Nassourdine Imavov (left) is slightly favored in the Imavov vs Strickland odds

Imavov vs Strickland Odds & Picks: Tight Odds In Reworked Main Event

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.

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.

The Imavov vs Strickland odds are much closer now, with the up-and-coming Frenchman a narrow -130 favorite. We’ve got you covered with this Imavov vs Strickland betting preview, but that’s not all. Check out our other UFC betting content, including our How To Bet on UFC for newcomers, and our specific fight previews like the upcoming lightweight title bout between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski

Imavov vs Strickland Odds & Betting Preview

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

UFC Fight Night: Imavov vs Strickland Odds
  • Main Card
  • Light Heavyweight (Five Rounds) – Nassourdine Imavov (-130) vs Sean Strickland (-105)
  • Featherweight – Dan Ige (-130) vs Damon Jackson (+110)
  • Middleweight – Punahele Soriano (-165) vs Roman Kopylov (+132)
  • Women’s Bantamweight – Ketlen Vieira (-125) vs Raquel Pennington (+105)
  • Bantamweight – Umar Nurmagomedov (-1000) vs Raoni Barcelos (+625)
  • Prelims
  • Middleweight – Abdul Razak Alhassan (-105) vs Claudio Ribeiro (-117)
  • Lightweight – Mateusz Rebecki (-850) vs Nick Fiore (+525)
  • Bantamweight – Mateus Mendonca (+255) vs Javid Basharat (-350)
  • Flyweight – Allan Nascimento (-360) vs Carlos Hernandez (+265)
  • Featherweight – Daniel Argueta (-600) vs Nick Aguirre (+410)
  • Flyweight – Jimmy Flick (+245) vs Charles Johnson (-305)
  • Women’s Bantamweight – Sijara Eubanks (-240) vs Priscila Cachoeira (+190)

Odds as of January 13

How To Watch UFC Fight Night: Imavov vs Strickland
  • Date/Time: January 14, 4 p.m. ET
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Arena: The Apex
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+, UFC Fight Pass, Cable Provider

Nassourdine Imavov vs Sean Strickland Odds & Pick

Nassourdine Imavov-130
Sean Strickland+110

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.

Imavov: Need to Knows
  • Like Gastelum, Strickland’s greatest skill is his wrestling. Imavov was born in Dagestan, Russia, so he’s unafraid of wrestling, which showed in some of his previous fights. His 76 percent takedown defense is good, meaning it won’t be easy for Strickland to get him on his back. On the feet, Imavov still has the advantage, so this fight will be about staying comfortable, staying upright and not gassing out, as Strickland has excellent cardio. 
  • “The Russian Sniper” will no longer have the reach advantage, as Strickland’s 76-inch reach is actually an inch longer than Imavov’s. Still, Imavov has a route to a knockout victory. We’ve seen Strickland keep his hands low and eat shots (think Pereira’s left hook), and Imavov is explosive and deceptive with his lead hand, too. With the OVER 4.5 rounds likely chalked, rounds bettors should take the UNDER and pray for a knockout hook or a quick one-two that puts Strickland out again. 
  • Imavov’s last three fights have come against Joaquin Buckley (win – unanimous decision), Shahbazyan (win – technical knockout) and Heinisch (win – technical knockout). 
Strickland: Need to Knows
  • Strickland won’t be afraid of Imavov, which might work against him, as the Frenchman’s strikes are quite potent. Even so, I expect this fight to be about Strickland working in tight, pushing Imavov against the cage and limiting his range. If Strickland can secure a takedown or two, then he’ll be in an even better spot for a classic decision victory. If you’re a Strickland fan (apparently those people exist?), take the 31-year-old to win by decision (odds TBD). 
  • It’s quite unlikely Strickland secures a finish. Eight of his 12 UFC wins have come via decision, and lately, Strickland hasn’t packed much pop with his strikes. His bout vs Cannonier was a tap-fest, where neither guy truly did enough to win. Strickland is tough but Imavov is much more powerful. If you’re looking for dart-throw value, you could take Imavov by knockout in Rounds 1-3 (odds TBD). 
  • Strickland’s last three fights have come against Cannonier (loss – split decision), Pereira (loss – knockout) and Jack Hermansson (win – split decision). 

