Sean Strickland finds himself front and center on a UFC poster again much sooner than anyone could have expected.
The middleweight contender headlines UFC Vegas 67 this Saturday after stepping in on less than a week’s notice to replace Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nassourdine Imavov. That makes it back-to-back main events for Strickland, who closed out 2022 with a split decision loss to Jared Cannonier at UFC Vegas 66 on Dec. 17, which also took place at UFC APEX.
On Wednesday, a new poster for the promotion’s first event of 2023 was released.
Strickland is currently tied for No. 11 at middleweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, with Imavov a few spots behind at No. 14.
Gastelum was forced to withdraw from the bout after suffering an injury to his mouth. He shared video of the surgery required to address the injury shortly after news broke that he would not be competing on Saturday.
With his quick turnaround, Strickland becomes the first fighter to headline consecutive UFC events since Tito Ortiz did so in 2001 with UFC 32 and UFC 33 (it should be noted that there was a three-month gap between those events compared to one month between UFC Vegas 66 and UFC Vegas 67).
See the updated UFC Vegas 67 lineup below.
Main Card (ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET)
Sean Strickland vs. Nassourdine Imavov
Preliminaries (ESPN+, 4 p.m. ET)