Sean Strickland Replaces Kelvin Gastelum At UFC Vegas 67

Sean Strickland will step up on days’ notice to face Nassourdine Imavov in the UFC Vegas 67 main event on Saturday.

This after former interim middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum withdrew with a mouth injury. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report the news of Strickland/Imavov and Gastelum’s withdrawal.

According to UFC officials, Strickland and Imavov will fight five rounds at 205lbs. Strickland fought just weeks ago in the final UFC main event of 2022 in a loss to former title challenger Jared Cannonier.

This will be the first time that Strickland and Imavov have competed at 205lbs. Earlier in his UFC tenure, Strickland competed at welterweight, fighting the likes of Kamaru Usman and Santiago Ponzinibbio.

The Strickland/Imavov fight is the latest shakeup to UFC Vegas 67. The card’s co-main event, Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov, was recently removed and re-scheduled for a later date.

First UFC Event Of 2023 Gets A Massive Shakeup

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Imavov and Gastelum were supposed to face off last year at UFC 273 after Imavov withdrew due to travel visa issues. Gastelum didn’t end up getting a new opponent and was removed from the card entirely.

Gastelum hasn’t fought since a loss to Cannonier in Aug. 2021. He’s lost five of his last six fights overall.

Strickland is looking to get back on track after his first two career losses at middleweight. Before a loss to Alex Pereira at UFC 276, he was on a six-fight winning streak.

As for Imavov, he returns following recent wins over Joaquin Buckley and Edmen Shahbazyan. The Frenchman is considered one of the top middleweight prospects in the UFC.

The UFC returns this Saturday after a long hiatus for the holidays. The first UFC pay-per-view, UFC 283, will take place on January 21st in Rio de Janeiro, BR.

What is your prediction for Sean Strickland/Nassourdine Imavov?