Nassourdine Imavov was clearly fired up fighting in front of a home audience at UFC Paris as he put on a complete performance to beat Joaquin Buckley by unanimous decision.
Some bad blood between the middleweights saw a few nasty exchanges but Imavov displayed superior striking and grappling while also staving off a late comeback attempt to walk away with the victory. Judges scored the fight 29-28, 29-28 , with Imavov claiming his third straight win.
” There were a lot expectations for this fight, but without the crowd I would not have been able do it,” Imavov stated. “I’ve got to say it was surprising. He’s a warrior. I wanted to fight a warrior and he didn’t give anything up.”
Imavov, who has a huge size and reach advantage was just looking to walk Buckley across the cage as he set up his strikes. Imavov didn’t seem to have much regard for Buckley’s power as he quickly ducked and dodged his punches before firing back with some shots of his own including a lightning quick front kick that sent his opponent’s mouth piece flying.
When Buckley attempted a failed takedown attempt, Imavov ignored him and moved onto the mount. He began to rain down elbows on the mount until the horn was blown.
Imavov displayed incredible confidence as Buckley tried to make it close to his opponent so that he could connect his fist with the chin. Imavov stopped striking midway through round two and started wrestling. He dragged Buckley down and started fishing for submissions.
As he battled for a submission, Imavov was also launching elbows at Buckley that led to at least one of those shots causing blood to come pouring out of the American’s mouth.
Buckley realised he was in the second round and rushed out of his corner, guns blazing. He looked for the win with each punch. With Imavov slowing down, Buckley was throwing everything in an attempt to score the knockout but he just couldn’t put together enough damage to get the job done.
Still, Buckley deserves credit for leaving it all in the cage while Imavov showed once again that he’s a middleweight on the rise with the potential to threaten anybody in the top 15 rankings in the very near future.