UFC, MMA & Boxing

UFC 294: Main Card Preview & Betting Picks

UFC 294 Preview

UFC 294 is already one of a kind. How often does a fighter drop out of the main and co-main a week prior to the event, only for the card to get better when the replacements are announced? Answer: never. We’ve taken a look at the biggest fights on Yas Island this weekend and put together our UFC 294 picks from the latest UFC odds.

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UFC 294 Main Event: Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski

It’s the rematch the whole world wanted to see. Alexander Volkanovski will step into the octagon for a second time with Islam Makhachev after Charles Oliveira was forced to withdraw due to injury. The rematch comes less than nine months following their first bout, in which Makhachev prevailed via a unanimous decision victory.

The always-active featherweight champion Volk has been in action since then, knocking out Yair Rodriguez in an impressive bounce-back performance. The Aussie has cleared out the 135lbs division and is already among the greatest featherweights of all time. All that’s left to cement his hall-of-fame legacy is to become a two-division champion, something a lot of people think he succeeded in first time around.

Makhachev edged an incredibly close affair in Perth, coming out on top on all of the judges’ scorecards: 48-47, 48-47, 49-46. However, a lot of pros and pundits are on record saying that Volkanovski should have won the fight.

The stakes have rarely been higher going into a main event. Makhachev will be looking to put the doubts about the legitimacy of his lightweight reign to bed, while Volkanovski could put his name among the greats should he beat the Dagestani wrestler on a week’s notice.

Makhachev vs Volkanovski Betting Odds

Islam Makhachev to win – 1.35

Via decision – 3.20

Via KO/TKO/DQ – 8.00

Via submission – 3.10

Alexander Volkanovski to win – 3.20

Via decision – 5.20

Via KO/TKO/DQ – 6.00

Via submission – 25.00

UFC 294 Co-Main Event: Kamaru Usman vs Khamzat Chimaev

It’s another cracker in the co-main, one that would headline most cards. Usman was the man called up to replace Paulo Costa on short notice, with the Nigerian Nightmare desperate to end a two-fight skid following back-to-back defeats at the hands of Leon Rocky Edwards. Usman has not faced adversity like it since joining the UFC and will make a step up to middleweight in order to challenge the rising stock of Khamzat Chimaev.

Chimaev’s ascent to the top of the UFC has been nothing short of sensational. After six fights and a 100% win record, he has still only seen less than seven full rounds of action in total. His toughest fight to date was a brawl with warrior Gilbert Burns. Chimaev came through it with flying colours, winning via unanimous decision and proving he is here to stay.

It cannot be overstated how important a win is for both men. Dana White has already confirmed the man who gets his hand raised will be first in line for a shot at Sean Strickland and the 185lbs title. For Chimaev, it’s the perfect chance to complete his unprecedented rise. For Usman, a shot at redemption.

Usman vs Chimaev Betting Odds

Usman to win – 3.20

Chimaev to win – 1.35

Main Card Picks

Said Nurmagomedov to beat Muin Gafurov – 1.45

Ikram Aliskerov to beat Warlley Alves – 1.17

Magomed Ankalaev to beat Johnny Walker – 1.27

Khamzat Chimaev to beat Kamaru Usman – 1.35

Alexander Volkanovski to beat Islam Mahachev – 3.20

We’re predicting a strong night for the favourites. While Johnny Walker poses a threat to anyone on the feet, Ankalaev looks streets above in terms of consistency. He has run through the light heavyweight division since losing against Paul Craig on his debut, and we wouldn’t mind betting he’s next in line for a shot at the belt following Jiri Prochazka and Alex Pereira’s bout.

Chimaev via decision looks a good bet for the co-main. Usman is coming into the fight following back-to-back losses – maybe his time is up? Chimaev is also huge. He will pack on the mass following weigh-ins and also boasts a power advantage. Kamaru’s a warrior though, so don’t expect an early finish.

We’re going against the grain for the big one. Many will argue Volk one the first fight, and we’re one of the many. He also came on strong in the championship rounds, finishing the fight on top landing serious ground and pound. We could be looking at a historic night that cements the Aussie’s legacy as one of the best to enter the octagon.

*Odds subject to change.

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