UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and Interim featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez will meet in a title unification showdown in the main event at UFC 290. The five-round encounter will take place on Saturday, July 8, at the T-Mobile Arena facility in Paradise, Nevada.
Volkanovski (25-2-0) steps into the Octagon with four victories in his last five contests. The Australian defeated Brian Ortega, Chan Sung Jung, and Max Holloway twice before suffering a unanimous decision loss to Islam Makhachev in a UFC Lightweight championship fight in February.
Rodriguez (16-3-0) has stopped three of his last fight opponents. The Mexican rebounded from a five-round setback to Holloway with a first-round knockout win against Ortega. He defeated Josh Emmett by submission in the 2nd round at UFC 284 in February to capture the Interim featherweight title.
Reigning flyweight champion Brandon Moreno (21-6-2) will face #2-ranked Alexandre Pantoja (25-5-0) in the co-main event. Moreno disposed of Deiveson Figueiredo in January to reclaim the UFC flyweight title and has won nine of his past 10 fights.
Pantoja is riding a three-fight winning streak and is 7-2 in his last nine matchups. The Brazilian owns two victories over the champion before Moreno became UFC champion and boasts the second most finishes in UFC flyweight history.
New York sportsbook WynnBet has Volkanovski (-440) as a huge favorite to defeat Rodriguez (+330). The Australian opened as a -500 betting favorite to win the bout, but the odds have decreased over the past week. No featherweight has figured out how to stop Volkanovski, and the odds that Rodriguez will be the man to do it are slim. Volkanovski should continue his dominance over the division.
Volkanovski is the best pound-for-pound fighter on the UFC roster outside of Jon Jones and will be looking to cement his dominant legacy in the featherweight division. The 34-year-old has won 12 of his 25 victories by knockout, with 10 decision wins and three submissions.
The featherweight legend has an advantage in power over his opponent, with a 48% knockout percentage compared to 33% for Rodriguez. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Volkanovski sports a 56% striking accuracy with 6.35 significant strikes landed per minute.
The New South Wales native also has an advantage over Rodriguez on the mat, averaging 1.52 takedowns per 15 minutes compared to 0.79. He boasts a takedown accuracy of 34% and defends attempted takedowns with a 69% success rate.
Although Volkanovski is a heavy favorite, he recently explained the challenges of fighting a dangerous striker like Rodriguez on The MMA Fan Podcast.
"You need to be on. You need to be defensively aware. He's very unpredictable. You can't just sit there and let him do his thing," said the featherweight kingpin. "He'd be up there with some of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC. But at the same time, my style is about making people fight my fight, and I'm usually pretty defensively aware."
The mixed martial arts veteran added, "He is dangerous. You don't know what's coming, whether it's a spin kick, axe kick... tools from anywhere... I gotta use that fight IQ and really systematically break him down, which excites me."
Rodriguez is a dangerous fighter who can finish opponents in all areas, both on the feet and ground. The 30-year-old is an unpredictable fighter who is difficult to gameplan for because it's hard to predict what he will do next.
The Chihuahua native has a black belt in Taekwondo and sports a takedown down defense of 63% but is only successful in 28% of his takedown attempts. 'El Pantera' connects on 4.78 significant strikes landed per minute, and his 46% striking accuracy makes him an effective striker.
While Rodriguez is the underdog, former middleweight and light heavyweight titleholder, Chael Sonnen believes a shock is on the cards in the UFC 290 main event.
During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, the American said, "I am a little worried because this fight has all the feelings of an upset. Every upset that you have has the same ingredients. And more times than not, when one fighter is not focused on a fight, another one is," added Sonnen. "Bad things happen because nothing will make you fall apart in combat faster than finding yourself in a match that is harder than you thought it was going to be."
The hype in this matchup does not hide that Volkanovski has dominated the featherweight division for over 1,500 days. While it is true that Rodriguez can finish fights via knockout or submission, the odds of him shocking the talented Aussie is very low.
The betting odds for this featherweight title matchup are now live on most sportsbooks, including WynnBet, which has listed Volkanovski as a massive -440 favorite. Thus, If you favor the Australian to win the fight, you'd need to bet $440 to win $100. However, if you fancy the underdog Rodriguez (+330) pulling off the upset, a $100 bet would net you a total payout of $430.
Besides the moneyline, another popular one in UFC betting is the Over/Under. You can bet on the total number of rounds in this fight for more money for your money. When making a wager on the total rounds odds, you're betting on how long the fight will last. If you bet the bout will last Over 2.5 rounds, the fight must end after the halfway point of the third round. You lose the bet if the contest ends in Round 1, Round 2, or before the clock hits 2:30 in the third round.
You can also bet on whether a fighter will go the distance, which requires you to predict whether it will finish after the scheduled number of rounds, which in this case is 5, without a winner being declared. Volkanovski has dominated the featherweight division for over 1,500 days so chances of it going the distance looking at their stats is slim, so keep your eye out for good odds on this bet.
Alexander Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez will square off in a five-round encounter to unify the featherweight title on Saturday, July 8, at the T-Mobile Arena facility in Paradise, Nevada. UFC fans in New York can watch the fight live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is the clear favorite to dethrone interim featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290. WynnBet has Volkanovski as a -440 betting favorite, while Rodriguez is the +330 underdog.
Flyweight champion Brandon Moreno (21-6-2) will defend his title against #2-ranked Alexandre Pantoja (25-5-0) in the co-main event. In contrast, in an exciting middleweight matchup, #2-ranked Robert Whittaker (25-6-0) will clash with #5-ranked Dricus Du Plessis (19-2-0). #10-ranked Jalin Turner (14-6-0) will battle #11-ranked Dan Hooker (22-12-0) in a lightweight bout, and rising prospects Bo Nickal (4-0-0) and Tresean Gore (5-2-0) will square off in a middleweight fight.
Mixed martial arts fans can place bets during the fight with live UFC odds that are constantly updated based on the real action inside the Octagon. The most popular types of in-play wagers offered include moneyline bets on the predicted winner, the method of victory, and how long the fight will last.
WynnBet is a trusted and well-known sportsbook in New York where UFC fans can place wagers on this featherweight title showdown.