Both of these fighters have just one loss on their professional mixed martial arts records. Some argue that they should both have losses to Max Holloway on their records, but it certainly wasn’t a robbery in the second fight between Blessed and Alexander Volkanovski.
The UFC Featherweight World Champion, Alexander The Great Volkanovski, defends his strap for the second time against the new and improved Brian Ortega at UFC 260 in less than two weeks on March 27th.
— Needing Art? (@needingartwork) March 11, 2021
The show will be in Las Vegas again, so you can expect the Apex facility to host the event, and that means a small Octagon.
I don’t really think that matters too much in this matchup as both fighters are action guys who pull and push their footwork depending on what is there as well as their current strategy.
Volkanovski is coming off of not one but two wins over Max Holloway and we continue to see Max raise his level in every fight. I can’t imagine any UFC Featherweight ever including prime Conor McGregor that would have beaten him the night he lit up Calvin Kattar.
That was something else, and I am looking forward to seeing Holloway challenge for the 145 belt in the near future. But first, this matchup is highly intriguing, and either side you like, there s arguable betting value.
I don’t think either fighter’s price tag is that far off to where they become unplayable. BetOnline.AG has the odds for UFC 260, and they have most of the best prices across the world wide web.
Let’s take a look at the betting odds for UFC 260’s co-main event Alexander Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega.
Alexander Volkanovski (-170) vs Brian Ortega (+145)
You would think (-170) for the favorite, and we would get the dog at (+150), but no. Why is that? The books feel like maybe they opened this one too wide for the champ and didn’t want to overcorrect, thus tipping their hand with such a massive line move.
That’s just a theory. I am seeing (-185) vs (+140) in some books also. I think people thought, hey, Ortega got smashed by Max, and Volk is coming off of two wins over him, so he wins almost 2 out of 3.
Harder, better, faster, stronger.
— UFC_AUSNZ (@UFC_AUSNZ) March 13, 2021
But, woah nelly bell. Once you start to think about this fight from a stylistic standpoint, you can see more than one path to victory for the underdog. Any time you can have multiple routes to a win with a plus money fighter, you have to look at possibly making a play.
Brian Ortega can switch stances with ease, and that will disrupt the inside lead kicking game of Volkanovski, or Alex will land the kick before Ortega can switch. This fight will most likely play out very closely, so I a look at the dog isn’t a bad idea.
I figured the books would make him about a (+150) underdog, and that’s what they did.
So, since then, I have actively been trying to prove myself wrong and see if I can confidently say that I think Alex Volkanovski wins 7 out of 10 times. I tried. I just can’t. So, that means this is a dog or pass situation, and we ain’t passing this rock.
Let’s break this matchup down round by round. Both guys have been the full 5 before and won, in both of their most recent fights, actually.
There are fighters like Conor McGregor who fade fast and others like Brian Ortega, who hung in there for a long time while taking a beating from Max. We also have the over/under to consider, along with the method of victory props that are already released for this matchup.
Alexander Volkanovski lands more than 6 significant strikes per minute, which is quite a lot, and Brian Ortega absorbs more than 6 per minute, also quite a bit. This stat alone is enough to line the fight for the champion, but it was primarily one fight that skewed that statistic for Ortega.
Max Holloway landed 290 significant strikes on Brian that night. And that was through 4 rounds, not 5. Max is something else, man.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) January 16, 2021
It’s hard to argue against volume in the first round, especially from a guy like the champion. He comes out firing punches and kicks and has an outstanding landing percentage of 55%. Scoring 6 per minute at 55% is virtually unbeatable.
You’re going to have to knock him out or take him down, and you are probably going to have a harder time with the latter. Volkanovski outscored Max Holloway.
Throwing wild in the pocket!
— UFC (@ufc) December 15, 2019
Twice. I imagine he is going to win the first round against Brian Ortega by mixing ip up right away.
Here is the make-or-break moment for Brian is going to come. If he falls behind 2 rounds to zero right away against a striker so voluminous, a win on the judges’ scorecards is a highly unlikely possibility.
