Epic Night, Epic Fights: Imavov's Rise and UFC Fight Night 235

Nassourdine Imavov (13-4-0) finally managed to return with victories and for the first time in his career he defeated the top 10 fighters in the UFC middleweight category

by Sededin Dedovic
Epic Night, Epic Fights: Imavov's Rise and UFC Fight Night 235
© Mike Stobe / Getty Images

Nassourdine Imavov's recent victory in a UFC middleweight bout not only marks a triumphant return and sets the stage for potential changes in the division's landscape. The French fighter's stellar performance against Roman Dolidze at UFC Fight Night 235 showed a level of skill and versatility that positions him as a serious middleweight contender.

A lot of new quality fighters are emerging which reflects the popularity that MMA and UFC are enjoying now. MMA is being trained all over the world, which no one could have imagined some 15 years ago. The Frenchman's road to victory began in the first round when he effortlessly strung together a breathtaking combination against the cage.

With precision and power, he launched an uppercut, followed by a knee to the body, and finished it off with two jabs with left hands that sent Dolidze crashing to the canvas. Imav's ground and pound further demonstrated his dominance, bringing the fight to the brink of a stoppage.

However, Dolidze's resilience was great as he weathered the storm and survived until the final bell. What really set Imavov apart throughout the match was his superior striking skills. Dolidze, known for his strength and ability to close the distance, was consistently thwarted by Imavov's well-rounded and varied striking repertoire.

He simply attacks with both hands legs with knees, he has really many weapons and it is very difficult to make a defense plan against such a fighter. A significant striking statistic, which heavily favored Imavov at 112-34, underlined his command of the grappling aspect.

That is enough proof of what kind of fighter and what kind of punching machine we are talking about. A particularly intriguing moment occurred in the fourth round, adding a touch of controversy to the match. Dolidze, positioned with one hand on the ground, should have been immune to blows to the head under existing rules.

However, Imavov decided to land a high kick, prompting referee Herb Dean to momentarily stop the fight. Despite this, Dolidze showed warrior spirit by deciding not to seek a disqualification of Imavov, allowing the fight to continue.

The subsequent deduction of points against Imavov caused consternation, especially when referee Ron McCarthy scored the match 47-47. The takedown, along with a 10-8 run for Dolidze in the fourth, contributed to this confusing result.

Judges Derek Cleary and Sal d'Amato, however, gave the scores 49-44 and 48-46 in favor of Imavov, cementing his victory by majority decision. Regardless of the result of the referee McCarthy Imamov won, and anyone who watched the match knows that Dolidze should be happy because he walked out of the octagon alive.

Imav's triumph catapults him into the top 10 of the middleweight rankings, signaling a new shift in a super interesting division. With Dolidze, previously ranked eighth, likely to face a drop in the rankings, Imav's rise brings new dynamism to the division's title picture.

Other matches

Renato Moicano exits octagon after win© Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

The Event also witnessed outstanding performances from other fighters, adding layers of excitement throughout the duration of the Event.

Renato Moicano returned after a one-year hiatus with a decisive victory over Drew Dobero. Moican's control of the field showed his tactical prowess, nullifying Dober's striking power. Dober simply could not get into a position to cause more damage to Moican, who controlled the situation the whole time and wowed the audience.

After this match, it should be clear to everyone that this man should be seen as a force to be reckoned with in the lightweight division. The spectacular knockout of Randy Brown against Muslim Salihov showed all the unpredictability and explosiveness of the welterweight division, and the audience comes for such matches.

Brown's precision and power were on full display as he knocked out his opponent in just three minutes and 17 seconds, securing his twelfth victory in the UFC Octagon. It was clear from the beginning that Brown started aggressively, Salihov tried to resist the attacks, but the strength and knockout power of Brown's punch decided the match.

The women's division also had an interesting twist as Natalia Silva continued her undefeated streak, defeating Viviane Araujo via unanimous decision. While Silva's performance may not have reached the heights of her previous fights where we could see spectacular finishes, her consistent success in the UFC cements her status as a rising star in women's MMA.

Probably the fighter with the most potential, and already now she deserves a big match in order to make a step forward in her career. In a short but impactful encounter, the clash between Mahmuda Muradov and Aliaskhab Khizriev came to an abrupt end after just 11 seconds due to an unfortunate eye poke that left Muradov unable to continue.

On the slow-motion video, you could see that the stabbing was very serious, so it is not surprising that Muradov and his team decided not to continue the fight. Such incidents are unfortunately a reality that shows the challenges and risks inherent in a sport like MMA.