Strickland stepped in on less than a week’s notice for Kelvin Gastelum, who was forced to withdraw from the bout with a mouth injury. The No. 11 ranked middleweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, Strickland headlines his second consecutive UFC event, becoming the first fighter to do so since Tito Ortiz at UFC 29 and UFC 30 over 20 years ago. Strickland enters the fight coming off of back-to-back losses to current champ Alex Pereira and, most recently, Jared Cannonier.
Imavov enters the biggest fight of his career on the heels of a three-fight win streak. The No. 14 ranked middleweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings competed once in 2022, earning a decision win over Joaquin Buckley at UFC Paris in September. “The Russian Sniper” also has finishes of Edmen Shahbazyan and Ian Heinisch during his win streak.
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