New York, NY — To put it lightly, Nassourdine Imavov tuned up Edmen Shahbazyan, a prospect once heralded as the future of the middleweight division, at UFC 268.
The end came with Shahbazyan trapped in a crucifix, France’s Imavov (11-3) raining down ground n’ pound.
“I feel good. Everything went exactly as we planned it, so I’m very happy,” Imavov told members of the media following the fight.
Despite having Shabazyan caught in some dicey submission attempts, the “Russian Sniper” wasn’t shocked that he was unable to put his opponent away sooner.
“I wasn’t surprised. I was expecting him to be tough,” Imavov said during his post-fight scrum. “I knew at that level, you can try to submit someone and you won’t succeed, so I didn’t give 100%.” Imavov, however, knew that he’d eventually finish it — and he did, just prior to the end of the second round.
Coming off his second straight win, the French middleweight is aiming high for his next opponent. “I hope they’re going to give me someone above me. I just beat a top 11, so I think that I should get someone in the top ten, maybe the top five, but I’m ready for anyone.”
With the #11-ranked Shahbazyan entering the bout on a two-fight skid, he’d made considerable changes to his camp. But to hear Imavov tell it, there were no surprises Saturday. “Not really, I wasn’t that surprised by anything especially.”
Except perhaps for one thing: “What kind of surprised me was maybe the fact that he was very tough. Resilient. He wouldn’t tap, he wouldn’t let go. So I was kind of surprised by that determination that he had.”
Watch the full UFC 268 post-fight press conference with Nassourdine Imavov above. More coverage of the event can be found below.