UFC 284 Expert picks and best bets: Do insiders back Makhachev as a heavy favorite?

Islam Makhachev stakes out his lightweight title against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in the main event of UFC 284 (Sat, 10 pm, Sportzshala+ PPV). At stake is not only the belt in the weight category up to 155 pounds, but also the undisputed title of king, regardless of the weight category.

Makhachev (23-1), ranked No. 2 on Sportzshala P4P, defeated Charles Oliveira to capture the lightweight title last October. Makhachev has finished off an opponent in each of his last five fights. Volkanovski (25-1), P4P #1 on Sportzshala, has held the featherweight title since 2019. In his last fight, he won by unanimous decision over Max Holloway.

In the co-main event, Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will battle for the interim men’s world featherweight title, an opportunity presented by Volkanovski, who chose to take on Makhachev. Rodriguez (14-3, 1 NC), ranked 4th in Sportzshala’s division, defeated Brian Ortega by TKO in the first round in his last fight. Emmett (18-2), who finished in 7th place, scored a split decision victory over Calvin Kattar last June.

Mark Raimondi spoke with Fight Ready MMA coach Santino DeFranco for his take on the main event and New England Cartel coach Tyson Chartier for his take on the co-main event. Sportzshala betting experts Ian Parker and Reed Koon also add their ideas and analysis of the fights they like on the map.

Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Lightweight title fight: Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski


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