The main event of the evening comes in the Light Heavyweight division, as Sean Strickland looks to erase a two-fight skid against the rising star Nassourdine Imavov.
The fight was originally scheduled as a middleweight bout between Imavov and Kelvin Gastelum. However, Gastelum, the former Ultimate Fighter 17 winner, unfortunately had to pull out of the fight due to a gruesome mouth injury.
On less than a week’s notice, Strickland is making his eighteenth UFC appearance. Ranked seventh in the middleweight division and still considered a top contender, this is a big opportunity for him to climb back up the totem.
Strickland vs Imavov Betting Odds (UFC Fight Night 217)
While the odds are dead even, Nassourdine Imavov is gaining steam as a favorite. Which statistically has been favorable for Imavov, who is a perfect 3-0 in the UFC as a favorite. As an underdog, Imavov is only 1-1.
If Strickland were to slide to an underdog, it would be his seventh time as such in eighteen UFC fights. Faring well as an underdog, Strickland is 4-2. As a favorite, Strickland is 8-3.
UFC 217 Fight Card Betting Odds
|Damon Jackson (-104) vs. Dan Ige (-116)|
|Roman Kopylov (+135) vs. Punahele Soriano (-155)|
|Raquel Pennington (+105) vs. Ketlen Vieira (-155)|
|Raoni Barcelos (+700) vs. Umar Nurmagomedov (-1000)|
|Abdul Razak Alhassan (-108) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (-112)|
|Nick Fiore (+550) vs. Mateusz Rebecki (-800)|
|Mateus Mendonca (+280) vs. Javid Basharat (-355)|
|Carlos Hernandez (+255) vs. Allan Nascimento (-330)|
|Nick Aguirre (+425) vs. Dan Arguetta (-600)|
|Jimmy Flick (+270) vs. Charles Johnson (-330)|
|Priscila Cachoeira (+205) vs. Sijara Eubanks (-240)|
UFC Vegas 67: Strickland vs Imavov Fight Info
- UFC Vegas 67 Date: January 14, 2023
- Start Time: 4:00 P.M. Est Prelims / 7:00 P.M. Est Main Card
- Venue: APEX
- City: Las Vegas, Nevada
- How to Watch: ESPN+
- Odds: Click here
Strickland vs. Imavov Fighter Profiles
|Profiles||Sean Strickland||Nassourdine Imavov|
Sean Strickland’s UFC History
After a 12-0 start in mixed martial arts, Strickland debuted in the UFC in 2014. Picking up two wins at 185 pounds, Strickland decided to move down to welterweight — a move that enjoyed both success and failure, as Strickland went 5-3 at 170 pounds.
Moving back up to middleweight, Strickland has become the best version of himself. Winning five straight, with wins against several ranked fighters, Strickland rose to fourth in the middleweight division’s rankings.
Closing in on a title shot, Strickland took on Alex Pereira, a fighter that many had shied away from fighting. And for good reason — the Brazilian needed only two minutes and thirty-six seconds to turn off Strickland’s lights. It was Strickland’s first loss in four years.
Looking to bounce back, Strickland took on the former middleweight title challenger Jared Cannonier. In a close fight, Cannonier edged out Strickland via split decision. With two straight losses, one occurring less than a month ago, Strickland heads back into the octagon against Nassourdine Imavov looking to redeem himself.
Nassourdine Imavov’s UFC History
Debuting in the UFC in 2020, Nassourdine Imavov has looked exceptional inside the octagon. Going 4-1, with the lone blemish coming to Phil Hawes via a majority decision, Imavov has climbed into the middleweight division’s top fifteen in short order.
That accomplishment is nothing short of astonishing, given Imavov had once started his mixed martial arts career a mere 3-2.
Now headlining his first main event, which has already seen a change in opponent from Kelvin Gastelum to Sean Strickland, Imavov has a chance to not only crack the division’s top ten with a victory, but introduce himself as a true middleweight contender.
