- What: UFC 284 PPV card
- Date: Saturday, February 11, 2023
- Location: RAC Arena in Perth, Australia
- Time: Early Prelims (6:00 p.m. ET), Prelims (8 p.m. ET), Main Card (10 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+) Prelims (ESPN). Main Card (ESPN + pay-per-view)
The UFC is in Australia for the first time since 2019 on February 11, 2023, when the promotion heads to RAC Arena in Perth for the UFC 284 pay-per-view card. In the main event contest, UFC featherweight champion — and New South Wales, Australia native — Alexander Volkanovski moves up to 155 pounds to challenge UFC lightweight titleholder Islam Makhachev for his belt. Here is some background on the card’s main event fighters before we discuss, in detail, the UFC 284 betting breakdown.
Volkanovski, who has not fought in Australia since winning the UFC 145-pound title in December 2019, has defended his crown four times. He is coming off a July 2022 decision win over former-UFC lightweight champ Max Holloway. The featherweight champ has been out of action since that fight because of hand surgery. Volkanovski brings a 25-1 overall record into the fight. The 34-year-old is 12-0 under the UFC banner.
Makhachev, a protege of retired former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Nurmagomedov’s late father, Abdulmanap, won the UFC lightweight belt in October 2022 with a submission win over Charles Oliveira. The 31-year-old is 23-1 overall and 12-1 in the UFC. Makhachev’s only loss was a TKO setback to Adriano Martins in 2015. Since that defeat, the Russian fighter has won 11 straight bouts.
Before we look at the best bets for the UFC 284 lightweight title fight between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski, check out the best UFC betting sites and where you can find the best odds on all the UFC fights.
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski picks
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski breakdown and analysis
The first thing that stands out about the matchup between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski is the size difference between the two men. Makhachev is 5-foot-10 to Volkanovski‘s 5-foot-6. Despite the height difference, Makhachev has a shorter reach, 70 inches to his opponent’s 71 inches.
The difference in approach between the two fighters is evident in their fight stats. Volkanovski lands 6.79 significant strikes per minute to Makhachev‘s 2.37. Meanwhile, Makhachev gets hit far less than Volkanovski, 0.95 significant strikes absorbed per minute than Volkanovski, who gets touched, on average 3.53 times per minute.
As for grappling, Makhachev is more active in getting his fights to the mat and working toward finishes from the ground. Makhachev averages 3.42 takedowns per 15 minutes as compared to Volkanovski’s 1.71 and he is also more aggressive on working for submissions with 1.3 per 15 minutes, which dwarfs Volkanovski’s average of 0.2. One important stat here is the featherweight champion has a 73 percent takedown defense. He will need that defense to hold up in Perth.
Who has the edge
Let’s look at the wrestling first. The first thought that everyone has is that Makhachev will be able to get takedowns and keep Volkanovski on the mat. That could be true because Makhachev is a larger man. However, Volkanovski is extremely strong and two fighters who have taken him down more than once, Chad Mendes and Brian Ortega, have struggled to keep him on the mat. Outside of his UFC debut win over Yusuke Kasuya, no one in the UFC has been able to control Volkanovski for more than one minute total in a fight.
Volkanovski is the better striker of these two. He manages distance well and has the ability to move in and out of range without much difficulty. In his fights against the 5-foot-11-inch Max Holloway, Volkanovski was the more active and accurate striker. I think his striking ability will carry over to this fight as Makhachev uses his striking more as a setup for his control and takedown game.
This fight will come down to Makhachev’s ability to score takedowns and keep the fight on the mat where he can impose his heavy top game.
Best UFC 284 Bets
There is very little betting value in picking Islam Makhachev to win this fight. If you are leaning toward Makhachev to win, the best bet is to go with prop bets as to how the fight will play out. When making that pick, keep in mind that Volkanovski has never been finished. As for Volkanovski, there is value in picking him to win, but there will be more value in picking how the fight ends.
With that out of the way, I think the best UFC 284 bet is to pick Makhachev to win late in the fight via submission. As the fight goes deeper, Volkanovski’s ability to stop takedowns will weaken and with that he will hit the mat. At some point, Makhachev will be able to keep him down and lock up a submission technique to end the fight.
Best UFC 284 main event picks: Islam Makhachev to defeat Alexander Volkanovski via submission to retain the UFC lightweight title.
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