Nassourdine Imavov’s Win Over Roman Dolidze Should Spark Change

February 5, 2024
2 weeks

The downed fighter rule needs a new coat of paint. Over the past few months, there have been several controversial moments in a fight where a fighter put a hand down on the mat to stop a knee or kick, and the circumstances made it hard to tell if it was legal or not. Nassourdine Imavov was the latest victim of that Saturday night at the UFC Apex.

In the fourth round of a fight he was winning, Imavov fired off a kick right as Dolidze put his hand on the mat. Imavov connected flush with the side of Dolidze’s head, sending Dolidze crashing to the mat. Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight for an illegal strike.

Dolidze indicated that after taking some recovery time, he was ready to fight again. Dean did deduct a point, but Imavov and Dolidze went the distance. Imavov made a majority decision, but one judge ruled it a tie due to the point deduction.

The grounded fighter rule has been in place with athletic commissions in the United States because when MMA first came into existence, everyone was worried about deaths in the cage. Other promotions in the world allow grounded kicks and knees. It may be time for the UFC to adjust rules to prevent a repeat of the Dolidze fight.

Most MMA news sites believe a change is on the way. However, how long it will take to get all of the respective athletic commissions to get on board may result in some confusion over the rules for some time.

Moicano Overwhelms Dober

Renato Moicano didn’t get the quick finish he was looking for against Drew Dober during their lightweight bout. But Moicano didn’t make life look difficult in the co-main event. Moicano landed three takedowns and forced Dober to fight off submission attempts from his back.

While Moicano won 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards, the numbers are well in his favor. Moicano had a 142-36 edge in total strikes. Moicano hopes the win will allow him to fight another top-ranked contender next. Moicano, 34, is creeping closer to the wrong side of 35 and doesn’t want to waste any time trying to climb to the top.

Gorimbo Continues Fairy Tale Run

Themba Gorimbo fled his native Zimbabwe for South Africa as a teenager because he got caught digging for blood diamonds. Gorimbo was able to get overseas and find a way to the United States. Once there, Gorimbo continued to put in the hard work to try and pursue his dream of being a successful UFC fighter.

Gorimbo, who has received assistance from The Rock and many friends, family, and other fighters, continued to reward people’s faith in him. Gorimbo picked up his first knockout in the UFC by finishing Pete Rodriguez in 32 seconds.

The win improved Gorimbo’s record to 2-1 in the UFC. Before joining the organization, he had only $7.49 in his bank account, and he hopes to add many more numbers to that total.

Staking His Claim to UFC 300 Spot

Randy Brown had to wait a month or so to finally fight Muslim Salikhov at middleweight. The wait was worth it. In the first round, he connected with a short combination that floored Salikhov. He followed up with a ground strike to force a stoppage.

Brown has now won six of his past seven fights in the UFC. Brown called for a spot on the UFC 300 card after the win. The UFC always tries to stack its milestone pay-per-view cards, so Brown getting a spot on the card would be a big honor, according to MMA news sites.

Unlucky Stoppage Hauints Khizriev

Aliaskhab Khizriev’s attempt to climb the UFC middleweight rankings will have to wait. After Khizriev and Makhmud Muradov had their first exchange of the fight, Khizriev’s hand came up, and his thumb went into Muradov’s eye. The bout was waived off by Dean after Muradov said that he couldn’t see.

The fight tied a record for the fastest no-contest in UFC history. A fight between Kevin Casey and Antonio Carlos Junior ended in 11 seconds following an eye poke. MMA is a sport that will always have issues with eye pokes due to how the gloves are made.

Rough Sendoff to Retirement

Fighters talking about before an upcoming fight seems to be often a bad sign for the fighter thinking about the next stage of life. Diana Belbita proved to be no different. Belbita struggled to handle Molly McCann’s wrestling Saturday night.

A takedown late in the round allowed McCann to get into a dominant position. McCann took advantage of it and secured an armbar to force a stoppage with one second remaining in the first round. McCann had talked about retiring as well, but she decided to reinvent herself and drop to strawweight.

McCann looked energized fighting a new weight class.

Radtke Pulls off an Upset

Charles Radtke kicked off the main card in a fun fashion. Despite being a betting underdog, Radtke would end up overwhelming Gilbert Urbina with his power in a welterweight fight. Radtke trapped Gilbert Urbina on the side of the cage with 15 seconds left in the round.

Radtke floored Urbina with a short combination. He followed up with another shot on the ground, forcing a stoppage to the fight. Here’s a look at some of the other fights that weren’t mentioned above.

  • Women’s flyweight: Natalia Silva win by decision over Viviane Araújo, 29-28 (x3)
  • Flyweight: Charles Johnson win by decision over Azat Maksum, 29-28 (x3)
  • Featherweight: Lee Jeong-yeong win by decision over Blake Bilder, 30-27 (x3)
  • Catchweight: Luana Carolina win by TKO over Julija Stoliarenko, Round 3 4:52
  • Lightweight: Marquel Mederos win by decision Landon Quinones, 29-28 (x3)
  • Heavyweight: Jamal Pogues win by decision Thomas Petersen, 29-28 (x2), 30-27

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By Dean McHugh