Get hyped for the first major MMA card of 2023 with a big Strickland vs. Imavov prediction, plus the latest odds and betting insights from FanDuel.
New opponent, same preparation. That’s the theme of UFC Vegas 67’s light heavyweight main event between Sean Strickland and Nassourdine Imavov.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship slammed the door of 2022 shut, ending their calendar year with a main event middleweight clash between Strickland and Jared Cannonier. On paper, the matchup pointed to an absolute firefight between two offensive-minded fighters hunting for a famous finish. Instead, the combatants were rather reserved, handing us an opaque proceeding lacking a clear consensus regarding who was the better fighter.
Despite taking a split decision loss to the crystal-wielding “Killa Gorilla,” the hard-hitting, trash-talking Strickland will kick off 2023’s main event duties in a light heavyweight showdown against Imavov on short notice in place of the immovable, bricklike object known as Kelvin Gastelum. Originally slated for UFC 273 in Jacksonville, Florida, the bout was rescheduled after Imavov experienced visa issues only for a training ailment to force Gastelum out of this 2023 curtain-jerker.
Enter Strickland, who’s determined to build more down-for-whatever credentials in the cage.
From the fan perspective, MMA enthusiasts will hope for an action-packed night after enduring nearly a month without any UFC product to consume. So, will Strickland or Imavov set an explosive tone for UFC main events in 2023? From an organizational aspect, they have to. Pressure or not, rest assured that with an undercard deficiency of household names, UFC Vegas 67 will more than likely serve as a delicious appetizer for a stacked UFC 283 next week.
Our friends at FanDuel Sportsbook have set the lines incredibly thin, slightly in favor of Imavov. Let’s look at the odds and major prop bets for Saturday’s Sean Strickland vs. Nassourdine Imavov main event, plus a big fight prediction.
Sean Strickland vs. Nassourdine Imavov Fight Info
UFC Vegas 67 — Main Event Light Heavyweight Bout
*Fighter rankings are for the UFC middleweight division.
No. 7 Sean Strickland (25-5-0 10 KOs, 4 Submissions)
No. 12 Nassourdine Imavov (12-3-0 5 KOs, 4 Submissions)
Date: Saturday, January 14, 2022
Fight Time: The main card begins at 7 p.m. ET
Venue: UFC Apex Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Strickland vs. Imavov Odds to Win
Sean Strickland: +100
Nassourdine Imavov: -128
UFC Vegas 67 Imavov vs. Strickland Prop Bets
Method of victory
Will the fight go the distance?
Over/under total rounds
OVER 3.5: -110
UNDER 3.5: -116
Strickland vs. Imavov Prediction
- Projected winner: Imavov (55%)
- Projected method of victory: Decision (58%)
In his last outing, Strickland showed that he could steer away from traditional reckless abandon and display clean boxing. He’s a solid wrestler with excellent grappling defense and a substantial submission game that often goes unnoticed. Some of that is due to his heavy stand-up approach to fighting instead of the octagon. However, most of it stems from his “larger-than-life, colorful” persona outside of fighting that overshadows his abilities to compete with the top-ranked fighters in the UFC.
Imavov, meanwhile, prefers to do all of his talking with his fists. “The Russian Sniper” is currently riding a three-bout win streak, including a decision victory over the ferocious Joaquin Buckley his last time out. During the fight, Imavov showed that he could implement his game plan while taking punishment, staying present, and executing to win.
Strickland is fresh off a drawn-out loss that he believes he won, but more importantly, he’s also fresh off of the couch. Without an entire fight camp under his belt, I expect him to fall short against Imavov, the latter of whom will see his stock rise further.
While the odds are rightfully close, Imavov will often show dominance in spurts and eventually finish the job.
STRICKLAND VS. IMAVOV PREDICTION: Imavov by KO/TKO (+310)
UFC Vegas 67 Betting Trends & Stats
- Sean Strickland was defeated by Jared Cannonier via a split decision in his most recent fight on July 2, 2022.
- Nassourdine Imavov defeated Joaquin Buckley by unanimous decision in his most recent fight on September 3, 2022.
- Strickland averages 5.59 significant strikes landed per minute with a 40% accuracy rate.
- Imavov averages 4.08 significant strikes landed per minute with a 54% accuracy rate.
- Strickland averages 4.18 significant strikes absorbed per minute with a 64% defense rate.
- Imavov averages 2.43 significant strikes absorbed per minute with a 62% defense rate.
- Strickland has an 85% takedown defense rate.
- Imavov has a 76% takedown defense rate.
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