The UFC offers up a battle of world-ranked middleweights this Saturday as Roman Dolidze takes on Nassourdine Imavov. Both men are looking to hit their stride after failing to win their most recent contests. This UFC Apex-headliner offers a great chance to return to the win column for both.
The co-main event sees the lightweight division under the spotlight. Renato Moicano will look to move up the standings with a victory over Drew Dober. This one should be exciting, with the pair having won four Fight of the Night bonuses between them in the past.
Firstly, let’s look at that main event. Dolidze came up short last time out, dropping a decision to Marvin Vettori in London last March. He had come into the fight on a tear, having won his last four and been awarded Performance of the Night in his last three fights. Vettori is a quality operator and a former UFC title challenger, so there was no shame in losing that fight. But battling for belts is where Dolidze wants to be and in order to get there, he needs a win on Saturday.
Imavov has had a tough time of it recently. Two fights ago he lost a decision to Sean Strickland. The controversial Californian would go on to win the UFC middleweight title two fights later, before losing it to Dricus Du Plessis. An attempt to rebuild from this near-miss came against Chris Curtis last June. But a clash of heads rendered Curtis unable to continue and left Imavov in limbo.
This fight has arrived at the right time for each of these men. It is a priceless opportunity to get back on-track. As for a winner? Imavov looks a little better equipped, but there’s hardly anything in it. The fact he gave Strickland a good go speaks volumes about his world class credentials. The fascinating thing here will be where the fight takes place, with each man having their fair share of knockouts, submissions and decisions. I’m picking Imavov by decision, content to go long against a man who has never been stopped. This result is an 11/4 shot.
The co-main event comes packed with intrigue too. Submission specialist Moicano faces a knockout artist in a fight that feels like a throwback. Before MMA became a sport unto itself, the early UFC cards mixed disciplines to find out which fighting technique was superior. Both these men are far more well-rounded than the nascent MMA fighters of old. But a fight where one man has 10 career submissions and the other has 14 career knockouts makes for a fun reminder of those days.
This one could be as simple as who strikes first with their chosen weapon. Dober has submitted in four of his 12 defeats. Moicano has been knocked out in three of his five losses. If pushed, which is the nature of the job even when a fight is this well-matched on paper, I’m keen on Moicano by submission. This 7/4 call has a decent chance of coming to pass, with Moicano perhaps calling on the rear-naked submission he has won with the third-most in UFC history.