Heavyweights are back! Curtis Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis is headlining this weekend’s UFC card at the UFC apex in Las Vegas and with a whole card filled with thrilling matchups, join me as I take a look at the bout to kick off the UFC Vegas 19 main card. In the middleweight division, Phil Hawes meets Nassourdine Imavov.
On a five-fight win streak since June 2019, Phil Hawes looks to extend his win column this weekend against a formidable opponent in Nassourdine Imavov. The one known as “Megatron” had a rough road to the worlds top MMA promotion with back to back defeats both being finishes and one being in his fight on Dana Whites Contender Series before signing with Bellator, he then went on to finish all of his opponents before getting a second chance with the Contender series and he did not disappoint TKO’ing Khadzimurat Bestaev. Since being signed he has fought once knocking out Jacob Malkoun 18 seconds into the first round.
With an identical record (9-2-0) to his opponent, Imavov enters the cage this weekend riding a 6 fight win streak with all but 2 coming by way of submission/TKO. After fighting in multiple promotions all over Europe, Imavov finally made it to the top in October last year where he debuted for the UFC against Jordan Williams winning by unanimous decision. Nassourdine is a very well rounded prospect and looks to showcase his skills on the feet and on the ground this weekend, although he will be looking to finish he is not afraid to leave it in the hands of the judges.
The Style Matchup
Phil Hawes has won all of his fights by way of submission/KO/TKO and his standup will definitely pose a threat against Imavov. His power is mostly held in his hands and he times his strikes perfectly if Imavov struggles to stay out of the pocket he will be in lots of trouble, however, if taken to the ground he is not necessarily in deep water. Although only having 2 wins by way of submission Hawes is not afraid of taking the fight to the ground but I think that is something he should avoid against Imavov as “The Russian Sniper” has more time on the ground and a higher submission rate (44%) compared to Hawes’ 22%.
Nassourdine Imavov will definitely be looking to take this fight to the ground as the striking advantage is with his opponent, however, Imavov has shown great distance managing in previous bouts and if he doesn’t get too close to Hawes’ short-range power strikes he may be able to outstrike and maybe even finish Phil on the feet. Either way, both men look to extend their winning streak this weekend at UFC Vegas 19, and both possess the skills to finish it in any way they want. This should be an exciting middleweight matchup and with a big showcase, the winner of this fight will definitely be getting the attention they deserve after this weekend.
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