On Deck: Looking Ahead To Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski

In the main event of UFC 284, Islam Makhachev looks to defend his lightweight title of the first time against featherweight champ, Alexander Volkanovski. The card takes place on Saturday, February 11 (Sunday, Feb. 12 in Australia), in Perth, Australia.

UFC 284 Opening Odds:

Islam Makhachev -400
Alexander Volkanovski +300

Current UFC 284 Odds (as of Jan. 3):

Islam Makhachev -315
Alexander Volkanovski +260

Makhachev and Volkanovski’s recent fights

Islam Makhachev (23-1) became the UFC’s lightweight champion last time out as he scored a second-round submission over Charles Oliveira to become the new champ. The 31-year-old is currently 12-1 inside the UFC and holds notable wins over Bobby Green, Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises, Drew Dober, Arman Tsarukyan, and Nik Lentz among others. His lone career loss came in 2015 as he suffered a first-round KO loss to Adriano Martins.

Alexander Volkanovski (25-1) is the UFC’s featherweight champion and has defend his strap for times to earn a shot at becoming a champ-champ. Last time out, the Aussie pitched a shutout as he dominated Max Holloway at UFC 273 in their trilogy to go up 3-0 against the Hawaiian. He also holds title defenses over the Korean Zombie by TKO, Brian Ortega by decision and a decision over Holloway in their rematch after winning a decision at UFC 245 to become the new champ. He also holds notable wins over Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes while his lone loss came at welterweight in 2013 in his fourth pro fight.

Are the odds surprising?

I was surprised to see Makhachev open as a -400 favorite as Volkanovski has been dominant in the UFC while also being the pound-for-pound best. I did expect Makhachev to be a sizeable favorite around -250 – given his dominance – and Volkanovski moving up but the odds did surprise me. In Makhachev’s last fight, he closed at a -245 favorite over Charles Oliveira – which is why I thought the line would be around that price. The only time we saw Volkanovski in danger was when Ortega had two chokes in, but the Aussie showed off his jiu-jitsu skills to fight out of the choke which will be needed against Makhachev.

How might the odds change?

As we have already seen money has come in on Volkanovski as at +300 the value was on him. This is a tough fight for the featherweight champ due to the size and strength of Makhachev, but Volkanovski is the better striker and we have seen Makhachev be knocked out before. I do expect there to be two-way action at this price and it to close around -300 for Makhachev.

Written by Cole Shelton

Follow Cole on Twitter: @ColeShelton91


A Tale of Recency Bias


UFC Vegas 67: Strickland vs. Imavov Preview MMAOB Daily Podcast For January 9th