lost his last fight that many believed he won. But, he came out looking for the knockout tonight, and he looked incredible against a highly touted up and coming contender.
Sean Strickland improves his professional record to 26-5 tonight at UFC Vegas 67.
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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.