Analysis

UFC on ESPN+ 93 Main Event Breakdown

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After a week away, MMA‘s top promotion is back in action. This Saturday night, Las Vegas will again be the center of the combat sports world when the UFC opens up February with UFC on ESPN+ 93.

The UFC Apex will serve as the host venue for this weekend’s card, exclusive to ESPN+ inside the United States. Live coverage begins at 4 pm ET/ 1 pm PT with the prelims. Main card action immediately follows at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT.

All told, barring any postponements or cancellations between now and Saturday, the final version of UFC on ESPN+ 93 features a full 13-fight card. Highlighting the night’s itinerary is a battle at 185 lbs. between two fighters trying to take that next step toward a seat at the table in the championship contendership conversation.

Dolidze Battles Imavov in UFC on ESPN+ 93 Main Event Saturday Night

No. 8 contender Roman Dolidze (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) meets up with No. 11 contender Nassourdine Imavov (12-4, 1 NC MMA, 4-2, 1 NC UFC) in the headliner this weekend. Like all UFC main attractions, the UFC on ESPN+ 93 main event is an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

UFC on ESPN+ 93 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the UFC on ESPN+ 93 main event on Saturday night, Nassourdine Imavov stands as the taller contender at 6-foot-3, compared to the 6-foot-2 frame of Roman Dolidze, who owns a one-inch reach advantage (76 inches to 75 inches.) Imavov has a one-inch leg reach advantage (42 inches to 41 inches) over Dolidze ahead of this fight.

As of Friday afternoon, the oddsmakers have Nassourdine Imavov installed as a -166 favorite on the money line, while Roman Dolidze counters as a +140 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.

Roman Dolidze Hopeful that UFC on ESPN+ 93 Main Event is Start to More Active 2024

Roman Dolidze enters the UFC on ESPN+ 93 main event, having posted a record of 4-1 in his last five fights. Most recently, he saw a three-fight winning streak end at the hands of Marvin Vettori (19-6-1 MMA, 9-5-1 UFC) during UFC 286 on March 18th last year.

Since then, he’s been scheduled to return to the famous Octagon twice. However, these planned fights were canceled before their respective events could occur.

In November, Dolidze had been attached to a scheduled contest versus¬†Derek Brunson¬†(24-9 MMA, 14-7 UFC) during¬†UFC 295¬†at¬†Madison Square Garden¬†in New York City, but that fight was scrubbed after Brunson joined the¬†PFL‘s active roster ahead of a showcase catchweight fight at 186 lbs. against¬†Ray Cooper III¬†(25-9-1 MMA) at¬†PFL 10¬†over the Thanksgiving weekend in Washington. Brunson is to compete at light heavyweight during the PFL’s new season.

After the fight against Brunson went by the boards, Dolidze was then booked to appear on December 2nd against Jared Cannonier (17-6 MMA, 10-6 UFC) in UFC on ESPN 52, but that bout, too, was scratched upon Cannonier tearing an ACL. Due to these postponements, he last fought over ten months ago.

Can Imavov Get Back in the Win Column?

In the other corner, Nassourdine Imavov has gone 3-1 with one no-contest over his last five fights. Last time out, his fight against Chris Curtis (31-10, 1 NC MMA, 5-2, 1 NC UFC) ended in the second round due to an accidental clash of heads during UFC 289 last June, with the fight ruled a no-contest.

Before that, Imavov had yet to taste victory since September 2022. That evening, he scored a unanimous decision victory over¬†Joaquin Buckley¬†(17-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) during the promotion’s¬†first-ever visit to Paris¬†after¬†MMA was legalized in France¬†in 2020.

While Imavov has a winning record of late in the Octagon, it’s been a little while for him to get a victory. Another W here in the UFC on ESPN+ 93 main event this Saturday night would aid him as he tries to get into the championship confrontation.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the UFC on ESPN+ 93 main event looks to be another one of those classic toss-ups. Both of these men have orthodox fighting stances. A slight edge can be given to Roman Dolidze due to his background as a grappler and Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter.

Look for a Quick Finish From Dolidze

A calling card of a great MMA fighter is his or her ability to land a stoppage right after the fight begins. Dolidze has won seven of his fights before the first round was even completed, including his 2022 fight vs. Kyle Daukaus.

Immediately after the command to fight, the pace was slowed due to a clash of heads, but from there, Dolidze scored a knockdown with a crisp punch. Although Daukaus managed to get back to his feet, Dolidze put his opponent into the clinch, where he struck with his knee and knocked him out on contact.

If Roman Dolidze comes out like a house on fire in the UFC on ESPN+ 93 main event, look out! He might finish an opponent inside the first round for the eighth time.

Imavov Brutal With Elbows

In the other corner, Nassourdine Imavov knows how to use the elbow strike to his advantage. Just look at the second round of his fight vs. Edmen Shahbazyan. 

Late in the second round, after Imavov almost locked up a guillotine twice,  Shahbazyan worked back to a clinch and tried a guillotine of his own.

Imavov unloaded with a barrage of elbows while he had Shahbazyan trapped in a crucifix. His onslaught proved to be too much to handle and the referee mercifully called a halt to the proceedings with just under 20 seconds left on the clock.

If Imavov uses his elbows, the UFC on ESPN+ 93 main event is going to be a short one.

Final Thoughts

Don’t blink when you sit down and watch the UFC on ESPN+ 93 main event on Saturday night. If you take your eyes off of the screen for as little as one frame of video, you might miss the finish.

Prediction: Nassourdine Imavov by First-Round Knockout.  

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.

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