- What: UFC 280 PPV card
- Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022
- Location: Etihad Arena, Yas Island, United Arab Emirates
- Time: Prelims (10 a.m. ET), Main Card (2 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Prelims (ESPNEWS). Main Card (ESPN + pay-per-view)
Aljamain Sterling looks to make a second successful defense of his UFC bantamweight title when he faces former champion — and current No. 2 135-pounder in the official UFC rankings — T.J. Dillashaw. The bout serves as the co-main event for the UFC 280 pay-per-view card, which streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view from Etihad Arena on Yas Island in the United Arab Emirates. Here is some background on the card’s main event fighters, before we discuss, in detail, the UFC 280 betting breakdown.
Sterling won the belt in March 2021 when then-champion Petr Yan was disqualified in their UFC 259 matchup after he landed an illegal knee. Sterling defeated Yan in their rematch, which took place in April at UFC 273. Sterling is on a seven-fight winning streak.
Dillashaw, who surrendered his bantamweight crown in 2019 after testing positive for banned substances, is coming off a July 2021 win over Cory Sandhagen. That fight was Dillashaw’s first bout since he served a two-year USADA suspension. Dillashaw suffered a knee injury in that bout, which has kept him on the shelf since.
UFC 280 Picks: Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw breakdown and analysis
This fight comes down to which man is able to dictate the location and style of the fight. If Dillashaw can make this a striking battle, he has an advantage, but not as much as he once did. Dillashaw’s power has seemed to have faded with time and Sterling’s striking has improved. Dillashaw’s accuracy could also be a concern in this bout. I don’t expect Sterling to stand still much and the ex-champ had issues with the mobile Cory Sandhagen in his most recent bout. In that fight, Dillashaw connected on just 41 percent of his significant strikes.
While Sterling’s striking has improved, the grappling game is still where he excels. If Sterling takes the fight to the mat, Dillashaw could be in trouble, as Sterling has an incredibly heavy back game. The champion is also patient, willing to wait for his opponent to present an opening, which he can then exploit.
Pick: Aljamain Sterling to defeat T.J. Dillashaw.
Who has the edge
I don’t think cardio will be a problem for either fighter in this matchup, but I believe Sterling might look to set the pace early in the fight and attempt, or at least, show takedowns to Dillashaw to both test his fight readiness and get his timing down.
Sterling only has a one-inch height advantage in this bout, but he has a four inches of reach and that is going to make things tough on Dillashaw in regard to his striking. Couple that reach advantage with Sterling’s willingness and ability to move around the octagon and I think the champion’s defensive work will neutralize the offense of Dillashaw. That could lead to frustration from Dillashaw and allow Sterling to find more openings for his takedowns.
Overall, Sterling has the edge in this contest.
Prediction: Aljamain Sterling to defeat T.J. Dillashaw via decision.
Best UFC 280 bets
Dillashaw is a live underdog and he could find Sterling’s off switch if the champ is not careful. However, Sterling seems to have learned his lesson after getting knocked out by Marlon Moraes in 2017.
The best bet for the UFC 280 co-main event is to pick Sterling to win and to achieve that victory via decision. With that, another UFC 280 bet to look for is the prop on the length of the fight. In that scenario, take the over and the fight going the distance.
Best UFC 280 Picks: Aljamain Sterling to beat T.J. Dillashaw via decision.
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