UFC 284 predictions — Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski: Fight card, odds, preview, expert picks

Two of the UFC’s best fighters will clash Saturday night in a massive champion vs. champion superfight in the main event of UFC 284. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovskiy will move up to lightweight to take on 155-pound champion Islam Makhachev.

The fight will be Makhachev’s first lightweight title defense since winning the vacant belt from former champion Charles Oliveira. Volkanovski has never lost in the UFC Octagon, although he went undefeated for nearly a decade in his professional career.

With Volkanovski busy, an interim featherweight champion will be crowned in the co-main event of the evening. Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will fight for the belt and a future fight with Volkanovski for the undisputed championship.

With so much going on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get into our staff’s predictions and picks for the PPV celebration part.

UFC 284 fight card, odds

Odds via bookmaker Caesars

  • Islam Makhachev (c) -410 vs Alexander Volkanovskiy +320, lightweight championship
  • Yair Rodriguez -165 vs Josh Emmett +140 Interim Featherweight Championship
  • Jack Della Madalena -310 vs Randy Brown +250 Welterweight
  • Justin Tafa -125 vs Parker Porter +105 Heavyweights
  • Jimmy Cool -220 vs. Alonzo Manfield +180 Light Heavyweights
  • Tyson Pedro -240 vs. Zhang Mingyan +200, light heavyweights
  • Josh Coulibao -115 vs Melsik Baghdasarian -105 Featherweight
  • Claydson Rodriguez -310 vs. Shannon Ross +250 flyweight
  • Jamie Mullarkey -260 vs. Francisco Prado +210 Lightweight
  • Jack Jenkins -360 vs. Don Shinis +280 Featherweight
  • Loma Lookboonmee -280 vs Eliza Reid +230 Strawweight Women
  • Shane Young -135 vs Blake Bilder +115 Featherweight
  • Zubaira Tukhugov -550 vs. Elf Brenner +400, lightweight

With such a massive main event in mind, the CBS Sports team made their predictions and chose the main card. Here are your picks: Brent Brookhouse (combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (combat sports writer, Morning Kombat co-host), Shaquille Mahjuri (screenwriter), Michael Mormail (producer), and Brandon Wise (senior editor).

UFC 284 Election Predictions

Campbell Brookhouse Mahjuri To Morm Wise
Makhachev (c) vs. Volkanovskiy Makhachev Volkanovskiy Makhachev Makhachev Makhachev
Rodriguez vs. Emmett Rodriguez Rodriguez Rodriguez Rodriguez Rodriguez
Maddalena vs. Brown Madeleine Madeleine Madeleine Madeleine Madeleine
Tafa vs. Porter Tafa Tafa Tafa Tafa Tafa
Root vs Menifield rude menifield rude rude rude
Records to date (2023)
4-1 4-1 3-2 3-2 3-2

Makhachev vs. Volkanovskiy

Campbell: Will there be a size difference in Makhachev defending his lightweight title, or is his combination of skills and his punching development on their own enough to surpass Volkanovski’s magic? The reality facing the current featherweight king is that we will never know the answers to any of the scenarios because Makhachev’s wrestling attack really dominates. Former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s apprentice, who won’t be in Makhachev’s corner at UFC 284, dominates both technically and with the relentlessly patient finish-chasing that looms over every fight. Volkanovski is already on the verge of a critical confirmation of being considered an all-time great who is still in his prime, but this match is just one bridge because Makhachev, the bigger man, is also special.

Brookhouse: In a sense, this choice is a kind of reaction to the disrespect shown to Volkanovski by the bookies. Volkanovskiy has most of the tools you would want in a fighter built to beat Makhachev. His punches are crisp, with a mix of feints, kicks, and moves that take a while to figure out, only for him to then change his pace and angles and make you do something like a reset. Volkanovski also has good counter-fighting, submission defense and the ability to create fights when placed in bad positions on the ground. Size is obviously an issue, and Makhachev might be able to just rush forward and muscle Volkanovski around, but there’s a good chance Volkanovski is working as a matador in the early rounds, trying to slowly wear down his larger opponent before taking the fight in the second round. half.

Rodriguez vs. Emmett

Campbell: Rodriguez has always been that firework of future potential who never fully proved he could live up to the early hype around how exciting and unpredictable an action star he could be. In a 2019 fight with Chan Sung-Jung, Rodriguez was competitive but seemed to be on the losing end until he landed the final Hail Mary punch with one second left in the five-round bout. But finally, he seemed to pull it all together in a fight – against former champion Max Holloway in 2021 – that was technically a close decision loss but turned out to be nothing short of a critical win due to the way he carried himself. , and endured the danger he caused. It was his moment of maturation at the elite level, and that momentum led him to fight for the interim title. Rodriguez need not linger in his pocket given Emmett’s brute strength. But Emmett’s biggest strength of resilience may also be his biggest weakness, especially when the proceeds from scar tissue from previous wars pile up at the most inopportune moment. Rodriguez is not the type of fighter to go straight ahead against, meaning that if Emmett can’t control the pace and conditions of the fight and is forced to chase after him, then he will eventually find his demise in a precision execution from a counter-strike with force. that changes the fight.


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