UFC Fight Night 217 – Sean Strickland Wins Main Event Bout
UFC Fight Night 217
The UFC Fight Night 217 was a treat for all mixed martial arts fans, as Sean Strickland won the light heavyweight bout against France’s Nassourdine Imavov. Strickland took the fight on short notice, as Kelvin Gastelum pulled out due to an injury while in training camp.
The fight occurred in Las Vegas at the UFC Apex on Saturday, January 14, 2023, at 11:25 ET. Sean Strickland won the fight, with the judges making a unanimous decision.
The co-main event was headlined by Dan Ige and Damon Jackson, where Ige won by TKO in the second round.
Main Event – Sean Strickland vs Nassourdine Imavov
Sean Strickland did not take an entire training camp to make a mark in the light heavyweight division. He stepped in to fill the shoes of Kelvin Gastelum, and he made sure he made the most of the opportunity.
The bout lasted for five rounds, and the American did not leave any stone unturned to show his potential in the division. Strickland managed to get a victory over Nassourdine Imavov by unanimous decision, which came as a surprise for most spectators.
The main event was poised for drama as the leading contender for the light heavyweight title lost to one of the substitutes. Sean Strickland made sure he gave an account of his MMA skills, as he bullied Imavov in the duration of the five rounds.
The first round was intense, as Imavov started the bout with all guns blazing, shooting quick jabs, and using leg kicks. He controlled the octagon in the first round by maintaining the distance between him and Strickland whenever necessary. However, Strickland kept his hands high, throwing punches whenever he could, and looking to counter with straight shots down the middle.
The end of the round saw Strickland pick up the pace as he started to throw a few big right hands that found the mark. Imavov then retaliated with a couple of combinations, as both fighters went back and forth till the end of the round.
The second round saw a lack of gas in Imavov’s fighting skills as his team from the sidelines urged him on. He was slowing down his fighting pace, which Strickland took full advantage of.
Strickland landed several punches on Imavov when he sensed the Frenchman was not his usual self. It can be noted that Imavov was never trained for a fight against Sean Strickland, hence his inability to keep up with him.
Strickland seemed to have the edge over Imavov in the second round, as he could only have a few shots on Strickland.
The third round started the same way the second round ended, with Strickland being more aggressive. Imavov tried taking the game to the ground with some wrestling and grappling, but Strickland’s experience on the canvas effortlessly pacified him.
When Imavov found it hard to wrestle the American, he returned to his stand-up stance but could not get in touching distance against Strickland. The two fighters fought at the end of the third round on their feet without significant damage.
Imavov entered the fourth round with an agenda to regain control of the fight. He came out more intense and attacked Strickland with a couple of combinations, but Strickland was too good for him on the night.
He managed to stay afar from the Frenchman’s sporadic attacks, defending with accuracy and getting back on the attack. He continued with his punches down the middle and delivered several kicks to the body.
Whenever Imavov got a hold of him, Strickland managed to hold on and continue the fight on his feet. It was evident that Imavov was losing control of the bout by the fourth round.
Imavov was looking for a finishing move like all desperate MMA fighters when the fifth round started. The same feeling was echoed by Imavov’s team in the corner of the octagon.
He turned up his volume and started throwing punches at full power, but Strickland used his experience and managed to hold back the Frenchman’s advances. Whenever he felt threatened in the final round, Strickland grabbed hold of Imavov and pinned him in the cage.
As the round was over, Imavov tried his best by throwing everything he had at the American. He used ouches, elbows, kicks, knees, etc., but was unable to get an apparent hit on the American. However, Strickland could maneuver his body and avoid getting hit until the final bell.
After the final bell, the judges awarded a unanimous decision in favor of Sean Strickland, scoring 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47.
Co-main Event – Dan Ige vs Damon Jackson
Dan Ige finally proved his doubters wrong by knocking out Damon Jackson in the second round of the co-main event with a punch. He landed a huge left hand on Jackson’s chin, leaving him down on the canvas.
Damon Jackson was already bleeding and was unable to stand up straight after the knockout punch from Dan Ige. The bout ended at the 4:13 mark of the second round, leaving fans in shock.
Ige was bound to have more impact if he landed a clean hand on Jackson, as he had more power going into the fight. The turning point came when Ige opened a cut on Jackson’s head in the second round with a jab.
Dan Ige received his first victory in the UFC in over two years after losing three fights consecutively. It was one of the most clinical finishes of UFC Fight Night 217, and fans could see the satisfaction in Ige’s celebrations at the end of the fight.
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