A middleweight fight between Kelvin Gastelum and Nassourdine Imavov will headline the first UFC event of 2023, UFC Fight Night 218 on January 14th in Las Vegas.
The fight had originally been scheduled for UFC 273 back in April, but it had to be cancelled due to Imavov running into Visa issues.
The 30-year-old Gastelum hasn’t had a fight since then, so he still finds himself in a somewhat precarious position given that he’s lost five of his last six fights, though he may take some comfort form the fact that he’s still considered worthy of main event status and remains placed in the middleweight rankings at No.11.
In fairness to Gastelum his losses have all come against top-level 185lb competition, starting with an interim title defeat against Israel Adesanya back in 2019. That was followed by the likes of Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, Robert Whittaker and most recently Jared Cannonier all getting the better of him, while his sole win during that spell came last year against Ian Heinisch.
As for Imavov, he’s won four of his five fights in the UFC so far, and is currently on a three-fight winning streak that’s seen him TKO both Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shaybazyan, and then beat Joaquin Buckley on the scorecards earlier this month to secure the No.12 spot in the division.
Gastelum vs. Imavov fronts a UFC Fight Night 218 card that only has one other bout attached to it as things stand between Jeff Molina and Jimmy Flick.