Nassourdine Imavov is a name that perhaps doesn’t roll off the tongue of many MMA fans — but there is a strong chance that will have changed come Sunday morning.
The Dagestan-born Frenchman headlines his first UFC event this Saturday night when he takes on Sean Strickland — a late replacement for Kelvin Gastelum — in what could be a star-making performance for the 27-year-old middleweight (although this fight takes place at light heavyweight).
Imavov, who is just 27, has been impressive since making his UFC debut back in October 2020. The product of Fernand Lopez’s MMA Factory in France, Imavov has displayed pin-point striking so far in his tenure with the organisation, with his high-paced style of offence proving too much for many of his opponents. Indeed, only Phil Hawes has claimed a win over him — a razor-close majority decision back in February 2021.
Since then, though, Imavov has been near faultless but in Strickland he faces the biggest test of his career to date but a win against the top-ranked American fighter would almost certainly move Imavov into the top ten at 185-pounds (he is currently ranked 12th).
And if you need to see exactly what he is capable of in the cage, look no further than his aggressive finish of Edmen Shahbazyan at their bout at UFC 268 in Madison Square Garden in November 2021, which you can see below.