Sean Strickland has agreed to step into the main event of UFC Vegas 67 later this week.
Kevin Gastelum was supposed to face Nassourdine Imavov in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 217 or UFC Vegas 67. Gastelum is now out of the bout after he suffered an injury to his mouth.
The report comes from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto who confirmed the change in main event through UFC officially. In addition to change in fighters, the bout will also be changed to Light Heavyweight or 205 lbs in light of very less time left for Sean Strickland to make 185 lbs.
Strickland was actually active last month as he headline UFC’s last event in 2022, UFC Vegas 66 on December 17. He faced Jared Cannonier and lost that bout via a split decision. This was Strickland’s second loss in a row after he lost to (now Middleweight Champion) Alex Periera at UFC 276 PPV in July 2022. He still holds #7 spot in the UFC middleweight rankings.
Gastelum took to Twitter to react to his injury where he expressed his disappointment to start 2023 with an injury. He also rendered an apology to his opponent Nassourdine Imavov, fans and UFC.
Imavov enters the event on the back of 3 fights winning streak. He debuted in UFC in October 2020 with a win over Jordan Williams. Despite a late comeback, Imavov lost to Phil Hawes in his second UFC bout via majority decision.
He has since got knockout wins over Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan before a decision win over Joaquin Buckley to take his UFC record to 4-1(12-3 overall). He is currently at #12 in the UFC middleweight rankings.
Taking place on January 14, 2023, UFC Vegas 67 is the first event for UFC in 2023. the event will see Dan Ige vs Damon Jackson bout in the co-main event. Umar Nurmagomedov takes on Raoni Barcelos in the main card opener along with several other bouts.