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UFC 294: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski Main Event Prediction

UFC 294: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski Main Event Prediction

UFC 294: MAKHACHEV VS. VOLKANOVSKI MAIN EVENT PREDICTION – It is my birthday this weekend and the MMA gods gave me my wish, and that was a last-minute change in the main event to put together a more intriguing card. Let’s face it, we saw Makhachev walk through Oliveira this time last year. It wasn’t even a fight.

However, there was more tread on the Volkanovski rematch considering how close it was, especially with how it ended. I feel there is more to peel back in this matchup than there was for the Oliveira fight.

Makhachev is looking to go 2-0 in 2023 and ensuring both of those victories are against the best featherweight in the world.

Volkanovski rebounded from him loss to Makhachev earlier this year with a dominant win over Rodriguez, he intends on righting the wrong from back in February.

Will the Dagestani wrestler prove his dominance once again? Or will the consensus pound-for-pound best fighter in the world even the score? Read on to see how the two of the top five fighters in the world square off once again and how we can look to extract some money out of it.

Islam Makhachev

When Khabib Nurmagomedov hung up the gloves, all eyes turned to Islam Makhachev to be the next big thing in the lightweight division. He had a dominant debut back in 2015 but had a minor slip up in his second fight where he got knocked out less than 1.5 minutes into his fight. Since then, he has been undeniable.

A 12-fight winning streak spanning the last seven years has been his resume as well as finishing his last five of six opponents.

What made Khabib great is what makes Makhachev great, however many believe Makhachev has a better striking game than Khabib too. We don’t get to see it often due to how dominant his wrestling and grappling game is. Once he gets his opponents to the mat, he is disciplined and methodical with how he can transition to the next position that will eventually lead him to a dominant enough position to get the finish.

Whether it’s his jiu jitsu allowing him to lock up a submission or getting to full mount or the back position to rain down big shots and get a TKO finish. There’s only been one fighter to provide him with enough resistance that has finally made him seem human, and he takes him on once again this weekend.

Alexander Volkanovski

It was the first time in 10 years and 23 fights that Volkanovski tasted defeat when Makhachev beat him earlier this year. Leading up to that fight, Volkanovski was being talked about as the best featherweight of all time. With wins over high level 145ers like Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, Max Holloway (thrice), Brian Ortega, and The Korean Zombie, it’s hard to deny him of that moniker.

Although most of his wins have come by decision, he has done a great job of inflicting damage and having entertaining fights throughout.

The most mind-blowing thing about it all is that he’s not a specialist at one specific martial art as most great fighters are. He is a master of tying all the martial arts together and utilizing an endless gas tank to get the job done. From using his blitzing striking attacks to chaining wrestling behind it, it’s hard to tell what his approach in fights will be, which makes it even harder to prepare for him.

He’s usually at a height and reach disadvantage in his fights, but considering the significant strike numbers he normally puts up, you would assume he wasn’t. He out-strikes strikers, he out-grapples grapplers, he out-cardios cardio machines. The only shame is that he is getting up there in age now, turning 35 a few weeks ago.

Once fighters in weight classes below welterweight get on the bad side of 30, things start to go downhill. We’ll see if Volkanovski is an exception to that.

The Pick

It was clear after their first meeting that there was no way that Volkanovski was a +295 underdog. And even in this matchup, I feel that +220 is still wide. He is coming off an abbreviated training camp and a surgery back in August.

According to him he has been training since the beginning of September, which isn’t ideal, but I truly believe that Volkanovski is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of fighter. His cardio will be the most useful tool for him in this fight. If he can make Makhachev work early as he did in their last fight, he can reap the fruits of his labor in the final rounds.

Had it not been for that one minor mistake he made in the fourth round that allowed Makhachev to control his back for the rest of the round, he could have come out on top in that fight. My favorite play for this fight will be the over 4.5, but I’ll be happy to take a small shot on Volkanovski once again. Not everyday do we get an opportunity to bet a fighter of his caliber as a +220 underdog.

Volkanovski +220 & Over 4.5 -125


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