Sean Strickland answered the short-notice call from UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard, then defeated Nassourdine Imavov to get his year off to an impressive start at the UFC Apex.
Strickland controlled the action through the five-round main event, which was contested at light heavyweight due to the short-notice nature of the American’s call-up.
Imavov went into the fight with a full fight camp under his belt, but after prepping to face Kelvin Gastelum, the Frenchman ended up facing Strickland, whose controlled pressure and smart boxing proved a puzzle Imavov was unable to solve during the 25-minute bout.
When the bout reached the final horn, there was little doubt over the winner, with Strickland earning scores of 49-46, 49-46, 48-47 from the three cageside judges.
It meant Strickland bounced back into the win column after suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in his career at the end of 2022.
Now he’s back in the win column, back on form, and very much in the championship discussion at 185 pounds.
The co-main event saw a knockout finish for Dan Ige, who rebounded from a tricky run of form of his own to finish in-form Damon Jackson.
“50k” hit the jackpot in the final minute of Round 2 to snap a three-fight skid and give him his first win since his 22-second KO of Gavin Tucker back in March 2021.
Russian middleweight Roman Kopylov also picked up an impressive win, as he stopped Punahele Soriano in the second round to improve his record to 10-2, while Raquel Pennington edged Ketlen Vieira via split decision in their battle of bantamweight contenders.
The main card kicked off with a bang, as Umar Nurmagomedov landed a huge KO to flatten Brazil’s Raoni Barcelos at the end of the first round. Nurmagomedov remains perfect, with his career record standing at a formidable 16-0. After such an impressive, decisive performance, a bout against one of the division’s top names surely awaits.
UFC Vegas 67: Official results
- Sean Strickland def. Nassourdine Imavov via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
- Dan Ige def. Damon Jackson via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 4:13
- Roman Kopylov def. Punahele Soriano via TKO (body kick and punches) – Round 2, 3:19
- Raquel Pennington def. Ketlen Vieira via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Umar Nurmagomedov def. Raoni Barcelos via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 4:40
- Javid Basharat def. Mateus Mendonca via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Claudio Ribeiro via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 0:28
- Mateusz Rebecki def. Nick Fiore via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
- Allan Nascimento def. Carlos Hernandez via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:16
- Daniel Argueta def. Nick Aguirre via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Charles Johnson def. Jimmy Flick via TKO (elbows and punches) – Round 1, 4:33