LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 24: Nassourdine Imavov of Russia reacts after his victory over Ian Heinisch in their middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 24, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Nassourdine Imavov and Chris Curtis finally meet at UFC 289 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Both men are highly praised for their dangerous striking skills and many believe they both could be future contenders. However, both men are also coming off of losses, slight setbacks in their route up the divisional ladder.

Imavov most recently lost to Sean Strickland so stepped in on short notice in January and outworked Imavov over the five-round limit. Curtis last saw octagon time against Kelvin Gastelum, in a razor-close fight he dropped two rounds to Gastelum. A win on Saturday would be huge for both in getting back on track.

The Curtis vs. Imavov bout is featured on the UFC 289 prelims. Catch all of the action live this Saturday night after ordering the PPV on ESPN+ here.

And remember, if you’re looking to place a bet on the fights this weekend, click here to sign up to BetUS using our special link and you’ll get a sign-up bonus worth up to $2,500.

Betting Odds

Curtis comes in as the slight underdog against Imavov

  • Nassourdine Imavov: -160 (BetUS)
  • Chris Curtis: +130 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Chris Curtis depends very heavily on his boxing. He is a southpaw with a short stance, a tight left guard to protect his chin and uses the right jab to prod and set up his combinations. He tends to hand fight but opens up his combinations starting with the straight left against conventional stances fighters. Imavov is conventional but switches stance often, so expect Curtis to lead with his more typical combinations when Imavov stands left foot forward.

Curtis wants to establish pressure to get Imavov’s heel to the cage so that he can then cut off the escape routes with his excellent bodywork. A consistent tool he goes to is baiting out the right cross so that he can slip and rip the left uppercut to right hook.

Imavov is a more complete striker in terms of using all the weapons, while Curtis is a boxing specialist. Imavov will use light footwork to dance around the outside, but he will also explode in with a flurry and try to land heavy inside. While Curtis will drive his opponent straight back and follow them to cut with the body hooks, Imavov will also look to push his opponents back in a direct line but break the angle to the right to land over the top.

Imavov will blade his stance, which cuts off one side of those potential body hooks for Curtis. If Imavov can calculate when he gives Curtis different looks and stances he may be able to draw Curtis into a target and make him pay. His footwork on the outside will also be a good tool in getting Curtis to chase him and walk into his angle-off counters. Imavov is very good at baiting people forward and when they think he will continue retreating he bursts in with a superman punch or a cross-step power punch.


Both men are exceptionally dangerous, but at the end of the day as long as Nassourdine Imavov can make use of all of his diverse striking skills, he can avoid a direct boxing match with Curtis. If he can dictate the range the fight plays out in and frustrate Curtis enough to get him chasing him I think Imavov can end up picking away at Curtis over the three rounds.

Pick: Nassourdine Imavov to win (-160 at BetUS)

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