Will Nassourdine Imavov rematch someone in his next fight?

Last night’s win at UFC Louisville was a bittersweet one for Nassourdine Imavov. The MMA Factory middleweight had Jared Cannonier hurt and stumbling around before the fight was called off prematurely in the eyes of many. Will his next fight be a rematch with one of his former opponents? Let’s explore the options.

Fighting upwards: Sean Strickland rematch

The only true option for Nassourdine Imavov to fight north would be a rematch with Sean Strickland. Strickland is coming off of a victory over Paulo Costa last weekend at UFC 302. Strickland is also the last person to defeat the French native which came in 2023. That fight saw Strickland win a unanimous decision and would eventually go on to win the title.

The only issue: Sean Strickland wants to fight for the title next and has a strong case for the Dricus Du Plessis rematch. The way middleweight is currently scheduled may mean that the 28-year-old may have to fight down in the rankings.

He’s not getting the title shot against Dricus Du Plessis over Strickland or Adesanya. Robert Whittaker going to take on Khamzat Chimaev in a couple weeks. This means the only option to fight above is likely Strickland. If Strickland doesn’t want to fight down, Imavov is out.

Prospect vs. Prospect

The best matchup, in my opinion, is a fight with Brendan Allen. Nassourdine Imavov will likely leapfrog fifth ranked Allen and take Cannonier’s fourth ranking. Allen, however, is on a seven fight winning streak and has made a big name for himself as he made his way up the rankings.

Nassourdine Imavov has had trouble with fighters against the fence. Cannonier and Roman Dolidze managed to hold him there for extended periods. A potential fight with Allen would answer the question of, “Can Imavov stop a takedown against a very good wrestler?” Dolidze has failed to get a takedown in his last five fights. Cannonier is a striker first. Brendan Allen would get his shot at the top five and Imavov would answer a crucial question before taking on a fighter like Dricus Du Plessis.

The other rematch: Nassourdine Imavov vs. Jared Cannonier 2

With the controversial nature of last night’s fight, there is a case to be made for Imavov vs. Cannonier 2. Jared Cannonier was fairly well recovered when the Jason Herzog called the fight. With Cannonier coming off a year layoff due to an MCL surgery, the case could be made that Cannonier was compromised due to the nature of his injury.

This doesn’t do much for Imavov, who would be taking all the risks. He would likely want to avoid getting in a situation like Magomed Ankalaev, who spent a year of his life fighting, rematching, and rebooking a fight with Ion Cutelaba. But if Imavov can’t get Strickland or Allen, Jared Cannonier may be the best fight for him.

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