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UFC Fight Night – Strickland v Imavov betting picks | 14/1/23

Sean Strickland vs Nasourdin Imavov

Latest Odds & Fight Info

Main Event odds Strickland +100 at Bovada | Imavov -121.95 at Bovada
When Saturday, January 14 – main card from 3pm PST
Where UFC APEX – Las Vegas, United States
Watch Live ESPN+ (US), BT Sport (UK), ESPN (AU), UFC Fight Pass

Sean Strickland steps up on short notice to face Nasourdin Imavov at the UFC Apex Centre in Las Vegas after a late injury ruled out Kelvin Gastelum. The bout will be staged at light heavyweight, to accommodate Strickland’s abbreviated training camp, and should be a classic stand-up contest featuring high level striking from both men.

Sean Strickland (25-5-0) loves to fight. The man does not train in the gym like traditional MMA athletes, instead he throws down with tiny four-ounce UFC gloves in a regulation-sized octagon. That is almost the entirety of his preparation. While this might ultimately shorten his career due to the volume of blows he endures, it presents a range of distinct advantages. Strickland is immune to pre-fight nerves. Squaring up to an opponent is just another day in the office.

He also slides out of danger with probably the greatest precision you will ever see. When Strickland is in the zone, the punches of his opponent consistently miss by an inch or two allowing him to counter from the perfect range. Fighters who train with bigger boxing style gloves can never match this exactness. He does not flinch to feints because the prospect of wearing a shot or two causes him little concern.

The downside of this style is that Strickland can become a little too cavalier for his own good, as seen in his early knock out loss to current middleweight champ Alex Periera. The punch that turned out the lights was a beautiful check hook, but Strickland fell victim to it because he was too casual in his response. This weakness was addressed in his most recent fight, a controversial points loss to Jared Cannonier.

Strickland landed more volume across five rounds and one judge thought he had done enough, but Cannonier arguably landed the heavier blows and the other two judges felt this was worthy of victory. Controversial scoring aside, with successive losses Strickland badly needs a win here to get back on track.

Nasourdin Imavov (12-3-0) enters this contest without the extensive experience of his opponent, but he has amassed a solid record including three wins on the trot. The victories came over lower credentialed names in Joaquin Buckley, Edmen Shabazyan, and Ian Heinisch, but winning form is good form and Imavov looks ready for a step up in grade. The Russian born fighter trains alongside Ciryl Gane at the MMA Factory in Paris France, and certainly knows his way around the octagon.

Imavov is a heavy hitter with a well-rounded stand-up game and boasts knockouts via punches, elbows, and knees. He has never been knocked out himself and only finished once, via submission in his first professional appearance back in 2016. Standing at 6’3’’ he will enjoy a slight height advantage in this match-up, but this is cancelled out by a one-inch reach disadvantage.

We can expect both men will endeavour to keep the fight standing, with Imavov the most likely aggressor. Strickland’s path to victory relies on the precision of his counter striking and a higher volume of output. He will look to slide out of range then respond with multiple shots that might only land with 50% power but will accumulate damage as the fight wears on. The American would normally have a cardio advantage, but his short notice acceptance might negate this edge.

We are going with Strickland to get the victory here with his broader experience. He was unfortunate to lose on the scorecards to Cannonier and will have a point to prove. His style should also matches favourably with Imavov’s technique.

Sean Strickland to win


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