Nassourdine Imavov was deducted a point during his fight with Roman Dolidze in the main event of UFC Fight Night 235 tonight, but is superior striking ensured he still emerged with a win via majority decision.
Imavov feeling out with oblique kicks without landing to start. Leg kick for Dolidze. A couple of low kicks for him. He lands another.
One-two for imavov. Dolidze clinches up and walks him over to the cage. Imavov lands an elbow inside. He gets a knee to the body in there too. They jockey for position and then Imavov gets away.
Low kick for Dolidze. calf kick fo Imavov. He lands another low kick and Dolidze gives him one back. A couple of glancing blows and a kick from Dolidze.
Nice right hand lands for Imavov. Jab for Dolidze. Straight right for Imavov. Again a right from Imavov who is really finding a home for that in this first round.
He lands again and Dolidze falls to the canvas. Imavov starts teeing off with big punches, but Dolidze is hanging on in there for now and the ref isn’t willing to wave off the fight yet.
Dolidze onto his knees but is kept down as Imavov continues working offense. late in the round now Imavov works on an armbar but Dolidze survives. He looks unsteady as he gets back up to go to his corner though.
Imavov looking confident at the start of the second round. Dolidze is letting his strikes go here though as he tries to get back into the fight. Not much landing clean here though.
Dolidze opts for the clinch against the cage. A few light knees for him, but mostly looks like he’s happy to slow the pace here. Knee upstairs from Dolidze. Imavov now turns into him however. They soon separate to striking range.
Leg kick for Imavov. Now a fast jab. Inside leg kick and outside one from Dolidze. Dolidze clinches up and walks him back over to the cage.
Final minute of the round as Dolidze works a few light knees strikes and the occasional foot stomp. Nothing really happening and the ref breaks them up.
Overhand left from Dolidze. A bit wild from him though and Imavov punishes him by landing cleaner punches in response.
Knee stomps from Imavov to start the third. nice jabs for him. Imavov into the clinch. Dolidze with his back turned and bent over as Imavov manages to land a kick to the head from there.
Back at striking range now. Leg kick for Dolidze and a counter jab from Imavov. Right hand for Imavov. Dolidze clinches up and is back up against the cage again.
Back to striking range and Imavov blasts him with a big right hand. Imavov opts to clinch up though and then Dolidze responds in kind, bringing him back over to the cage. Dolidze trying for a takedown, but ends up shifting from one side of the cage to the other still in the clinch.
Imavov turns into him and then they separate. Heavy body kick from imavov. Now a fast right right hand that lands clean. Imavov into the clinch and Dolidze turns into him. Tough night for Dolidze so far who is getting beat up any time he moves out of the clinch, and the ref has just separated them again.
Imavov coming forward again. Dolidze able to work a kick now as the round ends.
Jab for Imavov and an overhand gets through for Dolidze. Imavov starts tagging him with a few punches and so Dolidze goes back to the clinch against the cage.
Dolidze just isn’t getting anything going in these clinch positions though and now Imavov turns into him. Dolidze able to move away from the cage though. Imavov spins around to the back and Dolidze has a hand down on the mat. Imavov lands a head kick even though that’s technically illegal due to Dolidze’s hand being down so there’s a timeout.
Dolidze hurt and meanwhile Imavov gets involved in a heated verbal exchange with Chris Curtis who is outside the cage. Imavov warned by the ref that he could be disqualified if he doesn’t calm down. He eventually does so. Dolidze says he’s ok to continue and Imavov is deducted a point.
The action restarts and Dolidze seems fired up now as he comes out on the offensive. Imavov tries to clinch and Dolidze works a takedown. There’s a scramble and Dolidze maintains top position.
Imavov working over to the cage and trying to stand. Dolidze trying desperately to keep him down but Imavov does get back to his feet. Now we’re back to Dolidze clinching his opponent up against the cage.
Imavov shunts around to Dolidze’s back. He lands a nice body punch. They trade for a moment toe-to-toe with Imavov landing. Now they size each other up from just out of range. Missed spinning backfist from Dolidze.
They go back into the clinch and jockey for position in the final seconds of the round.
Oblique kick for Imavov. imavov shoves Dolidze to the mat and stands over him, then lets him up.
Head kick attempt from Dolidze. Both men missing punches and then Dolidze resorts to going back to the clinch. He likely needs a finish though.
Back to striking range, but not for long as Imavov manages to shunt around to his back. Imavov going for that head kick from this position again and thankfully Dolidze’s hand isn’t down this time.
Imavov working for a takedown and Dolidze tries for a toe-hold submission. Imavov able to get out of that and now drops down an elbow as Dolidze tries to go in for a takedown.
Back to the clinch stalling now against the cage from Dolidze. Only two minutes to go. Ref doesn’t put up with that for long before breaking them up.
leg kick and a couple of winging punches from Dolidze. Crisp right hand from Imavov and Dolidze is clinching again. Imavov reverses the position. Elbow from Imavov. They separate. imavov stuffs a takedown attempt.
Right and for Imavov. He stuffs another takedown and when Dolidze tries to stand he punches him. Imavov standing over him now and a tired Dolidze gets back up. Final punches thrown and we’re headed to the scorecards.
Even with the point deduction for the illegal head kick to a grounded opponent it still felt like this was Imavov’s fight overall, clearly getting the better of the striking exchanges, with his right hand in particular working to good effect and indeed he came close to finding a finish in the opening round.
That left Dolidze often resorting to ineffectual clinch work over the course of the five-rounder, so with that in mind it was a little surprising to see one judge calling the fight as a draw. However, the other two see it in Imavov’s favor and so he wins via majority decision (49-46, 47-47, 48-46).