Sean Strickland decisions Nassourdine Imavov in UFC Vegas 67 main event

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Sean Strickland decisions Nassourdine Imavov in UFC Vegas 67 main event

The first UFC event of 2023 took place on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and was headlined by a bout between middleweight contenders Nassourdine Imavov and Sean Strickland.

Kelvin Gastelum was originally slated to face Imavov, but was a forced out of the match due to injury. Strickland stepped up on short notice and the bout was moved to the light heavyweight division. Imavov entered the bout riding a three-fight winning streak while Strickland was coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.

Strickland inched forward and connected with a combination. Imavov answered with a clean right hand. The two stood toe-to-toe with each fighter landing heavy shots. The first round was action packed with neither fighter having a clear advantage.

Strickland pressured Imavov in the early going of the second frame. He landed a combination and Imavov fired back. Midway through through the round Strickland secured a takedown but Imavov quickly got back to his feet. Strickland had a higher output but Imavov landed at a higher rate.

They continued to stand right in front of each other and exchange in the third. Strickland again had the higher output. The fourth round looked like the first three with a little more clinching. Heading into the final round, Strickland appeared to be up on the scorecards.

Imavov picked up the pace in the fifth frame. Strickland utilized the clinch to tie Imavov up. They slugged it out in the final seconds. The fight went the distance with all three judges scoring the bout for Strickland. The scorecards read 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47.

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