Fighting is back and better than ever! It has been almost a month since the UFC hosted a fight card and fans have been waiting patiently. The UFC kicks off 2023 with a Fight Night on January 14th, headlined by fighters Sean Strickland and Nassourdine Imavov.

Both fighters are ranked in the middleweight division, normally fighting at 185 pounds. However, after a complication with Kelvin Gastelum (Nassourdine’s original opponent) the fighters agreed to fight at 205 pounds. This puts them in the light heavyweight division.

 Massourdine Imavov

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

For Imavov, beating Strickland will boost his chance of fighting for the title in the future. This may not have been the case after his original bout. Gastelum is a great fighter, but he has won only 1 fight since 2019. A decline in his abilities is evident.

Strickland on the other hand, is trending up has won six of his last eight fights. Most notably, one of those losses came from the undisputed champion, Alex Pereira.

This is only the second time in UFC history where the same fighter is headlining back-to-back fight cards.

Just as Imavov is approaching 2023, Sean Strickland was really active in 2022. He fought Jack Hermansson, Alex Pereira, and Jared Cannonier, all three of whom are ranked fighters. Moreover, two of them fought for the middleweight belt in 2022. Strickland was the headliner for the last fight card in 2022, which was about three weeks ago.

Is a return to the octagon after a few weeks a bad idea? Maybe not. Strickland lost in a close decision to Jared Cannonier on December 17th and in that fight he did not take a huge amount of damage.

Sean Strickland

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

On top of that, Strickland is always training so his cardio is definitely still intact and will not be a problem in a five-round fight. Fortunately, the fight is at a weight class closer to his walk-around weight. Strickland won’t need to endure an extreme weight cut for this fight.

This fight presents an incredible chance for Strickland to not only earn a substantial payout, but also to reclaim his winning ways and solidify his place in the fighting world.

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By Published On: January 13th, 2023Categories: MMA

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