UFC Vegas 85 Main Event Preview: Roman Dolidze – Nassourdine Imavov

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Orlando - Hermansson vs Dolidze
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night the UFC returns to the APEX and we will see a battle between two top eleven middleweights headline the show. 8th ranked Roman Dolidze (12-2) will look to defend his top ten spot against 11th ranked Nassourdine Imavov (12-4).

This is a big fight for both men who will look to inch closer towards the top five and potential title contention. Starting with Dolidze, he will be looking to bounce back after suffering a loss the last time we saw him. It’s been just under a year since we last saw Dolidze at UFC 286 last March when he fought Marvin Vettori.

Vettori defeated him by decision which snapped a four-fight win streak. Prior to the Vettori loss, Dolidze had picked up a big submission win over Jack Hermansson and a first round knockout over Phil Hawes.

Nassourdine Imavov went 3-0 between July 2021 and September 2022 to get himself into contention. He was supposed to kickoff 2023 in a headliner against Kelvin Gastelum, but after Gastelum fell out the week of the fight, Imavov fought Sean Strickland. Strickland won that fight and then Imavov was booked against Strickland’s teammate Chris Curtis in June.

Imavov was looking sensational in that bout, however, a clash of heads at UFC 289 ended that fight in a No Contest. All of Imavov’s momentum is gone and he’s lost real steam in the division. Tomorrow night is a big night for him to get back on track.

UFC Vegas 85 Prediction

When I look at this fight, I get real bull and matador vibes. We all know that Dolidze fights with great forward pressure and he has a lot of power in his shots. We also know that if he gets the fight to the ground, he’s very capable of securing submissions and dominant positions.

Imavov’s nickname of the Russian Sniper is very fitting. He does his best work when he’s out of range and he can counter shots from his opponents. When thinking about the game plans for UFC Vegas 85, I’m expecting Dolidze to fight with a ton of pressure with the hope of not giving Imavov any room to work.

Expect some clinch work from Dolidze in this one and some takedown attempts. That said, I actually really like Imavov in this matchup. I just think he’ll be able to stay away enough to throw his lengthy shots and I think he’ll land on Imavov throughout the night. I’m not sure he’ll get a finish, but I think he’ll have enough success to win three rounds and a decision at UFC Vegas 85.

Prediction: Nassourdine Imavov by Decision