Chris Curtis stepped back inside the Octagon for the second time in 2023 and looking for his first win of the year after coming up short against Kelvin Gastelum in April.
Meeting him inside the cage at UFC 289 on Saturday night was middleweight standout Nassourdine Imavov. ‘Russian Sniper’ saw his three-fight win streak snapped in his last outing, suffering a unanimous decision defeat against Sean Strickland in January. Prior to the loss, Imavov had scored three-straight W’s against Ian Heinisch, Edmen Shahbazyan, and Joaquin Buckley. Looking to stay relevant in the 185-pound title picture, both men entered the matchup determined to make a statement in front of a raucous Canadian crowd.
Chris Curtis came out immediately targeting the left of Imavov and applying pressure. Despite a sizeable advantage in size and reach, Imavov struggled to find his way inside in the early going. Imavov focuses on oblique kicks in order to slow down the pressure from Curtis. Seeing a moment of opportunity, Imavov moved in and grabbed a hold of Curtis, dragging him down to the canvas. Curtis posts his way back up but struggled to break Imavov’s grip. With 90 seconds left in the round, Curtis is able to create separation. Imavov moves in close and lands a big elbow strike. Imavov pressures Curtis to the fence and once again drags ‘Action Man’ down to the mat, taking his back immediately. Imavov looks for a rear-naked choke but is unable to get it locked in under his chin before the round comes to a close.
Chris Curtis slips in the opening seconds of round two, but no harm is done as he bounces back up and resets. Curtis continues to bring pressure, attacking the leg of Imavov, but struggling to find his target upstairs. Imavov is looking like a significantly faster fighter as he’s able to keep Curtis out of range and counter effectively. Imavov ties up with Curtis and pushes him to the fence. They briefly separate, but Imavov moves in again to clinch and there is an accidental clash of heads. The referee pauses action as Curtis begins bleeding over his right eye. During the pause, Curtis exclaimed on more than one occasion that he was unable to see. As a result, referee Jason Herzog called for the official stoppage, dubbing the bout a no-contest.
Official Result: Chris Curtis vs. Nassourdine Imavov is ruled a no-contest following an accidental headbutt at 3:04 of Round 2.
Check Out Highlights From Chris Curtis vs. Nassourdine Imavov at UFC 289 Below:
— Ian O'Neill (@ioneillmma) June 11, 2023
Not how anyone wanted to see this one end. ❌
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) June 11, 2023
— UFC (@ufc) June 11, 2023