Opinion | Fights To Make After UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs. Imavov

UFC Vegas 67

UFC Vegas 67 kicked off 2023 for the UFC as we journey into what will undoubtedly be another fantastic year for Mixed Martial Arts.

Sean Strickland and Nassourdine Imavov headlined the first event of the year, with the short-notice challenger making the most of his quick turn-around. In the bantamweight division, Umar Nurmagomedov more than lived up to the challenge of Raoni Barcelos, stoppage the Brazilian with a highlight reel KO.

With plenty of action occurring at UFC Vegas 67, let us take a look at what should come next for those who emerged victorious at the UFC Apex.

Sean Strickland

Middleweight contender, Sean Strickland made good of his short-notice opportunity after Kelvin Gastelum had to withdraw from the bout. Strickland scored a unanimous decision victory over France’s Nassourdine Imavov in the main event.

With most of his peers already scheduled to fight, I think Strickland may have to fight down in the rankings and with that, I would like to see him take on the man whom he replaced, Kelvin Gastelum.

Dan Ige

Dan Ige put his trademark power to good use when he finished Damon Jackson in the second round of their matchup. After snapping a three-fight losing streak ‘50K’ will look to build momentum in order to earn himself a shot at the featherweight title. I think he could seriously push himself into the conversation and up the rankings if he were to face 8th-ranked contender, Giga Chikadze.

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Roman Kopylov

Roman Kopylov made it back-to-back victories since joining the UFC after he finished Soriano in the second round of their matchup. Every outing Koyplov seems to show an improved level of his striking ability and therefore I would like him to go against a competitor with more of a wrestling base. One man who certainly fits that bill is Australia’s Jacob Malkoun who will be looking to snap a two-fight skid on his return to the octagon.

Raquel Pennington

Raquel Pennington scored her 5th consecutive victory this past weekend when she got the nod from the judges, defeating Ketlen Viera via a split decision. Earning that number of victories should be enough for ‘Rocky’ to rematch against divisional champion, Amanda Nunes. Nunes defeated her in the pair’s first meeting via TKO at UFC 224.

Umar Nurmagomedov

A perfect 16-0 for Umar Nurmagomedov. The Dagestani landed a clean body kick and follow-up punch to become the first man to TKO Raoni Barcelos. Umar Nurmagomedov is the real deal if you didn’t believe it.  The 27-year-old called for a return to action as early as March, I have no problem with fast-tracking Umar to a title contention; that is why I would like to see him take on 3rd ranked contender, Merab Dvalishvili.

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Fights To Make After UFC Vegas 67

Javid Basharat

Javid Basharat also extended his perfect unbeaten record as he handed Mateus Mendonca his first professional loss. Basharat scored his third victory this weekend at UFC Vegas 67 and therefore it seems now is the right time for him to begin taking on ranked contenders. What better place to start than by fighting the man he called for in his post-fight interview, Chris Gutierrez.

Abdul Razak Alhassan

In a battle of powerhouses, it was Abdul Razak Alhassan who emerged victorious against Claudio Ribeiro. I have no problem seeing Alhassan face as dangerous strikers as himself and that is why I would like to see him take on fellow power puncher, Brazil’s Bruno Silva.

Mateusz Rebecki

Mateusz Rebecki cruised to victory over a short-notice opponent, Nick Fiore this past weekend. Rebecki got the nod on the judge’s scorecards but somewhat disappointed some fans who expected him to breeze through his opponent early on in the bout.

It is clear for all to see that the Polish lightweight carries serious punching power. Therefore, I would like to see him take on fellow heavy-handed 155-er in Mike Davis.

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Allan Nascimento

Allan Nascimento notched his 14th professional submission victory this past weekend in a flyweight battle of grappling wizards against, Carlos Hernandez.

Nascimento could arguably already have earned a shot against someone in the flyweight rankings but to secure that thought further, I would first like to see him take on another flyweight with whom he shared that card, Charles Johnson.

Dan Argueta

Dan Argueta controlled Nick Aguirre for nearly the entire duration of their bout as he cruised to a unanimous decision victory in the second bout of the evening. Argueta used his wrestling to control his opponent comfortably. Therefore, I would like to see how he would hold himself against a dangerous striker in ‘The Sniper’, Sean Woodson.

Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson opened the card for UFC Vegas 67 and kicked off 2023 for the promotion. Johnson made good of his opening slot when he dismissed the returning Jimmy Flick in the very first round of their matchup. A somewhat early stoppage won’t phase Johnson as he secured his first victory inside the promotion, let’s see if he could secure a second if he were to take on the aforementioned, Allan Nascimento.

Only a week after returning we shall be treated to the promotion’s first numbered event of the year as the UFC return to Brazil for UFC 283. Be sure to return next week to see whom we match up with the divisional champions and the remaining contenders competing on the card.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these choices? Let me know your thoughts on UFC Vegas 67 and share below how you would matchmake for the winners from the promotion’s first card of the year.