Nassourdine Imavov thinks the only difference between Kelvin Gastelum and Sean Strickland is Strickland’s mouth and his trash-talking.
Imavov was supposed to headline UFC Vegas 67 against Gastelum but on Monday it was announced the TUF winner was out of the fight due to a mouth injury. Strickland then took the fight on short notice with the scrap being moved to light heavyweight.
Although Imavov didn’t have much time to prepare for Strickland, he thinks he is very similar to Gastelum besides one major difference.
“What can he do other than Gastelum? Big mouth. I think I just have to be careful of what he’s saying, the world that he’s using. The big mouth,” Imavov said at UFC Vegas 67 media day. “That’s it. I heard that he’s starting to speak already with you guys, so I’m pumped. Let’s go.”
The change in opponents is also good for Imavov as Strickland is a higher ranked opponent and beating him will put him in the top 10.
Nassourdine Imavov (12-3) is currently 4-1 in the UFC and is on a three-fight winning streak and is coming off a decision over Joaquin Buckley. His other three UFC wins have come against Edmen Shahbazyan, Ian Heinisch, and Jordan Williams. His lone UFC loss was a controversial majority decision to Phil Hawes. He’s currently ranked 12th at middleweight.
Sean Strickland (25-5) is coming off a decision loss to Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC Vegas 66 on December 17. Prior to that, he suffered a first-round KO los to Alex Pereira at UFC 276 in a title eliminator bout. Before the back-to-back setbacks, Strickland was on a six-fight winning streak with notable wins over Jack Hermansson, Uriah Hall, and Brendan Allen among others. Strickland is currently ranked seventh at middleweight.
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