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Sean Strickland vs. Abus Magomedov full fight preview | UFC Vegas 76

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight strikers Sean Strickland and Abus Magomedov will go to war TONIGHT (Sat., July 1, 2023) at UFC Vegas 76 in UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mr. Apex” Sean Strickland is set for his fifth headliner in a mostly empty venue, a backhanded compliment if I’ve ever seen one. That said, Strickland deserves some credit here. He’s putting a lot on the line by taking on a dangerous and experienced fighter without much name value. He should be fighting a fellow contender, but instead he puts his hard-earned ranking up for grabs. Magomedov, meanwhile, is looking to capitalize on that gamble. A Professional Fighters League (PFL) veteran, Magomedov is a ferocious finisher with a ton of experience against good competition. Even if he’s not known to casual fans, the Russian is a far from a pushover.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 79 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Sean Strickland

Record: 26-5
Key Wins: Jack Hermansson (UFC Vegas 47), Nassourdine Imavov (UFC Vegas 67), Uriah Hall (UFC Vegas 33), Brendan Allen (UFC Vegas 14), Krzysztof Jotko (UFC Vegas 25), Nordine Taleb (UFC Fight Night 138)
Key Losses: Alex Pereira (UFC 276), Jared Cannonier (UFC Vegas 66), Kamaru Usman (UFC 210), Elizeu Zalaeski dos Santos (UFC 224)
Keys to Victory: Strickland is a volume puncher with underrated ground skills. He can pressure or work from the back foot, and his ability to parry punches and fire right back is a huge part of his success.

In this bout, I’d like to see Strickland pressuring Magomedov. The Russian athlete is the superior kicker, so putting him on the back foot is immediately a good idea. Furthermore, Magomedov is known to slow down a bit and doesn’t have the five-round experience of Strickland. Pressuring him will put additional stress on his conditioning, as well as lessen the advantage of Magomedov’s speed.

The jab is always an important weapon for Strickland, but in this match up, he has to use that shot to build combinations and close forward. Doubling and tripling up on the jab is a great idea that will help Strickland chew up distance and line up his right hand. Lastly, Strickland should be kicking too. His teep and low kick are good weapons, and they’ll help prevent Magomedov from pulling ahead at distance.

Abus Magomedov

Record: 25-4-1
Key Wins: Dustin Stoltzfus (UFC Paris), Cezariusz Kesik (KSW 57), Danillo Villefort (PFL 2018)
Key Losses: Louis Taylor (PFL 2018)
Keys to Victory: Magomedov may be a UFC newcomer, but he’s got plenty of experience around the globe. A nasty finisher, Magomedov excels at blitzing his opponents with crafty combinations, and he’s actually a very good wrestler to boot!

Against Strickland, Magomedov has to make this a kickboxing battle rather than a boxing match. He can put together his punches well enough, but Strickland’s pocket comfort and volume probably keeps him ahead in that style of fight.

Fortunately, Magomedov’s kicking game is nasty. Strickland’s reliance on the jab leaves him vulnerable to the right low kick, particularly if Magomedov can leave an extra step of distance and get Strickland reaching with his punches. A bit of extra distance will help Magomedov counter as well, so forcing Strickland to walk through hard kicks into heavy counter shots seems like an ideal strategy.

Bottom Line

Sean Strickland is taking a serious gamble here for the second time in a row.

Clearly defeating Imavov should have put Strickland back in the mix, especially since his 25-minute decision loss to Cannonier was a coin-flip decision. Instead, he’s taking on a dangerous opponent who casual fight fans don’t know anything about. If Strickland loses, he’s going to plummet down the rankings, while a win doesn’t move him up the ladder at all.

Conversely, Magomedov can skyrocket himself up into the Top 10 in just his second UFC fight! Strickland is a tough task certainly, but there are worse match ups in those ranks for the Russian. If he can score the upset, Magomedov is instantly in the mix at 185 pounds and should become a better known name.

At UFC Vegas 76, Sean Strickland and Abus Magomedov will go to war in the main event. Which athlete will earn the win?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 76 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN/ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 76: “Strickland vs. Magomedov” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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