UFC 284 predictions, best bets, odds: Josh Emmett vs. Yair Rodriguez, Justin Tafa among top picks to consider

A massive clash of elite fighters, regardless of weight class, is scheduled for Saturday night’s main event at UFC 284, when featherweight champion Alexander Volanovsky will challenge lightweight champion Islam Makhachev for the 155-pound title. Although Volkanovski will enter the fight as a significant underdog, he will have hometown advantage as the event takes place in his native Australia.

The fight will be Makhachev’s first lightweight title defense since a dominating win over former champion Charles Oliveira at UFC 280. Volkanovski is bringing a 22-fight winning streak into the octagon as he looks to build on his already incredible resume by finishing fifth. person in UFC history to hold championships in two divisions at the same time.

As always, we look forward to this event to determine our picks for the best bets on the main pay-per-view card. 2023 got off to a hot start as we went 4-1 in our UFC 283 picks.

Let’s take a look at our selection of the best UFC 284 main card bets with Caesars Sportsbook odds.

Jimmy Cool vs. Alonzo Menifield

Choice: up to 1.5 rounds (-140)

Only one of Root’s seven fights in the UFC — eight if you count his Dana White Contender Series victory — made it past the first round. Similarly, six of Menifield’s 10 octagon runs ended in the first round. Not only are both men good finishers, they themselves are invulnerable to being stopped. This fight has all the elements you need to be comfortable in lane until 1.5 rounds, especially if it stays below -150. Root also lost two fights in a row ahead of schedule. One of them was stopped by a doctor, but the most recent was a 48-second knockout loss to Jamahal Hill. Menifield can absolutely hack and is a tempting underdog at +160, but it’s safer to play just picking less.

Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter

Pick: Justin Tafa KO/TKO/DQ (+160)

Picking UFC middleweight fights at heavyweight is never fun. Also, heavyweights tend to have enough power to knock out their opponent at a moment’s notice, gas tanks are unreliable. Porter is 37 years old and can be stopped by three knockouts and three submission losses on his record. Tafa’s 5-3 record doesn’t inspire much confidence, but he’s a good finisher and, as a New Zealander, he doesn’t handle the aftermath of the trip as well as Porter. Tafa should be able to find Porter’s chin enough to finish, and if we pick him for the win, we might as well take the +160 knockout line instead of the -125 moneyline.

Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown

Pick: Jack Della Maddalena KO/TKO/Suspended (-115)

Della Maddalena is the favorite for obvious reasons. He has very sharp boxing skills and an undefeated record. He pairs well with Brown, whose biggest assets are his height and reach. At 6’3″ with a 78″ arm span, Brown has a unique welterweight physique. However, Della Maddalena’s punch is so sharp and Brown doesn’t know how to impose his will. Brown has been stopped twice in his career, and Della Maddalena has 11 knockouts in his 13 career victories. Play numbers on this one.

Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett

Choice: Fight not to go the distance (+110)

It’s a little iffy to start a fight between two men who’ve only been stopped once each (apart from Rodriguez’s loss due to the doctor’s stoppage) so as not to go the distance. But stylistically, this is a fight where both guys face a lot of risk. Both fighters hit hard, and they can have defensive errors that lead to accurate punches to the face. Since this is a temporary featherweight title fight, both fighters have five rounds to survive. It’s certainly possible, as reflected in the odds, but it’s such a risky battle with two men who don’t shy away from participating that it’s a worthwhile game to fight to not go the distance with plus-money.

Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovskiy

Choice: Over 2.5 rounds (-170)

This fight is hard to name, much harder than Makhachev’s -410 money line suggests. This alone makes betting on Volkanovskiy’s +320 money line a worthwhile play in terms of sheer value. But Volkanovski’s play is also an acceptable risk. The safer choice is to fight for 2.5 rounds. Yes, Makhachev is a big, strong executioner, and Volkanovski is climbing up the division in pursuit of greatness. But Volkanovski is an extremely intelligent fighter with a solid fight and the ability to lock in a tactical game plan on his feet. There will be a lot of probing in the beginning, and Volkanovskiy’s feints will make Makhachev hesitate to immediately enter the game. Neither fighter should be expected to have an easy time, and neither sees an early finish as likely.


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