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Grab a six-pack and bust out the popcorn because it’s rematch time in the UFC this weekend. While the plan originally was for Charles Oliveira to take on Islam Makhachev, a last-minute change sees Alexander Volkanovski take on the UFC Lightweight Champion instead. The two fought one of the fights of the year in February, so expect this bout to be an absolute doozy. We look at all the latest Makhachev vs Volkanovski odds in this betting preview.
You might want to make the six-pack something a little less strong, considering this card is hosted in Abu Dhabi and gets underway at 10:00 AM EST on Saturday. With Makhachev winning a controversial decision to retain his UFC Lightweight Championship when they met earlier this year and many believing Volkanovski was robbed, this is going to be a brilliant fight.
|ℹ️ Event:||UFC 294 Main Event, for Lightweight Championship Title|
|🏟️ Venue:||Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates|
|🗓️ Date:||21 October 2023|
|⏰ Time:||from 10:00 AM EST|
The elephant in the room here is that this fight shouldn’t have happened at UFC 294 – instead, Makhachev was scheduled to fight another rematch against Brazilian Charles Oliveira. However, just 10 days before the event, Oliveira incurred a deep cut above his eye while sparring, causing him to withdraw from the contest due to injury. Luckily, a solid replacement arrived, but not an ordinary fighter to close the gap.
Here’s a quick overview of the bookmakers’ winner odds in this main event ahead of Saturday night’s fight from the latest online MMA betting apps:
The last time these two met, the odds were 1.25 (1/4) to 4.00 (3/1) in favor of Makhachev. Now, despite Volkanovski losing that clash, the gap has narrowed at the bookies, with the defending champion paying 1.40 (1/4) and the challenger sitting at 3.00 (2/1). Makhachev is still a moderate favorite, but as this shift in odds indicates, this clash will be no walkover.
In February 2023, Makhachev traveled to Australia to take on Volkanovski in his own backyard, with both fighters riding big winning streaks. Volkanovski was stepping up from the featherweight division, making this only the sixth time two UFC champions squared off. After five intriguing rounds of action, the judges unanimously ruled in favor of Makhachev, with the Russian retaining this title.
As the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion, it’s safe to say Makhachev is in good form in the UFC. His most recent fight was the points victory over Volkanovski, before which he’d won by submission five times in a row. Overall, his record is 24-1-0 as a professional, with his last loss coming in 2015.
The Russian’s size and grappling ability are what set him apart from Volkanovski. While Volkanovski did a good job of stepping up a weight class when they met in February, he was dominated on the mat for big portions of the fight, and this was a major reason why he went on to lose the bout.
Volkanovski has been active this year, fighting just three months ago against Yair Rodriguez. The clash saw Volkanovski bounce back strongly from his defeat to Makhachev earlier in the year, winning by third-round knockout. Overall, the 35-year-old is 26-2-0 as a professional, with just one loss in the UFC.
Based on what we saw in the first fight and what we know of Volkanovski overall, the Australian’s striking and tenacity are his big advantages over Makhachev. He got good pay from his feints, leg strikes, and general stand-up game in this first fight, so expect him to go down this road again on Saturday and avoid getting too entangled on the mat.
We’ve looked at all the latest UFC odds, and now it’s time to do something about it. Here are our top Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski 2 tips:
The last time these two shared the Octagon, UFC fans got full value with the bout going the distance. However, we say it’s unlikely this happens again at UFC 294. These two fighters are simply too adept at understanding and exploiting their opponent’s weaknesses, and having fought each other recently, the chances that one of them finds a way to extract a finish this weekend is high.
We’re picking an upset here. There’s a reason they call Volkanovski “The Great,” and that’s because up until he dropped a tight decision to Makhachev in February, he was undefeated across 22 fights. With the Australian having had more than six months to analyze what went wrong and adapt his game, expect a fired-up Volkanovski to come out swinging at UFC 294 and walk away with the biggest win of his career.
If the underdog is to win here, we say it’s going to have to be by way of knockout. There’s no way that Volkanovski will want to let this be decided on the judges’ cards again, based on how that went last time. He’ll take the fight deep as usual, relying on his superior stamina before looking to up the ante and empty the tank in the final rounds. While he couldn’t quite get there in February, we think that will serve as the motivation he needs to go all the way this weekend and secure the knockout.
This weekend brings an absolute feast of MMA action, with UFC 294 packed with some crazy fights outside the main event, like Usman vs Chimaev mouthwatering clash. However, the event was designed to see a title bout, and it’s hard to overcome a headline featuring an exciting rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski.
While it’s happened at short notice, we believe the Australian will have been preparing for this moment all year and will be more than up to the task on Saturday. Our Makhachev vs Volkanovski 2 betting preview has this ending early, most likely thanks to a Volkanovski knockout.