Welcome back to the first breakdown of the year and we've finally got some fights to talk about after a 4-week hiatus.
We’re excited to breakdown our ranked middleweight main event and pick some winning lines for you guys, so let's dive right in!
Sean Strickland vs Nassourdine Imavov
Short notice main-event call? No problem!
Sean Strickland has come to the rescue of our first card this year as Kelvin Gastelum was forced out with a last-minute injury.
Strickland will take on the hungry French contender Nassourdine Imavov.
Sean Strickland has had a good middleweight run taking out good competition like Jack Hermansson, Uriah Hall, and Brendan Allen.
He has lost his last two bouts but only to the best in current champion Alex Pereira and a close split decision loss to top-5 contender Jared Cannonier.
Contrarily the French native Imavov is yet to defeat a top name, but he has taken out good contenders like Joaquin Buckley and Edman Shahbazyan which has earned him the spotlight.
Imavov trains with one of the best strikers in Ciryl Gane and he is prepared for a stand-up war if it comes down to it.
This is a great fight and an interesting clash of styles. Strickland will hold a boxing and cardio advantage whereas, Imavov will be stronger and can mix in the takedowns at will.
Two money lines on the main card have piqued our interest, the first of them comes on the Women's Bantamweight bout between Ketlen Vieira and Raquel Pennington.
Vieira is coming off two big main event wins over former champions Holly Holm & Miesha Tate, so we must respect this strong form.
Pennington has been on a good run late in her career, but we think Vieira is in her prime and will hold advantages with power on the feet and BJJ on the mat which will help her get through another big win.
Our second money line pick comes on the Middleweight bout between Punahele Soriano and Roman Kopylov.
Both fighters have been a hit or miss in the UFC so far and that's why we're happy to take the underdog money in Kopylov.
Soriano is very wild in his fights and recklessly hunts for the knockout whereas we've seen genuine improvements in Kopylov displayed in his last outing.
Our last pick this week comes at our main event.
Given the last-minute replacement involved, it is tricky to choose a money line so we're going to pick the “over” line here.
We think it will be a competitive bout and it will go as deep as the last few minutes of the fight given the closeness in skills and durability on display.
Selection: Ketlen Vieira (Win market) @1.80
Selection: Roman Kopylov (Win market) @2.27
Selection: Over 4.5 rounds, Sean Strickland vs Nassourdine Imavov (Asian Total) @1.97