Sean Strickland’s Keys to Victory (UFC Fight Night 217)
Be active early and often : One of Sean Strickland’s best attributes is his activity. Averaging 5.59 significant strikes per minute, Strickland is among the Middleweight division’s top five in that respective category. Known to rack up the strikes, Strickland has landed over 70 significant strikes in ten of his seventeen UFC fights. Even more impressive, in the last seven fights, Strickland has landed over 100 significant strikes four times.
Cardio is King : Known to have an excellent gas tank, Sean Strickland can be problematic to deal with should his opponent fade. Unfortunately for Strickland, most fighters, especially at the top of the division, have excellent cardio. Regardless though, in a frantic fight, Strickland is someone you can always count on being fresh throughout. Against Nassourdine Imavov, who has never fought for twenty-five minutes, Strickland’s cardio could certainly be the key in turning the tide of the fight in the later rounds.
Mix in Takedowns : Showing off wrestling abilities throughout his UFC career, Sean Strickland has often done well for himself when he mixes in takedowns in a fight. In fact, when landing a takedown, Strickland is 7-2. Going up against Nassourdine Imavov, who’s takedown defense sits at 76%, Strickland should make it a point to wrestle some. After all, Imavov was taken down four times in his lone UFC defeat to Phil Hawes.
Nassourdine Imavov’s Keys to Victory (UFC Fight Night 217)
Precision : One of Nassourdine Imavov’s best attributes is his precise striking. With an exceptional jab, Imavov’s significant strike accuracy sits at 54%.
To put that into context, Imavov is among the top ten UFC middleweights of all-time in that respective category.
Should he find the mark often on Sean Strickland, which is plausible given the seventh-ranked middleweight has absorbed over 100 significant strikes in three of his last four fights, Imavov could be in store for his first triple-digit significant strike total inside the octagon.
Stay Upright : Prior to fighting Sean Strickland, one of Nassourdine Imavov’s keys to victory over Kelvin Gastelum was mixing in takedowns. After all, Gastelum struggled against wrestlers and was 1-3 in the UFC when opponents landed three or more takedowns in a fight.
With the switch in opponent, the key in this fight for Imavov is to stay upright. The reason for that is due to the fact that Strickland boasts excellent takedown defense and hasn’t been taken down once in the past ten fights.
However, in that span, Strickland has landed nine takedowns. Given Imavov was taken down four times in his lone UFC defeat to Phil Hawes, one could assume that Imavov’s route to victory relies on him fending off Strickland’s wrestling and keeping the fight on the feet.
Preserve the Gas Tank: While Nassourdine Imavov has relatively good cardio, in his last fight against Joaquin Buckley, his recklessness zapped his energy during the third round. It allowed for Buckley to land big shots and saw Imavov throw technique out the window.
While Imavov did get his hand raised, it wasn’t as flawless as you’d like to see. Fighting in his first five-round fight, against an active and cardio machine in Sean Strickland, it will be pertinent that Imavov fights calm and composed.
UFC Fight Night 217: Strickland vs Imavov Preview
Despite the original main event between Nassourdine Imavov and Kelvin Gastelum falling through due to a gruesome mouth injury Gastelum sustained in training, the UFC card didn’t lose its luster, as Sean Strickland stepped up on short notice.
Due to the limited time to prepare, the fight will take place at Light Heavyweight. An important aspect to note, as the less strain of the weight cut should aid both fighters in being the best version of themselves. In other words, we could be in store for an excellent fight.
On a two-fight losing streak, which also happens to be the first losing streak of his career, Strickland returns to the octagon less than a month after fighting Jared Cannonier in a five-round main event.
Clearly wasting little time on getting back inside the octagon, Strickland is looking to get back in the win column and mix at middleweight in short order. Proven to be a tough out for anyone, Strickland has only been stopped twice in thirty professional fights – with one of those stoppage defeats coming to the current middleweight Champion Alex Pereira.
As well rounded as they come, Strickland can be a nightmare for anyone to match up against. Backed by excellent cardio, Strickland pushes an activity level that few can match.
