UFC 284 Betting Odds And Preview: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski

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UFC 284 Alexander Volkanovski

The UFC is in Perth, Australia, this weekend for its first event in the country in over three years. UFC 284 is a special one for another reason, however, and that’s because it pits one champion in his prime against another, as 145-pound champ Alexander Volkanovski moves up in weight to take on 155-pound champion Islam Makhachev.

In the co-main event, featherweights Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will vie for the interim 145-pound title, both aiming to get a piece of UFC gold while the division waits to find out whether Volkanovski’s move up is a temporary one or perhaps something more lasting.

Below, we’ll get into some deeper analysis of the UFC 284 fight card that airs live on Saturday night in North America and look at the betting odds from all the main markets.

UFC 284 Main Event Odds

Islam Makhachev () vs. Alexander Volkanovski ()

It’s rare these days to see Volkanovski enter a fight as a 3-to-1 underdog, and it almost certainly wouldn’t happen against anyone in his own division. But going up a division is always tricky, and even dominant MMA champions have had all their momentum halted that way in the past. It’s also bound to be especially tricky with this particular match-up.

Makhachev is a new champion, having only taken the lightweight belt off Charles Oliveira late last year. But Makhachev easily sliced through Oliveira in that fight, and aside from his only professional loss in his second UFC fight, he hasn’t faced all that much resistance overall in his climb to the top. He’s a dominating grappler with surprising power in the stand-up striking game, but he’s also a potent finisher, having won five straight fights by either TKO or submission.

Volkanovski was already undersized for featherweight. He’s billed at five-foot-six inches and has a good reach for a man that height, but he’s still dwarfed by Makhachev. It’s definitely not the first time he’s faced bigger opponents – he has three wins over featherweight great Max Holloway, who’s a shade taller than Makhachev – but here he faces an opponent whose style lends itself very well to being the bigger, bullying fighter. Volkanovski’s only professional loss came against a much bigger opponent, and there’s a concern that here again he may be biting off more than he can chew.

Still, being written off as too small to get the job done is the story of Volkanovski’s whole life. The man was a rugby terror on a minor league level before turning his focus to MMA, and that’s a sport that didn’t give him the benefit of weight classes to keep things competitive. Volkanovski is an extremely smart fighter with a ton of resiliency, and he’s had to learn how to use his footwork and his feints to negate size advantages before. He just may not have done it against anyone this good yet.

UFC 284 Co-Main Event Odds

Yair Rodriguez () vs. Josh Emmett ()

Rodriguez is a dynamic striker who’s seemed like a potential star in the making for a while now, but can’t quite seem to get over the hump against the very top of the division. He’s posted losses against the two most recent ex-champs he’s faced but has also looked fantastic at times, coming up with creative finishes that you wouldn’t believe if you saw them in a video game or an action movie.

Emmett is more of an all-around workhorse who doesn’t do any one thing spectacularly, but also doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. He arguably deserved to lose the judges’ decision in his last bout, but he got the nod and has been waiting for a move up to the next level of the division ever since. Now, with the champ seeking bigger game, he gets his shot against a man who’s been carrying himself like an uncrowned champ for the last year or so.

Emmett does not want to stand there at distance and let Rodriguez try for an addition to his highlight reel. He needs to emphasize the “mixed” part of mixed martial arts in this fight and see if he can wear Rodriguez down with wrestling and clinch fighting. The longer it goes, the better Emmett’s chances for an upset might get.

UFC 284 Props And Rounds Betting

If you’re looking for props on the main event, your best chance might be to go with the length of the fight. They’re scheduled for five rounds, with the over/under set at 2.5. Volkanovski has gone four or more rounds in five straight fights. Makhachev, on the other hand, has finished three straight in under two full rounds.

As for other decent props options on the card, welterweight Jack Della Maddalena and heavyweight Justin Tafa are both knockout artists (though of very different skill), as well as local-ish products who will have tons of fan support. It wouldn’t be a shock if the UFC had tried to give them both winnable fights for the sake of crowd enthusiasm, and both these guys are most likely to win by knockout when they get their hands raised.

Full UFC 284 Fight Card

Main Card

Islam Makhachev () vs. Alexander Volkanovski ()
Yair Rodriguez () vs. Josh Emmett ()
Jack Della Maddalena () vs. Randy Brown ()
Justin Tafa () vs. Parker Porter ()
Jimmy Crute () vs. Alonzo Menifield ()

Prelim Card

Tyson Pedro () vs. Modestas Bukauskas ()
Joshua Culibao () vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan ()
Shannon Ross () vs. Kleydson Rodrigues ()
Jamie Mularkey () vs. Francisco Prado ()

Early Prelims

Jack Jenkins () vs. Don Shainis ()
Loma Lookboonmee () vs. Elise Reed ()
Shane Young () vs. Blake Bilder ()
Zubaira Tukhugov () vs. Elves Brenner ()

How To Watch UFC 284