UFC® KICKS OFF 2023 WITH THRILLING
MIDDLEWEIGHT CONTENDERS’ BOUT BETWEEN
(#12) NASSOURDINE IMAVOV AND (#13) KELVIN GASTELUM
(#13) DAN IGE vs. DAMON JACKSON
Las Vegas – UFC® kicks the year off with a thrilling middleweight contenders’ clash that will see No. 12 ranked Nassourdine Imavov battle No. 13 Kelvin Gastelum. Also, No. 13 ranked featherweight contender Dan Ige squares off with streaking Damon Jackson.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: IMAVOV vs. GASTELUM will take place Saturday, January 14 at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The entire card will be available on ESPN+ in English and Spanish, with the main card starting at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT and the prelims at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT.
Rising star Imavov (12-3, fighting out of Paris, France) hopes to make the most of his first UFC main event opportunity. A well-rounded competitor who is currently riding a three-fight win streak, he holds notable victories over Joaquin Buckley, Edmen Shahbazyan and Ian Heinisch. Imavov now goes for the biggest win of his career to prove he is a threat in the middleweight title picture.
Former interim middleweight title challenger Gastelum (17-8 1NC, fighting out of Yuma, Ariz.) looks to start his 2023 campaign on the right track. The winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 17, he has delivered spectacular finishes over Michael Bisping, Tim Kennedy and Jake Ellenberger. Gastelum now intends to halt Imavov’s momentum with another vintage win.
Ige (15-6, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev. by way of Haleiwa, Hawaii) aims to begin the year with a vintage performance. A gritty and well-rounded competitor, he has secured impressive wins against Gavin Tucker, Edson Barboza and Danny Henry. Ige now plans to defend his spot in the rankings by turning back another budding contender.
Jackson (22-4-1 1NC, fighting out of Dallas, Texas) looks to make the most of his first UFC co-main event opportunity. An exciting submissions specialist, he has earned memorable victories over Pat Sabatini, Charles Rosa and Mirsad Bektic. Jackson now has his sights set on stopping Ige to enter the UFC featherweight Top 15.
Additional bouts on the card include:
- Exciting middleweights collide when Punahele Soriano (9-2, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev. by way of Oahu, Hawaii) takes on Roman Kopylov (9-2, fighting out of Bachatsky, Kemerovo, Russia)
- No. 2 ranked bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira (13-2, fighting out of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil) looks to stake her claim for a title shot when she takes on former title challenger and current No. 5 Raquel Pennington (14-9, fighting out of Colorado Springs, Colo.)
- No. 11 ranked bantamweight contender Umar Nurmagomedov (15-0, fighting out of Kizilyurt, Russia) battles Raoni Barcelos (17-3, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
- Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Claudio Ribeiro (10-2, fighting out of Jundiai, São Paulo, Brazil) faces Abdul Razak Alhassan (11-5, fighting out of Denver, Colo. by way of Accra, Ghana) in an intriguing middleweight bout
- Dana White’s Contender Series signee Mateusz Rebecki (16-1, fighting out of Szczecin, Poland) locks horns with short-notice replacement Nick Fiore (6-0, fighting out of Windham, N.H.) in a clash of debuting lightweights
- Javid Basharat (13-0, fighting out of London, England by way of Paktia, Afghanistan) takes on Mateus Mendonca (10-0, fighting out of Pindare Mirim, Maranhao, Brazil) in a battle of unbeaten bantamweights
- Allan Nascimento (19-6, fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) meets Carlos Hernandez (8-1, fighting out of Chicago, Ill.) at flyweight
- Undefeated newcomer Isaac Dulgarian (5-0, fighting out of Kansas City, Mo.) squares off with Daniel Argueta (8-1, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M. by way of Orland Park, Ill.) at featherweight
- Charles Johnson (12-3, fighting out of St. Louis, Mo.) takes on returning Jimmy Flick (16-5, fighting out of Tulsa, Okla.) at flyweight
- Priscila Cachoeira (12-4, fighting out of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) faces Sijara Eubanks (8-7, fighting out of Brick, N.J. by way of Springfield, Mass.) in a hard-hitting flyweight matchup