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UFC 294 Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2 Main Card Best Bets

Islam Makhachev Defeats Charles Oliveira Lightweight Championship UFC
Islam Makhachev reacts after defeating Charles Oliveira in the lightweight championship at UFC 280. Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

In their highly anticipated return to Abu Dhabi, the UFC hosts a rematch of epic proportions this Saturday, and we’ll witness a highly anticipated main event as Islam Makhachev defends his lightweight title versus Alexander Volkanovski for a second time.

The former welterweight king Kamaru Usman accepts his debut middleweight contest on short notice, but a formidable foe in Khamzat Chimaev awaits, in a contest that’s guaranteed to deliver fireworks.

Let’s waste no more time and dive right into the most noteworthy betting picks for the UFC 294 main and co-main event.

Picks Summary

  • Makhachev-Volkanovski Fight Goes the Distance (-115 ) 
  • Usman-Chimaev Fight Goes the Distance (+130)

*Odds from Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)


Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski II

UFC 294 Lightweight Main Event Championship Bout

Saturday, October 21, 2023 – 10:00 AM EDT at the Etihad Arena


The man, the myth, the legend, Islam Makhachev (24-1-0 pro-MMA), who has now conquered the lightweight division and successfully defended his title, all behind a 13-1 UFC record with a 12-fight win streak since 2015.

However, last time out, the Russian counterpart of the legend Khabib Nurmagomedov must face the man who gave him the toughest five rounds of his career.

Alexander Volkanovski (26-2-0) is a conqueror in his own right, having cleared out the featherweight division over the previous seven years, and isn’t just a champion at 145lbs with six defenses but also earned the right to become the pound-for-pound No.1 fighter in the world.

Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2: Fight Tape Analysis

The first meeting between the featherweight and lightweight kings resulted in an incredibly close decision victory for Makhachev. But after taking this bout on short notice, it isn’t easy to expect Volkanovski to enter Abu Dhabi at 100%.

With that said, Volk, at 50%, still owns the talents that most fighters couldn’t compete with. While he’s unquestionably the more clinical and dangerous striker this weekend with exceptional takedown defense, I wouldn’t be surprised to witness the exact same outcome we saw at UFC 284.

The bread and butter of Makhachev is the wrestling, and instead of exchanging with Volk on the feet, I predict he’ll spam more takedown attempts this time around. This won’t, however, be detrimental to the Australian’s durability, who’s displayed a no-quit attitude continuously throughout his career with a mere two losses and zero stoppages inside the distance.

UFC 294 Main Event Odds & Prediction

The UFC pricing with OddsTrader’s top sportsbooks places Makhachev as the betting favorite, and I cannot disagree. That said, there’s zero value on the moneyline when you consider how close the first contest played out.

For this reason, we’re banking on the durability of both men. The lightweight champ defends his crown with 25 pro-MMA bouts to his name and just one loss where he was surprisingly knocked out. Volk has never been finished via KO/TKO or submission, and a wager on this fight going the distance at -115 fits the narrative.

UFC Pick: Fight Goes the Distance (-115) [1.15u returns 1u profit] at Bet365


Kamaru Usman vs. Khamzat Chimaev

UFC 294 Middleweight Co-Main Event Bout

Saturday, October 21, 2023 – 10:00 AM EDT at the Etihad Arena


The story of Khamzat Chimaev (12-0-0) finally resumes following a 13-month hiatus. Still, his domineering efforts during his early UFC tenure, which consisted of back-to-back, round-one stoppages, aren’t likely to continue as he faces the world’s most elite.

Kamaru Usman (20-3-0) was the p4p king not long ago, but it seems that the sportsbooks and betting public are neglecting this factor because he lost consecutive meetings to Leon Edwards.

The reality is Usman owned a 13-0 UFC record and had remained undefeated since 2013 before the Edwards wars. Now, a +230 is placed next to his name versus an opponent that has just one significant win on his record.

Usman vs. Chimaev: Fight Tape Analysis

Is Chimaev the real deal? Possibly… He’s among the most talented offensive wrestlers and fight-finishers at welterweight and middleweight. Still, Gilbert Burns, the one elite opponent he faced, came very close to derailing the hype with a striking battle of the ages.

Notably, Usman dominated Burns, something that Chimaev couldn’t do. Of course, MMA-maths isn’t a viable way to make predictions, but the dominant wrestling displayed during Usman’s career will be enough to stop his undefeated opponent.

UFC 294 Co-Main Event Odds & Prediction

The UFC odds have placed Chimaev as the betting favorite, but this line should be -110 both ways, in my opinion.

With that said, and while I respect anyone betting +230, I’d be taking a flyer on Usman, and considering the career trajectories and the unknowns around Usman’s health, I cannot bring myself to fade Chimaev.

Instead, backing this fight to reach the judges’ scorecards shows value. For +140, all we need is the durability we’ve witnessed from both fighters during their careers to continue. Usman has been finished once from 23 pro bouts, while Chimaev has never been stopped.

UFC Pick: Fight Goes the Distance (+130) [1u returns 1.30u profit] at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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