There is UFC action to look ahead to this weekend, as UFC Fight Night takes place at the UFC Apex in Nevada. The main event on the card will see Sean Strickland take on Nassourdine Imavov. Imavov’s visa issues saw a bout with Kevin Gastelum called off, and the rescheduled bout was set to take place this weekend. However, Gastelum was forced to pull out through injury and was subsequently replaced by Strickland.
The BetXchange odds have been live since the announced bout was slated, and there is a tight feel about this match-up. Imavov is the narrow favourite at the prices, with the fighter currently priced up at 8/10. However, Strickland winning wouldn’t be a massive surprise, as he is currently available at 1/1.
There has been a slightly rushed feel to this bout on Fight Night, but it promises to be an exciting fight in the light heavyweight division. Sean Strickland comes into the bout after a pretty rapid turnaround, as he was last in the octagon in just December. However, it wasn’t a winning night for the American, as he lost by split decision against Jared Cannonier. That was the second straight defeat that he had suffered in the octagon, with his previous loss coming by first round knockout in July against Alex Pereira.
Before that stunning defeat, Strickland was in excellent form, as he had won his previous six fights, with two being won inside the distance. He has shared the octagon with a number of huge stars throughout his career, which includes a decision defeat against Kamaru Usman back in 2017. His latest victory was picked up at the start of 2022, as he beat Jack Hermansson by split decision.
The pressure is likely to be on Imavov for this bout on Saturday, as he holds a very respectable professional record of 12-3. His only defeat in the UFC was suffered at the hands of Phil Hawes by majority decision in February 2021, but he has come back excellently following that loss. The fighter comes into this bout after winning his previous three, with two of those victories coming by TKO.
He was last in the octagon last year, as he was on the undercard of Fight Night in Paris. Imavov put on an excellent display on a historic night in France, as he managed to score a unanimous decision victory against Joaquin Buckley. But, it could be argued that this is his biggest test to date in the UFC on Saturday.
Strickland VS Imavov Prediction
This will be a big test for Imavov, but Strickland will present a very stern test if the Russian is going to get the win. The opening rounds look set to be vitally important on Saturday, but we could see Imavov making his presence felt from the opening bell. Strickland’s quick turnaround could count against him as the fight progresses, and we could see a late stoppage scored by Imavov.