- What: UFC 293
- Who: Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov
- Date: Saturday, September 9, 2023
- Location: Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park, Australia
- Time: Early Prelims (6:30 p.m. ET) Prelims (8:00 p.m. ET) Main Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+), Prelims (ESPNews), Main Card (ESPN+ PPV)
The UFC middleweight title is up for grabs on Saturday in Sydney, Australia, when defending 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya faces Sean Strickland in the ESPN+ pay-per-view streaming main event of UFC 293. Before that bout, top-10 ranked UFC heavyweights Tai Tuivasa and Alexander Volkov face off in the co-main event of the evening. Here is some information on the Tuivasa vs. Volkov scrap before we discuss the betting breakdown for the UFC 293 PPV fight card.
Tai Tuivasa (14-5) is the No. 6 fighter in the official UFC heavyweight rankings. The 30-year-old is riding a two-fight losing skid heading into this pivotal contest. His most recent setback was a December 2022 first-round KO setback to Sergei Pavlovich. Before that Ciryl Gane knocked him out in the third round of their September 2022 matchup.
Alexander Volkov (36-10) is ranked No. 8 in the UFC heavyweight division. The 34-year-old has two first-round knockout victories in his most recent trips to the octagon. In June 2022 he stopped Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Volkov followed that with a TKO win over Alexander Romanov in March of this year.
UFC 293 co-main event: Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov betting picks
|To Win UFC 293 Co-Main Event|
UFC 293 co-main event: Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov betting breakdown
The heavyweight bout that precedes the UFC middleweight title fight at the top of the UFC 293 PPV card should be an exciting one. Tai Tuivasa is a throwback of sorts. While some heavyweights like Ciryl Gane and current champion Jon Jones bring more than one asset to the octagon, Tuivasa is a brawler. He relies on his power and ability to take a shot to secure victories. Of his 19 professional MMA bouts, only two have gone the distance, and both of those came before July 2019. Everyone knows what Tuivasa brings with him, but not everyone can stop him. Before his two-fight losing skid, Tuivasa knocked out five straight UFC foes, including heavyweight title challenger Derrick Lewis.
Alexander Volkov is much more technically refined than his UFC 293 opponent. Despite that, he still secures the majority of his victories via knockout. Throughout his career, 24 of Volkov’s wins have come via KO, three by submission and five via decision. If one is looking at a comparable opponent for Volkov, there’s no need to look too far back, Tuivasa fights in a similar style to Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who Volkov knocked out in the first round.
Volkov has fought his way back up the UFC heavyweight rankings over the past year. A win over a highly-ranked foe like Tuivasa could put him back among the top six of the division. With younger heavyweights like Tom Aspinall making their way to title contention, this is a must-win fight for the 34-year-old if he wants to get a UFC heavyweight title shot.
UFC 293 co-main event: Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov: Who has the edge
Expect Tuivasa to come out looking to end this fight early. To do so, he’s will have to close a lot of distance, as Volkov is five inches taller and has five inches in reach over Tuivasa. What that means for Tuivasa is that he’s likely going to eat a lot of strikes on the way in, and Volkov is more active and accurate than his foe when it comes to striking. Volkov is also more sound defensively. One thing Volkov might try is to shoot takedowns on Tuivasa when he’s trying to close distance. Tuivasa’s takedown defense is only 52 percent, and Serghei Spivac went six-for-eight in takedowns and had more than four minutes of control time before finishing that fight via submission in the second round.
Tuivasa has a puncher’s chance in this fight, but that’s all he brings to this matchup. Overall, Volkov is the better mixed martial artist with more paths to victory.
Best UFC 293 bets
A puncher’s chance is enough to consider Tai Tuivasa as a value bet. Placing a wager on Tuivasa to win by knockout is a little risky, but that outcome could bring a good return. However, that’s not the best bet nor the betting pick for the outcome of UFC 293’s co-main event. The best bets for Tuivasa vs. Volkov are Volkov to win and to do so via knockout.
Best UFC 293 Co-Main Event Betting Pick: Alexander Volkov to beat Tai Tuivasa by knockout.
See below a list of reliable sportsbooks and choose the best one for you.