EXCLUSIVE | Nassourdine Imavov ‘Unimpressed’ By Adesanya-Whittaker 2, Picks Jared Cannonier To Win Title

Nassourdine Imavov
Mandatory Credit: Mike Strobe

Streaking MMA Factory standout, Nassourdine Imavov has claimed that he was somewhat “unimpressed” viewing a cautious middleweight title rematch of Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker at UFC 271. And believes Jared Cannonier has the skillset to become a future titleholder. 

Nassourdine Imavov, who is currently riding a two-fight winning run, most recently grounded out the highly-touted, Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 268 back in November, stopping the Glendale Fight Club trainee with a series of third round ground strikes from mounted crucifix.

In the time since, Imavov has booked a middleweight outing against the #10 ranked, Kelvin Gastelum for UFC 273 on April 9. – attempting to improve on his #12 rank in the division. 

The Dagestan native turned in an impressive TKO win over Ian Heinisch back in July of last year before his stoppage success against Shahbazyan, and given his swift climb to the top-15 in the official middleweight rankings, has been touted to eventually contend for undisputed division gold in the future.

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Nassourdine Imavov boasts a 3-1 promotional record heading into his UFC 273 clash with Kelvin Gastelum

Tuning in to UFC 271 last weekend last week, Imavov revealed that he was disappointed with the display from both Adesanya and Whittaker, detailing how he wished the two had turned in a less cautious approach to the title rematch.

“I thought that it was – I was a little bit disappointed,” Nassourdine Imavov told LowKick MMA reporter, Jordan Ellis, through his interpreter and head coach, Fernand Lopez. “I wasn’t that impressed. That was a good fight, don’t get me wrong, but I thought that was a little bit cautious from them (Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker). And I thought Adesanya went to some part that would cause him the victory in the next fight.”

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“I think, because he (Israel Adesanya) run through all the division already, he feels like you don’t have any challenge anymore,” Nassourdine Imavov said. “I don’t know but, I was a little bit frustrated to do now have more than one assault (sic).”

On the same card as Adesanya’s title rematch win over Whittaker, middleweight contender, Jared Cannonier appeared to punch his ticket to a title shot, courtesy of a series of elbows to ground out Derek Brunson.

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And with the promotion likely to field Adesanya a bout against the Texan next, Imavov believes Cannonier could present the contender to dethrone the Nigerian-Kiwi, should Adesanya become too comfortable in his reign over the division.

“I think that (Jared) Cannonier can be a future champion,” Nassourdine Imavov said. “I think his style is not easy to deal with. And also, like I was saying, if Adesanya becomes comfortable and does not find the motivation to work his ass off on the wrestling department, Cannonier can just work on him, and go there, and, you know, shock the world.” 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.