Known to rack up the strikes and boasting an excellent jab, Strickland has landed over 150 significant strikes in three of his past four fights. With stout takedown defense and wrestling abilities in his back pocket, Strickland has various routes to victory.
As for Imavov, he has looked sharp during his UFC tenure. He has won four of his five fights inside the octagon, including impressive stoppages over the likes of Edmen Shahbazyan and Ian Henisch.
While there was one slip up against Phil Hawes, the fight itself was close and came down to a majority decision. Outside of that blip, Imavov seems destined to be a fixture in the middleweight division’s top fifteen.
Well rounded, Imavov often does an excellent job at blending in his wrestling with his already impressive striking. Accurate and excellent range, Imavov’s nickname “The Russian Sniper” couldn’t be more true, as he is landing 54% of his significant strikes.
Also boasting superior striking defense, Imavov is not only absorbing a mere 2.43 significant strikes per minute, but avoiding 62% of his opponents strikes.
Sean Strickland wins via unanimous decision @ BetOnline
Prior to debuting in the UFC in 2014, Sean Strickland had been to a decision only twice in twelve professional fights. However, in seventeen UFC fights, Strickland has seen the scorecards eleven times. While Strickland can certainly halt a fight, the competition and his style have frequently lent way to decisions.
The reason to favor Strickland in this fight comes down to his sheer volume and experience in five-round fights. Landing 1.5 more significant strikes per minute than Nassourdine Imavov, Strickland not only has the edge in output, but has also proven to put up high strike totals.
Then there is the five-round experience of Strickland. Fighting for twenty-five minutes four times in his career, with three coming in the last four fights, Strickland has proven his cardio and durability are among the division’s best. While Imavov is going to test that theory, one thing is for certain, Imavov has never fought for twenty-five minutes.
With Strickland having gone the scorecards in four of his last five fights, and with his last three wins coming via decision, it’s clear, the likely route to victory for the seventh ranked middleweight is by winning on the scorecards.
Over 4½ Rounds @ Bovada
Not meant to be a straight up play, this prop is better suited as a parlay piece. The odds being so steep make sense, especially when you statistically analyze the chances of this prop hitting. Starting with Sean Strickland, and only referencing his fights in the UFC, he has hit the over 2 ½ round mark in thirteen of his seventeen fights — roughly 76% of the time.
Moving on to Nassourdine Imavov, and still only referencing UFC fights, Imavov has hit the over 2 ½ mark in all five of his bouts.
While there is no such thing as a shoe-in bet, especially in mixed martial arts, we do like the chances of this prop hitting.
Fight Starts Round 4 @ BetOnline
If you are looking for more value with the round props, the fight starting round 4 might be where you should target.
In seventeen fights, Sean Strickland has gone to a decision eleven times. Of those eleven times, he has gone five rounds, three times.
While the other eight decisions were only scheduled for three rounds, it could be implied that Strickland would have started round four if they were instead scheduled to be five-round fights. Meaning, Strickland to start round four, would have happened in 65% of his UFC fights.
The same goes for Nassourdine Imavov, who has never fought in a five-round fight. However, three of his five fights inside the octagon have gone to a decision, implying that Imavov would have seen a round four in 60% of his UFC fights.
Nassourdine Imavov wins via stoppage @ BetOnline
If there is any scenario in which Nassourdine Imavov wins this fight, it’s inside the distance. Having won nine of his twelve victories via stoppage, Imavov is a threat anytime he steps inside the octagon. With precise striking and dangerous submission abilities, Imavov has multiple avenues of putting a halt to a fight.
Against Sean Strickland, who is very durable, it might be tough to envision a stoppage victory. However, Strickland has been stopped via strikes in two of his last three losses – with the most recent coming in July of 2022 against Alex Pereira.
Imavov’s precision, power and submission abilities give some legs to warrant perhaps a sprinkle.
