Kelvin Gastelum out, Sean Strickland now faces Nassourdine Imavov in UFC Vegas 67 main event


The UFC is off to a rough start in 2023.

Ahead of the UFC’s first event of the year, UFC Vegas 67 has lost one half of the main event with Kelvin Gastelum being forced off the card due to a mouth injury. As a result, Sean Strickland has volunteered to take his place in a fight against Nassourdine Imavov on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Officials from the UFC confirmed Monday that MMA Fighting had been changed. first reported the news.

The fight between Imavov & Strickland will continue for five rounds. However, the bout will take place at 205 weights and not middleweight.

Strickland steps up on short notice to take the main event after he competed in the final fight card of 2022, losing a split decision to Jared Cannonier at UFC Vegas 66. That served as his second straight loss after he fell to future UFC champion Alex Pereira by knockout at UFC 276 this past July.

Imavov will be looking to continue his three-fight winning streak against Strickland when he takes on Strickland. On his current run, the 27-year-old Russian has picked up impressive wins over Joaquin Buckley, Edmen Shahbazyan and Ian Heinish.

Gastelum was unable to participate in 2022 because of injuries. Gastelum, a former UFC interim middleweight champion, lost in a unanimous decision against Jared Cannonier.

Overall, Gastelum has struggled with a 1-5 record in his past six fights.

UFC Vegas 67 moves forward with 12 total bouts scheduled at the UFC APEX on Saturday.