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Event: UFC Vegas 19 (Feb. 20th)
I believe the odds are where they are at this point because a.) not a lot of people have looked into this fight yet b.) Hawes has some hype behind him c). both fighters are relatively unknown to the public.
Stylistically, I trust Imavov’s cardio much more. He has been the distance twice in pro-MMA while showcasing solid three-round cardio (i.e., his UFC debut). In contrast, Hawes’ cardio has historically shown to be a massive liability (i.e., was exhausted in round two against Marquez, barely did anything offensively against Sanchez on TUF in the second round, and has not been past the second round of a pro-MMA fight).
Durability-wise I also favor Imavov, who has never been knocked out in pro-MMA. Granted, he was hurt in round 1 against Jordan Williams, but it stemmed from an accidental head clash to his credit. In contrast, Hawes was knocked out by Julian Marquez and knocked down by Louis Taylor before the guillotine choke he was submitted by.
From a technique perspective, I think they’re both excellent and well-rounded overall. Hawes is the better wrestler on paper, but Imavov has shown to be an excellent grappler (i.e., transitions to the back well mid TD attempt, threatens from the front headlock position while scrambling well. Also, I don’t trust Hawes’ cardio to persistently go for takedowns nor control Imavov on the mat for extended periods of time, so I think we’ll get a fight that will likely be won or lost standing.
In the standup battle, I trust Imavov’s defense, durability, pacing, and cardio much more. Also, Imavov has great countering proficiency with his right hand he utilizes while slipping out of the way of the opposition’s attack. This is relevant because Hawes has shown to leave his chin very high when trading in the pocket, which led to him getting hurt in the opening exchange in round 2 against Marquez.