The UFC kicked off its 2023 on Saturday night with UFC Vegas 67, featuring middleweights Sean Strickland and Nassourdine Imavov battling it out up a weight class.
The move north in weight was necessitated by Strickland stepping up on just a few days’ notice. That situation came about when Kelvin Gastelum, who had been expected to face Imavov in the latter’s first UFC main event, was forced to pull out due to a mouth injury.
Strickland, who closed out the year in 2022 in a losing effort against Jared Cannonier, was game for a second straight main event, but simply couldn’t make a second weight cut in such a short window. Regardless, a win for either would almost certainly boost their stock in the middleweight division where new champ Alex Pereira now reigns.
In the UFC Vegas 67 co-main event, meanwhile, Damon “The Leech” Jackson was getting a step up in competition after winning four straight. Paired up with Hawaii’s Dan Ige, Jackson had an opportunity to potentially crack the top 15, while #13-ranked Ige was hoping to snap a three-fight skid.
Following Saturday night’s event at the UFC Apex, be sure to tune in to the post-fight press conference to keep up with all the developing storylines. A live stream is available in the embed above.