Jack Hermansson vs. Sean Strickland UFC Odds, Pick & Prediction: The Clear Bet in Saturday’s Main Event (February 5)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured (L-R): Opponents Jack Hermansson of Sweden and Sean Strickland.
- Sean Strickland is favored over Jack Hermansson in Saturday's UFC Fight Night co-main event.
- Sean Zerillo is taking Strickland's moneyline and a pair of props over 20-1.
- Get his full UFC Fight Night co-main event preview below.
Jack Hermansson vs. Sean Strickland Odds
A new Middleweight title contender could emerge from Saturday’s Main Event, as No. 7 ranked Sean Strickland hopes to continue his unbeaten run at 185 pounds against No. 6 ranked Jack Hermansson.
Strickland will make his second consecutive appearance in a five-round main event, following his win over Uriah Hall last July. He is 4-0 at Middleweight since returning from a gruesome motorcycle accident and knee injury in 2020.
Hermansson is making his fourth appearance in a UFC main event — he lost to Marvin Vettori and Jared Cannonier following a win over Jacare Souza. The Swede has traded wins and losses in his past four fights, but remains within two victories of challenging for UFC gold.
Will Strickland continue to ascend the Middleweight ladder on Saturday, or can Hermansson provide some resistance and hold onto his top six ranking spot?
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||9:24||13:01|
|Weight (pounds)||185 lbs.||185 lbs.|
|Date of birth||6/10/88||2/27/91|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||4.86||5.45|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||3.36||3.73|
|Take Down Avg||2.09||1.32|
Heading into this fight, much of the skepticism around Strickland’s favoritism stems from question marks surrounding his grappling after sustaining a significant knee injury.
While Strickland has dominated his four recent opponents (470-243 strike differential; 3-0 on takedowns) since the injury, his wrestling defense hasn’t been tested, and we haven’t seen him have to work off of his back since 2017, when he competed at Welterweight against Court McGee and Kamaru Usman.
If Saturday’s main event stays on the feet, Strickland should win most exchanges and minutes. He is a far superior boxer, with tremendous pressure and evasiveness in the pocket (66% striking defense). Strickland doesn’t carry much power, but he fights behind a crisp jab and is very precise with his punches.
At times, Strickland tends to turn his fight into wars – he seems to prefer to throw down and create an exciting fight, at times, rather than navigating the path of least resistance to victory.
That said, he possesses excellent durability and cardio, and Hermansson doesn’t necessarily carry considerable power for a Middleweight. So while Strickland may regret locking horns in a war at some point in his UFC career, I’m not sure that Hermansson is the type of striker to take advantage of that recklessness.
If this fight does stay standing, it’s challenging to imagine Hermansson keeping up with Strickland in terms of strike volume. While both men are very efficient (+1.72 to +1.50 significant strike differential, favoring Strickland), the American attempts 13.6 significant strikes per minute, compared to 10.8 for the Swede.
Over 25 minutes, that translates to an expected margin of 340 to 270 for strike attempts and 136-121 in favor of strikes landed for Strickland – and based on the difference in boxing skill, I would expect the margin to be even more expansive.
That said, all of Hermansson’s fights manage to hit the mat at some point. I don’t think he’s a particularly great wrestler (2.09 takedowns per 15 minutes, 36% accuracy). Still, Hermansson has solid top control and good ground and pound — he could, perhaps, neutralize Strickland’s cardio advantage if he can put the favorite on his back in the early stages.
Whether you give Hermansson a chance comes down to 1) how many takedowns you think he will land; 2) whether he can submit Strickland; 3) whether he can keep Strickland down if he can’t submit him.
Even though we haven’t seen it tested in a while, Strickland has a very solid first-level takedown defense (82%) and solid submission defense. I doubt that Hermansson gets him down more than two or three times, at most. And even if this fight does hit the mat, Strickland is the quicker man and the fighter whom I would favor to get the better of scrambles. If he’s able to survive on the bottom and get back to his feet, it’s going to take the wind out of Hermansson’s sails.
As a result, Strickland will probably get put into some dangerous positions early in this fight, but if he can survive those early moments, his live price may swing towards -400 or higher after Round 1 or Round 2.
Hermansson put forth a gritty effort in his most recent main event clash with Marvin Vettori (Strickland’s primary training partner), but I only see him finishing this fight with top control in the early stages. I don’t give him much of a chance to keep up with Strickland on minute winning since the boxing should look reasonably one-sided.
That said, Hermansson should try to hammer Strickland with some early calf kicks to make him think about the knee injury and to limit his mobility.
The early rounds in this fight could be very close. Still, I expect Strickland to pull away eventually, and potentially finish Hermansson down the stretch with pressure and volume if he doesn’t spend too much time on his back in the early rounds.
Additionally, I could see Strickland having some success by landing his takedowns in the later rounds (1.32 per 15 minutes, 61% accuracy) if Hermansson tires or his focus becomes too one-dimensional.
Hermansson is in the type of spot where I would typically back an underdog. He has faced a high level of competition, has more experience in five-round fights, and has the skillset to test the favorite in the one area with underlying question marks.
I wouldn’t hate any stab here on the underdog, and I may look like a fool for laying this price. That said, I am siding with the favorite in this fight.
Hermansson vs. Strickland Pick
In this fight, I projected Strickland as a -255 favorite (71.8% implied), and I’m happy to bet his moneyline up to -233 (70% implied).
I projected this bout to go the distance 54% of the time (-115 implied), so I don’t see value on either side of the total.
If this fight does go the full 25 minutes, I will favor Strickland to win by decision (projected +153), but I don’t see any actionable value on any winning method props.
I will, however, take a small stab on Strickland to win in Round 4 (+2000) or Round 5 (+2800) because if this fight does stay standing, he could eventually overwhelm Hermansson for a volume-based stoppage.
I don’t typically lay the juice on this big of a favorite – and I do see valid arguments for Hermansson in this fight. However, I am also very high on Strickland’s potential in the middleweight division and bet him at +2000 to hold the Middleweight strap by the end of the calendar year.
This matchup should provide us a solid assessment of Strickland’s overall skillset.
The Pick: Sean Strickland (-210, 1u) | Strickland wins in Round 4 (+2000, 0.1u) | Strickland wins in Round 5 (+2800, 0.1u)
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