- What: UFC 298 Main Event
- Who: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria
- Date: Saturday, February 17, 2024
- Location: Honda Center in Anaheim, California
- Time: Early Prelims (6:00 p.m. ET) Prelims (8:00 p.m. ET) PPV Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+), Prelims (ESPN), Main Card (ESPN+ Pay-Per-View)
The UFC featherweight title is on the line when the promotion heads to the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, for the first time since 2022 for the UFC 298 pay-per-view fight card, which takes place on Saturday, February 17. In the main event of the PPV, UFC 145-pound champion Alexander Volkanovski puts his title on the line against the undefeated Ilia Topuria, who is the No. 3 fighter in the official UFC featherweight rankings. Here is some information on Volkanovski and Topuria before we discuss the betting breakdown for the UFC 298 PPV card.
Alexander Volkanovski (26-3) has held the UFC 145-pound title since defeating Max Holloway in December 2019. He has defended the belt five times, most recently knocking out Yair Rodriguez in July 2023. Volkanovski is coming off an October 2023 KO loss to UFC lightweight champ Islam Makhachev in pursuit of the 155-pound title.
Ilia Topuria (14-0) has been climbing the UFC featherweight rankings since he joined the promotion in October 2020. Unbeaten as a pro, Topuria is 6-0 in the UFC with four finishes with the promotion. He is coming off a June unanimous decision win over former interim title challenger Josh Emmett.
UFC 298 main event: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria betting picks
|To Win UFC 298 Main Event
Alexander Volkanovski betting breakdown
Alexander Volkanovski is unbeaten as a UFC featherweight. He is 13-0 at 145 pounds in the UFC. His only losses with the promotion came when he moved up to 155 pounds in an attempt to unseat that division’s champion Islam Makhachev. Volkanovski has 13 career wins by knockout, three submission victories, and 10 decision triumphs during an MMA career that began in 2012. The 35-year-old has two career knockout losses and one decision setback.
Volkanovski is a measured fighter who manages distance well and has the ability to move in and out of range without much difficulty. He is an extremely well-disciplined fighter who can make incremental in battle adjustments. His fight IQ is one of the highest of any fighter on the UFC roster. An Australian fighter who works with several teams, Volkanovski lands his significant strikes at an impressive rate of 6.19 per minute while absorbing 3.42 significant strikes himself. His plus 3.03 striking differential is the highest in UFC featherweight history, and his significant striking accuracy of 57.1 percent is second-highest all-time in the division. In addition to his striking prowess, Volkanovski lands 2.19 takedowns per 15 minutes, and he can impose his will on that mat if the fight goes there.
Volkanovski is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the 145-pound division, and he is in the conversation when discussing the best fighter in the history of the UFC featherweight division.
Ilia Topuria betting breakdown
An extremely confident fighter, Ilia Topuria has never been on the losing end of an MMA fight. The 27-year-old has four career knockout wins, eight submission victories, and two decision nods. His win over Emmett was the first time he went to decision since his UFC debut in 2020, and also marked the first time he competed in a five-round scrap. Topuria has earned performance bonuses in each of his past three UFC outings.
Like his opponent in this scrap, Topuria is a well-rounded competitor. Also, like the champion, Topuria doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, and can fight on the feet or on the mat. Topuria’s victory over Emmett was an eye-opener. That contest was the first real test of Topuria’s career, and he passed with flying colors, winning 50-44, 50-42, 49-45 on the scorecards. He overwhelmed Emmett in every aspect of the bout.
Topuria, who fights out of Germany, lands 4.44 significant strikes per minute and absorbs 3.05 strikes every 60 seconds. He lands 1.84 takedowns per 15 minutes.
The one knock against Topuria is his confidence. Since he has yet to lose a fight, he can sometimes get reckless or overconfident. He cannot overextend himself against a savvy veteran like Volkanovski because one opening is all Volkanovski needs to take advantage of an opponent and turn the tide of the fight.
UFC 298 main event: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria betting odds history
Volkanovski has been the betting favorite in his past five UFC featherweight fights. He has won all those bouts, picking up two knockouts and three decision wins. He has been scheduled for five rounds in each of his past eight UFC contests.
Topuria has also been the betting favorite in his past five UFC outings. He has victories in each of those scraps, with three knockouts, one submission and one decision. Topuria has only been booked for one five-round contest, and he won that handily, downing Emmett via unanimous decision.
Best Bets: UFC Vegas 298 Main Event – Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria
This is an incredibly evenly-matched booking, and the betting odds reflect that reality. While I think Ilia Topuria will one day be a UFC champion, I don’t believe that will happen at UFC 298. Volkanovski’s experience in high-level fights and his ability to stay calm and focused while facing adversity give him the advantage in this matchup. The betting pick is for Volkanovski to retain his UFC featherweight title with a decision win over Topuria at UFC 298.
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