Pick: Imavov to win (-130); Fight Finishes Inside the distance (-110)

Dan Ige vs Damon Jackson Odds & Pick

Dan Ige-130
Damon Jackson+110

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.  

Jackson: Need to Knows
  • Jackson has been hot lately, winning four straight fights and six of his last seven. The 34-year-old is a long, slick grappler who might hold a speed advantage over Ige but will be outgunned in the power department. Jackson’s key to victory is movement. If he bobs and weaves (sort of like Cory Sandhagen) before attacking the takedown, he’ll survive. If his feet are flat, Ige will crush him with punches. 
  • Five of Jackson’s nine UFC bouts have finished inside the distance. “Action” typically lives up to his nickname, pestering and attacking his opponents. On Saturday, though, he faces Ige, a strong-chinned fighter who’s never been finished in his pro career. I hate the value on the OVER 2.5 rounds (-205) but I doubt Jackson has the pop to put Ige out. 
  • The Texas native’s last three fights have come against Pat Sabatini (win – technical knockout), Daniel Argueta (win – unanimous decision) and Kamuela Kirk (win – submission). 
Ige: Need to Knows
  • A loser of four of his last five, the former Contender Series fighter hasn’t been able to keep up. Ige’s losses have come to formidable opponents (Josh Emmett and Chang Sung Jung, for example) but he’s slipped lately. Movsar Evloev took Ige down a shocking nine times last time around while also outstriking him on the feet. Jackson, an active, quick grappler, seems like the type of guy who can beat Ige. 
  • Since the start of 2020, Ige has only been a part of one stoppage, a glorious one-punch victory over Gavin Tucker. Other than that, Ige has seen seven of his fights go the distance, rocking a disappointing 3-4 record during that span. For this bout, I’m banking on it going the distance (-205). With such lousy value on the OVER, I’d sprinkle a tiny bet on Jackson to win by submission (odds TBD). 
  • Ige’s last three fights have come against Evloev (loss – unanimous decision), Emmett (loss – unanimous decision) and Jung (loss – unanimous decision). 

Pick: Jackson to win (+110); Fight To Go The Distance (-150)

Ketlen Vieira vs Raquel Pennington Odds & Pick

Ketlen Vieira-125
Raquel Pennington+105

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). 

Pennington: Need to Knows
  • Pennington is a strong boxer and decent grappler perhaps best known for a fun title-fight rumble vs Amanda Nunes at UFC 224 in Brazil. Since then, “Rocky” is 5-2 with one stoppage win to her name. Pennington’s best skill is her defense (62 percent vs significant strikes), which helps her shell up against more powerful fighters (Vieira in this case) and use her experience to grind out decision wins. Vieira is stronger and impossible to take down (92 percent), so it’ll be up to Pennington to point-fight her way to victory with slippery combos and well-timed counters.
  • Twelve of Pennington’s 16 UFC fights have gone the distance. She last secured a stoppage vs Macy Chiasson at UFC Columbus but was on a five-fight decision streak before that. Vieira has only been finished once in her MMA career (by elite Mexican puncher Irene Aldana), and likely won’t get taken down, which impedes a submission, Pennington’s best chance for a stoppage.
  • The 34-year-old’s last three fights were against Aspen Ladd (win – unanimous decision), Chiasson (win – submission) and Pannie Kianzad (win – unanimous decision).
Vieira: Need to Knows
  • If there’s a finish in this fight, it’s coming from Vieira. The 31-year-old is a brawler, capable of roughing up the best bantamweights (see her victories over Holly Holm or Miesha Tate). There’s certainly a chance Pennington point-fights a win (Vieira keeps her hands very low, which opens her up), but Vieira’s size is menacing. Her shots have power behind them and she’s unafraid to take damage to deal damage. 
  • Just two of Vieira’s seven fights have finished inside the distance. It’s likely this bout vs Pennington goes the full 15 minutes (-310), but the value makes that bet worthless. Instead, when the odds open, I’d take a peek at Vieira to win inside the distance (odds TBD), as I envision a scenario where she stuffs the takedown attempts and secures a guillotine choke. 
  • Vieira’s last three fights came against Holm (win – split decision), Tate (win – unanimous decision) and Yana Kunitskaya (loss – unanimous decision). 

Pick: Vieira to win (-125); Dart throw on Vieira to win ITD (+475)

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