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UFC Returns to Kentucky! How to Watch & Bet Cannonier vs Imavov

The Blue Grass state has been eagerly awaiting a live UFC event, and the last time Dana White and Co. graced Louisville soil, Anderson Silva was the middleweight champion. After a 10-year-plus wait, the anticipation is palpable. While neither main event competitor holds the aura of “The Spider,” two bidding 185-pounders will be looking to ignite the BetUs sportsbook this weekend.

A rising young prospect, Nassourdine Imavov has rapidly climbed the rankings. Still, Saturday’s matchmaking isn’t doing his rise any favors, as he’ll face a savvy veteran, Jared Cannonier, who’s no stranger to five-rounders and possesses eye-watering punching power.

UFC Returns to Kentucky! How to Watch & Bet Cannonier vs Imavov
Nassourdine Imavov-Mike Stobe/Getty Images/AFP

Join me today as I analyze the storylines and MMA odds and deliver a complete breakdown of this weekend’s UFC Louisville main event between “The Killa Gorilla” and “The Russian Sniper,” as the old generation meets the new!

Cannonier vs Imavov Fight Information


Cannonier vs Imavov Betting Odds



Jared Cannonier: a “Killa” With the Power of a “Gorilla”

There is a mountain of nicknames that are very suitable for the gladiators of the UFC. Still, none perhaps are more fitting than Jared Cannonier, whose ‘Killa Gorilla’ alias has truly been an ape-like experience when you watch him compete in the octagon.

We’ve witnessed Cannonier’s sheer dominance in the octagon, with 60% of his 10 UFC successes coming via knockout. His resume boasts of victories over big names like Anderson Silva, Jack Hermansson, Marvin Vettori, and Sean Strickland. Even when the Texas native goes the distance, he’s often found collecting decision victories through the sheer striking damage he inflicts on his opponents.

As a nine-year UFC vet, ‘The Killa Gorilla’ has long been a top-ranked mainstay since moving up to the middleweight division, where he currently holds a 7-2 record, with his only losses coming against former champions Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya. Following a torn MCL and a position on the sidelines, he does return this weekend as a 40-year-old competitor, but he hasn’t shown any signs of fading to father time, so his position as a gatekeeper for the old guard shouldn’t come into question when he’s faced with an up-and-coming prospect on Saturday.

Nassourdine Imavov: Youthful Prospect Steps Up to the Plate

Dagestan-born fighter competing out of France, Nassourdine Imavov, suffered a handful of setbacks in 2023 that temporarily stunted his ascension through the middleweight rankings. A unanimous decision defeat to Sean Strickland followed by a no-contest-result due to an accidental clash of heads began his year with back-to-back hiccups, but he, fortunately, bounced back at the beginning of 2024 behind an impressive performance versus a fellow rising star in Roman Dolidze.

This recent victory allowed “The Russian Sniper” to break into the top 10, and now, as a #7 ranked fighter, he has a massive opportunity to enter the top five as he’s faced with a #4-ranked Cannonier.

Much like Conor McGregor’s UFC 303 return, the middleweight division is in a state of constant change, and nothing is guaranteed. As a result, despite his evident setbacks, a statement victory for Imavov, representing the new gen over a veteran like Cannonier, could cement his position as a serious fighter within the division.


Imavov Questions: “Will Cannonier Event Hit Me?”

During an interview with MMA Junkie, Nassourdine Imavov questioned whether or not he’ll get his while also throwing some sly digs at Cannonier’s previous opponent, Marvin Vettori:

Regarding the question, if I’m going to be able to take punches, I’m going to be able to take punches if I need to, but the real question is: Is he going to be able to hit me? I’m not Marvin Vettori. I’m a completely different style. Marvin is slow, like a punching bag, and does not move fast. He’s not even young. His style of fighting is very different to mine.”

Cannonier vs Imavov: The Tale of The Tape

Jared Cannonier
Nassourdine Imavov
Pro Record (Win/Loss)
9 KOs, 3 Submissions 
5 KOs, 4 Submissions
Win/Loss (Last 5)


How Do Imavov and Cannonier Match Up?

The growing consensus for red flags around Cannonier would be his age and, of course, his return from an MCL injury and the unknown variables attached to it. I do believe, however, that prior to his layoff, he would’ve entered this contest as a -150 to -200 betting favorite.

“The Killa Gorilla” has displayed excellent volume and cardio across five rounds versus some of the best fighters in the world. He’s also shown respectful ground abilities when needed, and he’s strong in the clinch, but his primary asset is, without a doubt, a striking offense and the power he generates.

Imavov owns a decent record, but let me be frank; those regional scene victories were versus a level of opposition that is certainly nothing to run home about. Yes, he’s still young, and the evolution factor is undoubtedly something to consider, but to date, he hasn’t provided those performances that make us go ‘wow.’

Speed, youth, and height could favor him in Louisville, and sure, he’s got elite-level experience against the likes of Strickland, but he couldn’t do what Cannonier did and defeat the former middleweight champ.

More worryingly, Imavov isn’t known for his cardio. While he’s fought five-round contests and won, his early output and aggression have never been matched in the later rounds.

  • Imavov has won 3 of his previous 4 UFC bouts via decision
  • Cannonier has gone the distance in 5 of his last 6 UFC bouts
  • Cannonier has won back-to-back fights by decision
  • Cannonier hasn’t lost by KO since 2018
  • Imavov has never lost via KO/TKO


UFC Louisville Main Event from a Betting Perspective

When we evaluate two fighters who predominantly engage in striking wars, Cannonier is clearly on the side. However, due to variables such as age and the return from injury, we can’t really disagree with the tightly-lined UFC odds that slightly favor the Frenchman.

From a betting perspective, I expect a five-round contest to reach the fifth and final round, and several supporting factors back this up. Imavov has already spoken about not getting hit, so once he feels the power of Cannonier, expect him to take the back foot. He’ll be in a big cage, so he’ll have plenty of room to dance around, and this level of hesitancy, when faced with the high volume of Cannonier, could easily make this fight over-tactical and potentially stale as both men remain cautious in terms of an all-out-brawl.

When you couple this with two fighters boasting excellent chins and durability, give me over 4 ½ rounds all day long. Do they both possess fight-ending power? Sure, but I believe the variables outside of this will provide a technical, chess-like battle, where Cannonier will likely prevail via the offensive striking numbers.

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My Best Bet: Over 4 ½ Rounds (-160)

Cannonier vs. Imavov: Crystal Ball Betting Predictions

In this UFC middleweight championship matchup, a quick rub of my crystal ball reveals that Cannonier’s proven cardio and striking output will reign supreme. Still, the durability and movement of Imavov will force the contest to the judge’s scorecards. Bet on Cannonier at the BetUS sportsbook.

UFC Betting Fans: Bet $200 & Get a $450 Bonus on your first deposit!

Potential Wagers from a Cannonier Win By Decision:



Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.


Questions Of The Day

What is the age gap between Cannonier and Imavov?

Jared Cannonier, 40, is twelve years older than his weekend opponent, Nassourdine Imavov, 28.

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