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Imavov’s UFC stoppage win over Cannonier sparks outrage

Nassourdine Imavov UFC news

Nassourdine Imavov’s fourth-round TKO against Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC on ESPN 57 has attracted plenty of controversy.

A minute and a half into the fourth round, referee Jason Herzog stopped the fight. A fully cognisant Cannonier immediately protested the decision, claiming that he was capable of continuing.

Now, punters are divided over the timing of the controversial stoppage as well.

Why the timing of the Imavov vs Cannonier stoppage was controversial

Heading into Imavov vs Cannonier, UFC bookmakers had a range of betting markets available.

One of the most popular markets, particularly in close matchups such as this one, is the over/under. This allows for either fighter to win, and it simply means putting your money behind how long you think a fight will last.

Bookies customise what stage of the fight the over/under betting pivots around. For some heavyweight slugfests, it might be set at 1.5 rounds. For others, it could be 4.5 rounds.

In the case of Imavov vs Cannonier, the majority of MMA betting sites had the market at 3.5 rounds.

This meant that if the fight finished in the first 3.5 rounds, punters betting the under market would receive $2.50; if it went longer, those who bet the over market would get $1.50.

Given the referee’s stoppage came 1:32 into the fourth round, this went down to the wire. Those who bet under 3.5 rounds had their bets paid, but only just.
Had the fight gone less than a minute longer, it would have been over 3.5 rounds.

Criticism of referee’s early stoppage

Understandably, punters who bet the over market were furious at what seemed like a premature stoppage when their bets were on the cusp of being made.

And they’re not the only ones, with plenty in the industry up in arms about the stoppage.

Ariel Helwani, a well-known MMA journalist, said:

“I mean, this is really awful. Watching live, I thought Cannonier lost a mouthpiece or something. He was robbed here. I’d love to understand why Herzog, who is typically solid, made this call. One of the worst in recent memory.”

Jamahal Hill, former UFC light heavyweight champion, also made his displeasure known, writing on X, “Horrible stoppage!!!!!”

Another fighter, Cody Durden, said, “I don’t like that stoppage. You gotta let these guys fight longer! He was still in the fight.”

Regardless, the decision stands.

Imavov moves into the top five of the middleweight division off the back of the victory, while Cannionier is nursing his first loss in three fights.

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