Multiple sources confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday, with verbal agreements in place from the fighters. ESPN initially reported the matchup.
A mainstay in the middleweight rankings for the past few years, Gastelum will look to right his ship when he returns in April after a 1-5 run in his past six fights. The former interim title contender has faced a murderer’s row of competition lately, including his last two fights against Jared Cannonier and Robert Whittaker.
Now Gastelum will face off with one of the fastest rising stars in the division as Imavov seeks to pick up the most impactful win of his young career since joining the UFC.
Imavov steps into the fight with an 11-3 record highlighted by back-to-back knockout wins over Edmen Shahbazyan and Ian Heinisch in his last two performances. A student of MMA Factory head coach Fernand Lopez and teammate of UFC interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane, Imavov has long been touted as a future contender at 185 pounds.
Gastelum vs. Imavov is the latest addition to the UFC 273 fight card, which will be headlined by a pair of title fights as Alexander Volkanovski defends his featherweight belt against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, while Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling clash to determine an undisputed bantamweight champion.