Sean Strickland is looking to start this year180 degrees differently than 2022 ended.
2022 didn’t end on a great note for Sean Strickland, but he’s hoping to get 2023 off to a better start at UFC Vegas 67. Kelvin Gastelum was forced off the card due to injury and Strickland stepped in to face Nassourdine Imavov on short notice. Strickland once again comes to the UFC’s rescue and a win will go a long way to keep him relevant at 185 pounds (even though they are fighting at 205).
Strickland’s 2022 run didn’t go as well as he’d hoped, with a 1-2 record that year. His last two fights were defeats at the hands of Alex Pereira and Jared Cannonier. The Cannonier fight was a close battle that ended in a split decision loss for Strickland, but Pereira needed less than three minutes to put him away at UFC 276.
“I was living in the matrix,” Strickland said. “Not one punch landed. I saw everything. But you have judges that don’t know [expletive] about fighting and they see a big scary Black man throwing punches and they are like ‘that’s scary,’ he won the fight.”
Since joining the UFC in 2014, Strickland has put together a strong resume in the company. He is 12-5 in the Octagon. Four of those five losses represent Strickland’s struggles to reach title contender status, as they’ve come against champions or top contenders in the welterweight and middleweight divisions. Overall, he will bring a 25-5 professional record into the contest against Imavov.
“Mick calls me and asks if I want this fight, and he says we’ll pay you a decent amount of money and I said I’m your huckleberry so let’s go fight a man,” Strickland said. “The only thing the French are good at is giving up and losing fights.”
Sports Nassourdine Imavov needs another win to move into the top 10
Imavov is riding a three-fight win streak heading into the UFC Vegas 67 main event. He is 4-1 in the Octagon and has a full record of 12-3 since his professional debut back in 2016. Those three recent wins came against Joaquin Buckley, Edmen Shahbazyan, and Ian Heinisch. Coming into this fight he is ranked number 12 in the middleweight division.
UFC Vegas 67 takes place on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2022, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your news and highlights.