Nassourdine Imavov: Jared Cannonier won’t hit me like he did ‘punching bag’ Marvin Vettori

Nassourdine Imavov is confident he will be a tougher puzzle for Jared Cannonier to solve than the former title challenger’s previous opponent.

Cannonier (17-6 MMA, 10-6 UFC) landed 241 strikes in his fight with Marvin Vettori last year. He believes Imavov (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) won’t be able to withstand that amount of damage when they meet in the UFC on ESPN 57 main event at KFC Yum! Center in Lousiville, Ky.

However, Imavov doesn’t think that his opponent will have the opportunity to test that theory, as he sees the fight unfolding much differently.

“Regarding the question if I’m going to be able to take punches, I’m going to be able to take punches if I need to, but the real question is: Is he going to be able to hit me?” Imavov told MMA Junkie. “I’m not Marvin Vettori. I’m a completely different style. Marvin is slow, like a punching bag, not moving fast. He’s not even young. His style of fighting is very different to mine.”

Imavov is coming off a majority decision win over Roman Dolidze in February. He’s looking to build momentum and make a run at the UFC middleweight belt.

“It moves me very close to the belt and the best in the world, so I’m highly motivated by this fight,” Imavov said.

His plan is to beat Cannonier on Saturday and then get another big fight in the UFC’s expected return to Paris, France in September.

“Of course, I’m planing to stay active,” Imavov said. “Waiting is not necessarily a good option. Sometimes you wait and nothing happens. I want to stay active and keep fighting, especially I would like to be on the UFC Paris fight card.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 57.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie