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Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nassourdine Imavov expected to headline first UFC card in 2023

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The first UFC main event for 2023 has been booked with middleweights Kelvin Gastelum and Nassourdine Imavov scheduled to clash on Jan. 14.

Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday. La Sueur in France first reported the matchup.

This is actually the second time Gastelum and Imavov have been scheduled to meet after they were originally set to face off back in April. At the time, Imavov had visa issues that prevented him from traveling and then Gastelum also dropped off the same card due to injury.

Imavov eventually returned to compete at the UFC Paris card in September where he picked up a unanimous decision win over Joaquin Buckley. That performance extended Imavov’s win streak to three in a row with a 4-1 record overall in the UFC.

As for Gastelum, the one-time interim title challenger will look to get back on track after a 1-5 run in his past six fights. Gastelum is currently coming off back-to-back losses to Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier with his return in January coming almost 17 months after his last appearance in the UFC.

At this time, there’s no location yet for the Jan. 14 card, although more information about the event should be revealed in the coming weeks.

Mike Heck contributed to this report

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