2022 was a wild year for mixed martial arts, and it appears 2023 will be no different. In a last-minute switch to the UFC’s first event of the year, Nassourdine Imavov (12-3, 4-1 UFC) will fight Sean Strickland (25-5, 12-5 UFC) on January 14 in the new Fight Night main event.
Imavov was originally scheduled to fight Kelvin Gastelum, who pulled out Monday with a mouth injury. Strickland, fresh off a loss in the UFC’s last event on December 17, will replace Gastelum on just a week’s notice.
First UFC main event of 2023 has underwent a last minute change. Gastelum out with a mouth injury, Sean Strickland has agreed to replace him against Imavov. Five rounds, but now 205 pounds per UFC officials. This is now back to back UFC events headlined by Strickland. pic.twitter.com/ivg7VXl0qT
The new fight between Imavov and Strickland will be a five-round light heavyweight fight and will take place at the Apex in Las Vegas. Prelim bouts are scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and the main card begins at 7 p.m. ET.
Strickland is familiar with tight odds. In his last two fights, losses to Jared Cannonier and Alex Pereira, he opened as a -110 favorite and a +110 underdog, respectively. He’ll now be headlining back-to-back UFC events, a crazy feat.
Imavov, on the other hand, is 4-1 in the UFC and gets his toughest career test vs Strickland. The 26-year-old has faced tight odds before, notably at -120 vs Edmen Shahbazyan, as well as underdog statuses (+135 vs Ian Heinisch) and come out on top. He’ll be ready, but Strickland is tricky, hence why the odds are so close.
UFC Fight Night: Imavov vs Strickland Odds
In the main event, Imavov is the -130 favorite, while Strickland is the slight underdog at +110.
The tightest odds on the card can be found in a middleweight fight between Abdul Razak Alhassan (-105) and Claudio Ribeiro (-117)
Undefeated bantamweight Umar Nurmagomedov (-1000) is the largest favorite on the card, making his opponent, Raoni Barcelos (+625), the evening’s biggest underdog.
UFC Fight Night: Imavov vs Strickland Fight Card
Odds as of January 13
Nassourdine Imavov vs Sean Strickland Odds & Pick
Our odds calculator tells us Imavov’s -130 status represents an implied win probability of 56.52 percent, meaning a $10 bet pays out $16.79. Strickland’s +110 status gives him an implied win probability of 47.62 percent, which means a $10 bet on him pays out $21.00.
Pick: Imavov to win (-130); Fight Finishes Inside the distance (-110)
Dan Ige vs Damon Jackson Odds & Pick
With a bout between Geoff Neal and Shavkat Rakhmonov canceled due to injury, featherweights Dan Ige (15-6, 7-5 UFC) and Damon Jackson (22-4-1, 5-2-1 UFC) have been promoted to Saturday’s co-main event.
Pick: Jackson to win (+110); Fight To Go The Distance (-150)
Ketlen Vieira vs Raquel Pennington Odds & Pick
The main card will be graced with a fun women’s bantamweight fight between Ketlen Vieira (13-2, 7-2 UFC) and Raquel Pennington (14-8, 11-5 UFC).
Pick: Vieira to win (-125); Dart throw on Vieira to win ITD (+475)