Islam Makhachev Vs Alexander Volkanovski UFC

  • Alexander Volkanovski has opened as the +300 betting underdog against Islam Makhachev.
  • Makhachev, who won the UFC lightweight title last weekend, hit the betting boards as the -400 favorite to beat Volkanovski.
  • Volkanovski was listed at a shorter +180 odds as the UFC 280 backup fighter with Makhachev opening at -210 odds.

Alexander Volkanovski has opened as a sizable betting underdog in a potential clash with newly crowned UFC lightweight king Islam Makhachev.

According to the online sportsbook BetOnline, the reigning UFC featherweight champion is the +300 underdog against Makhachev, who opened at -400 odds:

It can be recalled that Makhachev challenged Volkanovski to a super fight at UFC 284 and the Australian accepted the challenge.

Volkanovski Enters the Octagon to Accept Makhachev’s Challenge

After beating the no. 1 ranked contender in his weight class three consecutive times, perhaps Alexander Volkanovski felt there was no more challenge left in his division. That’s the reason why Volk has been hinting about moving up in weight class and challenging for the UFC lightweight title. The Aussie was the “unofficial” next lightweight title challenger anyway, as he was designated as the backup fighter for last weekend’s UFC 280 main event.

It wasn’t a surprise why Makhachev asked for Volkanovski to enter the cage after winning the belt. It was also not a surprise why Volkanovski accepted the challenge. UFC 284 has been long booked for Australia’s RAC Arena on February 12, 2023 and what better title fight book for the event than one featuring the UFC’s no. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in Alexander Volkanovski?

The 34-year-old former professional boxer and semi-professional rugby player has risen from the ranks in the UFC’s featherweight division. Since joining the UFC in 2016, Volkanovski is unbeaten in 12 UFC bouts, including five title fights. He has beaten the previous two featherweight champions Jose Aldo and Max Holloway and the interim champion Brian Ortega.

Underdog as UFC 280 Alternate

Volkanovski was also the underdog to both Makhachev and Oliveira in his backup role at UF 280. Against a -140 Oliveira, the UFC featherweight king was listed at +120 odds. Versus Makhachev at -210 odds, Volkanovski was on deck at +180 odds. The odds against Makhachev are now more lopsided, perhaps after Islam’s dominant performance against Oliveira last weekend.

Makhachev closed at -200 odds against Olivier while the Brazilian entered the Octagon at +155 odds. Islam’s odds shorted to -300 after a strong round one. The Dagestani then finished off Oliveira with an arm-triangle choke after hurting the Brazilian on the feet. Makhachev outlander Oliveira 30-19 in significant strikes landed and complete two takedown attempts versus none for Do Bronx.

Meanwhile, if this fight is booked, this will only be the second time where Voklanovski has opened the betting underdog. The only other time where Volk opened at plus-money odds was when he opened at +175 odds during his first bout with Max Holloway. This is also the longest opening odds of Volkanovski’s entire MMA career.

Makhachev Eyeing the No. 1 Pound-for-Pound Spot

After realizing his dream of becoming a UFC world champion, Makhachev said that his new target is becoming the UFC’s no. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. To do that, he must beat the man who holds that title right now and as if the stars fell in place, that fighter is Volkanovski who wants a shot at his belt.

While Volkanovski is undefeated in a dozen UFC bouts, Makhachev has won his last 11 fights after suffering the only loss of his MMA career during his second UFC bout in 2015. In that UFC 192 fight, Makhachev closed as the -120 favorite to beat Adriano Martins. Martins ended up knockout out Makhachev inside one round.

Since that setback, Makhachev has won 11 in a row including seven via stoppage. This marks the 7th time in 13 UFC bouts that he has opened with odds of at least +400. Makhachev’s shortest opening odds were at +475 when he fought Arman Tsarukyan in 2019. Makhachev won that bout via unanimous decision.

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About the Author
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Shane Acedera
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Shane turned a childhood love of the NBA into a successful writing career as he’s been covering basketball and other sports online since high school. Acedera branched out into sports betting over a decade ago and has been a reliable contributor to TheSportsGeek for the last five years. Shane loves to talk sports whether it’s with other enthusiasts or with his wife and three dogs.

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