Featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski will replace Charles Oliveira in a lightweight championship bout against Islam Makhachev at UFC 294.
The five-round fight will take place on Saturday, October 21, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Odds To Win
Sat, 21 Oct, 2023 - 2pm ET
Makhachev (24-1) has won his last 12 fights and has not tasted defeat since 2015. The Russian has submitted four of his previous six opponents and finished off three matches in two rounds or fewer until going the distance with Volkanovski at UFC 284 to retain his lightweight belt.
Volkanovski (26-2) reeled off 22 straight wins before losing to Makhachev in a thrilling fight in Perth. The Australian rebounded in July with a third-round stoppage against Yair Rodríguez at UFC 290 to unify the featherweight titles.
In the co-main event, No.4 ranked Khamzat Chimaev will battle No. 1 ranked Kamaru Usman instead of Paulo Costa in a middleweight bout. Costa was scrapped after having surgery on his elbow a few weeks ago and has now seen four of his last six fights canceled.
Chimaev (12-0) scored an opening round submission 11 months ago against Kevin Holland at UFC 279. The Chechen-born fighter is undefeated in the UFC with three submissions, two knockouts, and a unanimous decision.
Usman (20-3) will make his middleweight debut and tallied 19 consecutive wins before suffering back-to-back losses against Leon Edwards. The Nigerian is an elite fighter who can dominate opponents on his feet or on the mat.
Makhachev (-225) is the favorite to retain his title against Volkanovski (+185), per BetMGM New York sportsbook. The last match between the two was a must-watch affair that was awarded the Fight of the Night. Although the champion is the favorite, this fight will be a war that either fighter can win.
If you’re thinking about betting on the fight, new members can get up to $1,000 in bonus bets at BetMGM using promo code NYSBMGM.
Makhachev is a high-level grappler who is a more measured striker. The southpaw likes to feint his jabs, prefers kicking to striking, and uses his power and athleticism to cause havoc before shooting for incredibly accurate single-leg takedowns.
In their first meeting, the 31-year-old connected on 63% of his significant strikes to the head while landing 32% of his punches to the body. Makhachev landed 95 total strikes and converted 44% of his takedowns (4 of 9) in a razor-thin victory eight months ago.
Volkanovski is a versatile fighter who excels at both striking and grappling. He uses stiff jabs and effective feints to land his powerful right hand, and his classic stance-switch entries set up his devastating hooks. A clinch specialist, he is proficient in unleashing blistering strikes or takedowns along the fence.
The 35-year-old struck paydirt on 53% of his significant strikes to the head against Makhachev in their first encounter and landed 30% of his punches to the body. Volkanovski connected on 164 total strikes but was unsuccessful on four takedown attempts.
The reigning featherweight champion was adamant that he won the first fight against Makhachev and tweeted his desire for another opportunity to become a double champ after the bout.
"Just watched the fight, I definitely think I won
Former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Makhachev will prevail over Volkanovski again in the rematch.
"Islam is the world champion right now," Nurmagomedov said. "If somebody can make 155 and the UFC says this guy is the contender, who cares? But if they want Volk again, first fight it was very good, very competitive, but we know and their team knows we won. Unanimous decision, it was not even a split decision. It was a unanimous decision."
Betting Pick: Alexander Volkanovski
Betting odds for this highly-anticipated lightweight championship fight are live at popular sportsbooks, including BetMGM, which has listed Makhachev as a -225 favorite.
The most common bet type for this UFC fight is the moneyline, a wager on who will win the fight outright.
Considering how the current champion earned a unanimous decision win over Volkanovski at UFC 284 to retain the lightweight belt and his streak of 12 consecutive victories, Makhachev is the favorite. However, Volkanovski finished strong in their first fight and is our pick to notch the upset win.
A $100 wager on Volkanovski at odds of +185 would net a total payout of $285.
The Over/Under bet is another popular type, where you wager on the number of rounds the fight will last. Given that Makhachev and Volkanovski went the distance in their first matchup, we do not expect the fight to end before the fourth round.
Betting Over 3.5 rounds could be a winning pick.
The five-round lightweight championship fight will take place on Saturday, October 21, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. UFC fans in New York can watch the fight live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is the favorite to prevail over featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294. Makhachev is a -225 betting favorite, while Volkanovski is the +185 underdog, per BetMGM.
Two of the most popular fighters in the middleweight division, #1 Kamaru Usman (20-3) and #4 Khamzat Chimaev (12-0), will face off in the co-main event. Light heavyweight title contenders #2 Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1) and #7 Johnny Walker (21-7-0) will clash in an exciting matchup, while #11 Nassourdine Imavov (12-4) will battle Ikram Aliskerov (14-1) in a middleweight contest. A pair of bantamweights, Said Nurmagomedov (17-3) and Muin Gafurov (18-5) will be looking to move up in the division with a decisive win.
Bets can be placed during the fight as it is happening with live UFC odds that are constantly changing based on what's happening in real time inside the Octagon. The most popular types of in-play bettings are moneyline wagers representing the odds for who will win the fight outright. Other live betting types include the method of victory and how long the fight will last.
Mixed martial arts fans can place wagers on this exciting Lightweight championship bout at all the top New York sportsbooks, including BetMGM, WynnBet, FanDuel and DraftKings.