UFC Louisville: Imavov TKOs Cannonier, Stoppage Questioned

Jared Cannonier and Nassourdine Imavov, UFC Louisville
Jared Cannonier and Nassourdine Imavov, UFC Louisville weigh-in Credit: Youtube/UFC

At age 40, middleweight Jared Cannonier was looking to defeat not just Nassourdine Imavov at UFC Louisville, but father time as well, in an effort to work his way back to a second title shot.

Coming up short against Israel Adesanya in 2022, Cannonier had bounced back with two straight wins, including a record-setting (most strikes in a middleweight fight) performance against Marvin Vettori last June.

With Saturday’s main event underway, it was Cannonier looking to land the power shots, but Imavov appeared to have some success with the jab early, using his length well. Cannonier, however, connected with a few calf kicks that would be worth keeping an eye on. Just over a minute it, Cannonier took the fight to the fence, and got Imavov down, though the French middleweight quickly moved to one knee. Off the break, it was Cannonier with an elbow over the top.

Before any more action unfolded, the ref warned Imavov for having his fingers outstretched. Then it was back to work, with Cannonier landing a couple more low kicks. Despite Imavov being the longer fighter, Cannonier wasn’t having too much trouble getting inside, though Imavov caught a kick and dumped his opponent with about two minutes still on the clock. He couldn’t capitalize on it however.

Between rounds, the ref again advised Imavov and his corner about fingers being outstretched. With the second underway, Cannonier went back to his low kicks, then basically pushed Imavov to the ground, though he was quickly back up. Imavov would try to answer Cannonier’s leg kicks with one of his own, but it did not land with the same authority. Cannonier, meanwhile, drove Imavov into the fence, eating a few elbows in the process. A lot of grappling, and Imavov potentially slowing a step, though he’d had the speed advantage from the outset.

Round three saw Imavov in the driver’s seat really for the first significant amount of time in the fight. He controlled from the back along the fence early, but Cannonier would reverse with over three minutes on the clock. The grueling, grinding battle wasn’t helping anyone’s case for a title shot, however. Near the midway mark, Imavov found his range, sending Imavov backpedaling twice before Cannonier answered with a combo. Still, a much better frame for Nassourine Imavov as they headed to round four.

The complexion of the fight changed drastically early in round four. Less than 90 seconds in, Imavov rocked Cannonier with a right hand, causing him to stumble back! Imavov went after “The Killa Gorilla,” landing a knee, then landed several more times as Cannonier retreated. Cannonier was covering up, moving back and forth, and the ref waved things off to an immediate protest- perhaps deservedly, as Cannonier did not appear to be out of the fight at that point.

The crowd didn’t like it, nor did Cannonier though he showed good sportsmanship in embracing Imavov after the result was read. Still, UFC Louisville will go down as a big win for Nassourdine Imavov.

Official Result: Nassourdine Imavov def. Jared Cannonier by TKO, Round 4, 1:34