The featured prelim of UFC 289 is an absolute banger in the middleweight division. Top fifteen middleweights will battle it out as “The Action Man” Chris Curtis (30-10) takes on Nassourdine Imavov (12-4).
This is a bout that could easily take place and in fact, probably should be on the main card. However, due to some Canadian fighters on the card, this one finds itself as the featured prelims. The ones watching the free prelims on ESPN are in for a treat with this one.
Chris Curtis is looking to bounce back after a tough loss to Kelvin Gastelum back in April. The fight was very close, but Curtis ate an accidental headbutt in the fight that looked like he got dropped. That headbutt took place in a close round and it could’ve cost him the fight. He appealed the fight after losing a 29-28 decision. That loss dropped him to 1-2 in his last three after winning his first three UFC bouts.
Imavov’s last fight took place against Curtis’ close friend and training parter Sean Strickland. Imavov lost by decision. That loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for Imavov. Overall, he’s now 4-2 in six fights inside the octagon.
UFC 289 Prediction
I absolutely love this fight and I’m fascinated to see these two strike. We know how good the boxing is of Chris Curtis. He has some of the best pure boxing in the entire middleweight division. Despite Kelvin Gastelum being a little faster when they fought and ultimately winning the fight, Curtis showed with his timing just how good he is.
We’ve also see him knock guys out with that boxing. Nassourdine Imavov strikes like a sniper. He’s very long and loves to use his weapons at range. From a diverse attack of straight shots, kicks, and knees, Imavov is going to throw everything at Curtis tomorrow at UFC 289.
I think we might be in for a little chess match. While there might be some boring stalemate moments, there are going to be several flashes of beautiful technique and high level striking. Personally, I really like Imavov in this matchup.
Sean Strickland had a lot of success with Imavov because of his forward pressure and keeping the fight in a phone booth. However, Curtis usually lays back a little more and is defensive first before throwing his attacks. I think it’s a recipe for getting picked apart at range tomorrow night.
If Curtis fights aggressive and is moving forward, I think he can definitely win this fight. However, if he fights the way he has been as of late, I think Imavov takes a decision at UFC 289.
Prediction: Nassourdine Imavov by Decision