Ortega cannot let Volkanovski be first, and the Jiu-Jitsu ace is going to have to find a way to mix in his grappling or at least threaten with a takedown and/or back take attempts. One route to victory for Brian T City Ortega is to press his opponent up against the side of the Octagon and try to force him to turn in order to escape.
This could potentially allow Brian to jump the back even if it is just with one hook. Ortega has the BJJ skills to do things that other people can’t. He is that level of a prodigy, so he could end this fight without having to outstrike or even take down his opponent.
Ortega doesn’t have the takedown game to match his BJJ, but he is ever-improving in all areas of mixed martial arts showing that he’s just that, a true martial artist. He learned “The Way” directly from the Gracies, and he has applied it to the rest of his game.
I think Brian Ortega knows the importance of not going down 2-0, and he expends a lot of energy to even up the fight on the scorecards.
This is where we need to just keep it simple and not try to be a full-blown psychic/storyteller. This is going to be a close fight, most likely, and you have Brian Ortega, who, after taking some time away from the Octagon, came back against The Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung and looked incredible.
— Rener Gracie (@RenerGracie) October 18, 2020
Ortega hurt the Zombie badly as he beautifully walked him into a spinning elbow, but zombies are, of course, historically difficult to finish, and Chan Sung Jung hung in there until the final bell.
Brian showed us some wrinkles in his striking game that we have never seen before, but I was ready for it. I am a massive fan of Kevin Ross, one of the best Muay Thai fighters to ever come out of the United States.
I knew from his Instagram that Brian had been training with him and his proteges at The Boxing Club in SoCal for a while. Ortega was an even bigger underdog against The Zombie, and we tipped him to win and were rewarded handsomely. Brian Ortega has also been putting in the work with some of Southern California’s finest MMA wrestlers. This guy is a champion. He always has been. It’s a mindset. Brian learned The Way, and now he is applying it to multiple disciplines and evolving his mixed martial arts game at an alarming rate.
Has his striking evolved enough to hang with 6 strikes per minute at 55%? That is a tough ask for anyone. I think the winner of this third round will probably be the winner of the fight. If Ortega can stay on the front foot, I like his chances.
In round 4, either Brian Ortega is going to get tired, and the volume of Alex Volkanovski will start to fill up the scorecards with checkmarks for the champion, or T City is going to find a way to get this fight to the mat.
We don’t have reason to believe, yet, that the latter can actually happen. We know he is improving his wrestling game, and Brian’s ceiling is arguably higher than that of the champ’s but who is better right now?
When the fourth round comes, and Volkanovski is still hitting Brian cleanly once every ten seconds, Brian is going to run. I’m kidding. Yea right.
I can’t say I believe that Brian will win a decision, and he is a fighter, man. Ortega is going to scrap, and I don’t think Volk is going to have the heart to run from a BJJ guy, so he could very well fall victim to the deadly sin of pride.
The under 4.5 rounds is priced at (+160). I don’t hate that play. Volkan isn’t a huge finisher, but Ortega isn’t much of a decision guy. He comes to fight and for there to be a clear-cut winner either way.
I will take Brian Ortega to upset Alexander Volkanovski. I believe he is putting his game together style by style, and his wrestling could be his new thing at UFC 260.
This should be a great fight! I think it is 50/50. Ortega is so dangerous and has so much heart that I don’t believe he will let the Featherweight champ pick him apart for 25 minutes.
Everyone wants him to be strictly a BJJ guy now, but those days are over. You don’t know what level of improvement to expect from Brian Ortega anymore. This kid is now a man, and his Muay Thai is quickly becoming scary.
This guy has the IT factor, and you can see it in his training. He wants his wrestling and the rest of his MMA game to match his triangles and other submissions. Some folks say, “Oh, I am a striker, and my striking will always be my strength.”
Limits are bad. Bruce Lee told us that, and Michael Jordan echoed his sentiment. Brian has not limited himself at all. I truly believe he has every intention of bringing up all of his skills to the level of his submission grappling/BJJ.
That is scary, and Alexander Volkanovski might have a tougher fight at UFC 26 than he originally planned.