UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs. Imavov was a mixed martial arts event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that took place on January 14, 2023, at the UFC Apex facility in Enterprise, Nevada, part of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area, United States.
The first UFC card of 2023, UFC Vegas 67, is behind us. In the main event, Sean Strickland, who also headlined the final UFC fight card of 2022, bounced back from a split decision loss to Jared Cannonier to score a decision win over Nassourdine Imavov. Strickland stepped in on short notice to replace Kelvin Gastelum on the card. As a result, Strickland and Imavov competed at light heavyweight rather than middleweight.
According to reports, Nassourdine Imavov earned $44,500 for his last fight at UFC 268 against Edmen Shahbazyan. Considering this amount from his previous fight, along with a potential performance bonus at UFC Fight Night 217 and sponsorships, Nassourdine Imavov could earn $100,000 for his fight against Sean Strickland.
In his last bout against Jared Cannonier in 2021, Strickland earned a reported $216,000. Out of this, $200,000 was his base pay. Since he lost, he did not receive any win bonus. The remaining $16,000 was from sponsorships. Therefore, if we consider these figures, Strickland could earn close to $300,000 if he beats Nassourdine Imavov. $200,000 base pay, a potential $50,000 performance bonus, and sponsorships.
Main card (ESPN+)
|Light Heavyweight||Sean Strickland||def.||Nassourdine Imavov||Decision (unanimous) (49–46, 49–46, 48–47)||5||5:00|
The fighters received $50,000 bonuses.
It seems Sean Strickland learned a lesson from his split decision loss to Jared Cannonier. More importantly, he put the knowledge to work on Saturday. Strickland employed a jab-heavy approach, as expected, in his fight opposite Nassourdine Imavov. Still, he was more active and more accurate and he seemed to throw more hooks and overhands than he did in his loss to Cannonier. Strickland also pushed the pace and kept Imavov on his back foot for much of the five-round battle.
This was a good bounce-back win for Strickland, who was in danger of slipping out of the middleweight top 10 with a loss on Saturday.
Sean Strickland claimed that the “UFC paid me a lot of f–king money to take this fight on short notice. I didn’t want it, but you paid me and I thank you… I’m a company guy, you pay me, I’ll fight Francis Ngannou.”
Strickland then turned around and said that old and retired fighters usually leave the sport with no money. He then encouraged fans to support “these old dogs that retire. It sucks teaching cardio kickboxing classes after a career in the UFC.”
Nassourdine Imavov did not have a lot of time to prepare for Sean Strickland. However, anyone who has seen Strickland fight knows his style and what to expect from him inside the octagon. That Imavov’s team did not have him ready for Strickland’s approach is not a great sign for the 27-year-old.
With that being said, Imavov is young. There’s a great deal he can take away from the loss to Strickland. If he learns from the defeat and returns in his next outing improved in his fight IQ and cardio, Saturday’s setback will not be a total loss.