SuperBook Picking Islam Makhachev to be UFC Lightweight Champion on 1/1/23

Islam Makhachev UFC Green Background

  • The Las Vegas SuperBook favors Islam Makhachev to be the UFC lightweight champion on Januay 1, 2023 at +170.
  • Makhachev is currently booked to fight Beneil Dariush on February 26th.
  • Current champion Charles Oliveira is second in th SuperBook odds board at +225, while Oliveira’s challenger on May 7th, Justin Gaethje, is third at +250.

Islam Makhachev as UFC lightweight champion at the start of 2023? The Las Vegas SuperBook thinks so.

According to the SuperBook, Makhachev has the shortest odds to be the sitting UFC lightweight champion on January 1, 2023, at +170. Makhachev is scheduled to fight Beneil Dariush in the main event of the UFC’s February 26th Fight Night event with the winner expected to earn the next shot at the UFC lightweight belt.

Oliveira vs Gaethje at UFC 274

The belt currently goes home with Charles Oliveira, who has been the champion since knocking out Michael Chandler at UFC 262 last May 15, 2021. Oliveira is scheduled to defend the belt against Justin Gaethje on May 7th at UFC 274 and the champion is currently the -155 betting favorite to retain his belt at online sportsbook Bovada.

If Oliveira wins, there’s little doubt that Makhachev will be his next challenger. Beating Gaethje means the Brazilian will have beaten the current Top 2 lightweight contenders ( Poirier and Gaethje) in his previous two bouts. Dariush is the no. 3 ranked contender and if Makhachev takes care of him, the Dagestani is next in line at no. 4 in the rankings.

Gaethje meanwhile said last year that he will be more than happy to defend the belt against Makhachev if he beats Oliveira, although a rematch is also possible depending on the manner of outcome of their UFC 274 bout. But since UFC 274 is scheduled for May, there’s a good chance the winner fights one more time before the end of the year, giving Makhachev an opportunity to finish the year as champion, if he takes care of his business first.

Oliveira Willing to Let McGregor Jump the Line

Of course, there’s also a good chance that the title ends up in Olivera’s hands at the start 0f 2023. That’s why there’s excellent value on him as the second favorite at +225. Even if Makhachev beats Dariush and gets the next title shot, there’s no guarantee that the Dagestani will topple Oliveira’s reign. Sure, Makhachev has run over the opposition in the UFC. But so has Oliveira, who’s faced a murderer’s row of opponents in his rub to the title

Gaethje is third at +250 but he has a herculean task of beating Oliveira first. Meanwhile, Dustin Poirier is 4th at +1500. However, the Diamond looks focused on moving up in weight to fight probably Nate Diaz so he may not be a good bet here. Dariush is at +1800 but he needs to beat Makhachev first The next option is already a long shot at +2000 odds but knowing Dana White, he is an interesting bet.

Connor McGregor is scheduled to make his return this year and recently asked the UFC when does he get Oliveira. That’s ridiculous because he’s coming off two losses and an injury. But given his drawing power, he can ask for whatever fight he wants. Oliveira also hinted before that he is willing to let McGregor skip the line, so the Notorious is an interesting option at +2000.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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