Either fighter wins by split/majority decision @ Bovada
This is a complete shot in the dark, and it’s likely your sportsbook might not even cover this prop. However, the only reason I believe it has legs is that in fourteen career decisions, Sean Strickland has been involved in five split decisions. That’s 36% of the time that the fight goes to the scorecards, that Strickland has been in a split decision. A rather high mark in mixed martial arts. To add, Strickland’s last two decisions have been split.
While Nassourdine Imavov has never had a split decision outcome, he has been to the scorecards in three of his five UFC fights – with one being a majority decision. Also, Imavov has lost at least one round in all three decisions.
I don’t necessarily believe this is a must play, but given the data and odds, a sprinkle might not be the craziest thing to do.
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Why was Gastelum vs Imavov Canceled?
Originally scheduled to fight at UFC 273 in Jacksonville, Florida on April 9, 2022, Nassourdine Imavov was pulled from the bout due to visa issues. While Kelvin Gastelum received a new opponent in Dricus du Plessis, he ultimately withdrew from the event due to an injury.
Rescheduled to headline UFC Fight Night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 14, 2023, once again, the fight fell apart — this time due to an injured Kelvin Gastelum, who sustained a mouth injury in training camp.
Luckily the show will go on, as Sean Strickland stepped up on short notice to take on Nassourdine Imavov in the main event.
Is Kelvin Gastelum injured?
Yes, Kelvin Gastelum sustained a mouth injury so gruesome, that he needed to get his teeth sewn back into his gums.
What is Sean Strickland’s UFC record?
In seventeen UFC fights, Strickland has a 12-5 record.
What is Nassourdine Imavov’s UFC record?
Imavov has a UFC record of 4-1.
When’s the next UFC fight in Las Vegas?
Taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 14, 2023 at the UFC Apex, the next UFC event pits the seventh ranked Middleweight Sean Strickland step up on short notice against the rising star Nassourdine Imavov.
Who has beaten Sean Strickland?
Sean Strickland has been beaten five times in his career. All five losses have come in the UFC against the likes of Jared Cannonier, Alex Pereira, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, Kamaru Usman and Santiago Ponzinibbio.
How many KO’s does Sean Strickland have?
Sean Strickland has ten knockout victories, with his last coming against Brendan Allen.
Where can I find the best odds for Strickland vs Imavov?
Nassourdine Imavov’s line too is at -110. Meaning, if you placed $110 on Imavov, you could win $100.
How does Over/Under work in UFC Fight Night betting?
Unlike other sports, in which points are the focal point, mixed martial arts uses rounds to decide over/under betting.
Normally, fights are scheduled for either three rounds or five rounds. Each round is five minutes long. The way the over/under is set, relies heavily on the likelihood the fight ends inside the distance or not.
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UFC Vegas 67: Strickland vs Imavov Stats & Predictions
UFC Fighter Stats:
|Stats||Sean Strickland||Nassourdine Imavov|
|Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||5.59||4.08|
|Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||4.18||2.43|
UFC Fight Night 217 Prediction (Strickland vs Imavov)
Knowing that this won’t be an easy fight for either man, this is a tough prediction. However, we favor Sean Strickland in this fight.
Prior to the opponent change, Nassourdine Imavov had a good shot at winning. He had a six inch height and four inch reach advantage over Kelvin Gastelum, as well as statistically better striking numbers. With Strickland now being the opponent, all those advantages are no more. Both are similar in size and Strickland holds some striking advantages.
While we can see both men having success in this fight, the factor that we believe is the key in determining the victor is cardio. Having seen Imavov go the distance in three of his five UFC fights, cardio isn’t necessarily a problem for the twelfth-ranked middleweight.
However, having seen him labor in round three of his most recent fight against Joaquin Buckley, there is warranted concern for Imavov in a twenty-five minute fight — especially given he has never fought for five rounds in his career.
The same can’t be said about Strickland, who has fought for twenty-five minutes in three of his last four fights. With exceptional cardio and durability, you can expect Strickland to be fresh and in your face for the entirety of the fight.
Our prediction: Strickland via unanimous decision – place a bet at BetOnline and enjoy the fight!
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