UFC 290 Main Event: Three Best Prop Bets
With the UFC 290 main event being the crowning glory, there is a packed schedule for International Fight Week 2023.
The UFC will be inducting Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone into the modern wing, Jens Pulver into the pioneer wing, and Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II into the fight wing. Two title fights await fans on Saturday as Alexander Volkanovski defends his featherweight belt against Yair Rodriguez, and Brandon Moreno will risk his flyweight strap against Alexandre Pantoja.
It is a stacked card with the early prelims starting at 6 p.m. EDT, prelims at 8 p.m., and the main card at 10 p.m. EDT on pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
UFC 290 main event – Tale of the Tape
Although he is the clear pre-fight favorite here, Alexander Volkanovski lost to Islam Makhachev in February against pre-fight expectations, as he attempted to gain two belts by going up a weight class. It was a close fight, but the judges gave the victory to Makhachev. It was his first loss since 2013 and snapped his 22-fight winning streak dating back to his days in Australia.
Yair Rodriguez beat Josh Emmett in the co-main event of UFC 284, which preceded Makhachev defeating Volkanovski. He won the interim featherweight belt and a chance to dethrone Volkanovski. He entered the UFC at 22 and has become one of the most dangerous strikers on the roster.
Get the latest UFC 290 Main Event odds on DraftKings.
Volkanovski to Win by KO/TKO +170
The height difference between these two will be the most noticeable. Rodriguez is 5’11’’, and Volkanovski is 5’6’’. It is a trend in Volkanovski’s fights, as he is always the smaller fighter, but he makes up for it with his abnormally long reach and physical strength.
He and Rodriguez both have a 71-inch arm reach. The second thing most people will notice is the pace at which both of these men fight. Volkanovski lands 6.35 significant strikes per minute and absorbs 3.40 strikes per minute, while Rodriguez lands 4.78 strikes and absorbs 4.03 significant strikes per minute.
Rodriguez also attempts a lot of kicks, which require more energy. His gas tank was a problem earlier in his career but has improved in recent fights. Volkanovski’s gas tank is never a concern and is one of his best attributes.
The Mexican went five hard rounds with Max Holloway but got outpaced by Holloway. He landed 159 significant strikes, while Holloway landed 230:
Volkanovski pushes a pace similar to Holloway but is much more tactical. He will slow down Rodriguez with calf kicks, then take things to the mat where he is less dangerous.
Rodriguez has submitted four opponents, but it will be a feat if he gets Volkanovski, and Brian Ortega could not. Rodriguez may be in great shape for a striking match. But is his conditioning good enough for five rounds, with Volkanovski landing volume on the feet and mixing in takedowns?
It will be his toughest test yet, but Volkanovski’s constant pressure may be enough to wear him out and make the referee step in to stop the fight.
Volkanovski to Win by Decision +140
If Rodriguez does not tire out, then Volkanovski should get a decision victory. Rodriguez has a chance to land a perfect kick or elbow that could knock anyone out, but it will take something spectacular. He does throw unorthodox combinations and strikes from unlikely places.
The up elbow that landed on “Korean Zombie” right before the bell is a perfect example.
He is always in a fight until the last bell unless he is on his back. Volkanovski can stand with him, but it would be much easier to secure a takedown and limit his risk of getting caught by a kick. In practice, that means it is a safe prop with a slight value.
Volkanovski to Win by KO/TKO in Round 5 +2400
This same prop is at +1800 on DraftKings. The implied odds of this prop winning would be 5.26%. Do not go super heavy on this prop, but it is worth a small risk based on the price difference.
Volkanovski will get better as the fight goes and Rodriguez is tough. Exhaustion would occur in the championship rounds and could lead to Volkanovski landing enough consecutive shots so the referee stops it. It is a solid value and an outcome that is certainly feasible.