The Frenchman is heading up the middleweight rankings after picking up the victory on Saturday in Las Vegas
There were some bumps along the way, but Nassourdine Imavov was able to outlast Roman Dolidze en route to a majority decision win in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event. Imavov landed the harder strikes throughout the fight, nearly getting the finish, but a foul in the fourth round nearly derailed an otherwise solid performance.
From the early moments, Imavov seemed the more dangerous man when the two worked at striking range. Dolidze tried to smother Imavov’s strikes by initiating a clinch along the cage but ate some close-range elbows for his trouble.
Back at distance, Imavov found continued success with straight right hands. While those rights landed well, it was a flurry of lefts that took Dolidze’s equilibrium and sent him to the canvas late in the first round.
To his credit, Dolidze survived the following onslaught on the ground, including heavy ground and pound and a deep armbar that was cut off when the horn sounded to end Round 1.
Despite being on shaky legs as he walked to his corner after the opening round, Dolidze spent Round 2 forcing Imavov — who appeared a bit fatigued after his sustained explosion in trying to get the finish in the first five minutes — into clinches along the cage. Dolidze’s success on initiating clinches came after beginning to duck under the right hand that had been so effective for Imavov in the first round.
Fatigue set in for both men hard beginning in the third round, with Imavov still landing hard power punches and Dolidze looking to clinch and not do much more with the position.
Things took a nasty turn in Round 4, with Imavov spinning in the clinch to take Dolidze’s back while standing. Dolidze put a hand on the mat but Imavov delivered a hard kick to the head anyway. That led to a point deduction after Imavov also began arguing with Dolidze’s corner. After the foul, Dolidze had his best moments of the fight, throwing a hard flurry and ending up on the ground attacking with a leg lock attempt.
Dolidze attempted to make something happen in the final round, pushing the pace with what little energy he had, but there was nothing there on the feet or the ground as Imavov landed the better shots in the round.
After five rounds of grueling action, the judges returned scorecards of 49-44, 47-47, 48-46. giving Imavov the win by majority decision.