UFC 290 main event starts at 10:00 PM EST with the Featherweight fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez. Volkanovski is currently favored at a -380 number on the moneyline with a 5.5 point spread at -170 odds. The Co-Main event for the night is a flyweight showdown between Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja. Moreono is currently favored at -205 on the moneyline with a 5.5 point spread at 105 odds. Let’s take a deep dive into both fights and make some predictions for each.
UFC 290: Volkanovski vs Rodriguez Best Bets
Label me as the old man yelling at clouds as I still believe Alexander Volkanovski won his mega fight against Islam Makhachev at UFC 284. Volkanovski still remained on top of the Pound for Pound UFC rankings and has looked every bit of the part as one of the greatest fighters of all-time while leading up to that head scratching result.
Alexander Volkanovski Vs. Yair Rodriguez
Now that I got that out of my system, I still look at this fight perplexed as I struggle to find any sort of an edge as Yair Rodriguez has no business in participating in this title fight. As we lean towards an age where fighters need to rifle off multiple fights within the year to build momentum towards a title shot, Yair has been given a title opportunity after fighting three times in the last three years.
UNDISPUTED awaits for the winner!
— MMA Orbit (@mma_orbit) July 6, 2023
A bit of a confusing situation to the public, but a betting opportunity for us as Volkanovski should be pegged as a heavier favorite. Even with Yair posing as the vastly taller and lengthier fighter, Volkanovski has proven that means little in the advantage department and has made quick work against fighters with similar builds as he excels at using his intense energy to close the gap.
Volkanovski has an advantage in nearly every statistical category and will make quick work to get this fight on the mat as the superior grappler. He will have Rodriguez back pedaling towards his own demise as Volkanoski will chip away at the gap by ramping up the pressure to a potential clinch against the cage. I expect Volkanovski to take a bull like type approach from the opening bell and push Yair back in a scrambling defensive effort.
As Yair back peddles against Volkanovski’s pressure, this creates opportunities for Volk to take advantage of by giving him takedown opportunities against an exposed leg or significant strike chances at closer range in an attempt to weaken Yair’s defenses.
As for if this will be finished on the ground or prolonged for the full five rounds when this hits the mats, I have little conviction for either side and will be avoiding the prop market. By passing on the prop market, I am tying in Volkanovski’s moneyline to another fighter who should make quick work of his opponent with a double moneyline parlay to cut through the heavy juice.
Robbie Lawler has had a great career in the UFC, but his time is coming to an end as he has won one fight since 2017 and has made it known that this is his last fight of his career. Niko Price has been a middling fighter but has flashed an ability to finish opponents. With Lawler’s age and regressing chin, expect Price to make quick work over Lawler in what will be a thrilling slugfest.
Pick: Alexander Volkanovski / Niko Price ML parlay
Brandon Moreno Vs. Alexandre Pantoja
While I have the main event pegged as a very lopsided affair, the co-main event offers a potentially more exciting event as these fighters are no stranger to each other. Infact, underdog Alexandre Pantoja has had the upper hand against Moreno on two separate occasions and has even played a part in Moreno’s first retirement from the UFC.
Even with two victories over the current champ, I was a bit puzzled to see how much of an underdog Pantoja opened up as. He comes in as a stylistic nightmare to Moreno, constantly looking to bring the fight to a clinch and use a blend of knee and elbow strikes to weaken his opponents guard before taking it to the ground or taking back control.
Alexandre Pantoja’s well-timed blitzes afford him an opportunity to strike while simultaneously closing distance in pursuit of finding the back of his opponents during a grappling exchange. #UFC290 pic.twitter.com/6dT7xGkyg9
— Mike's MMA Picks (@MikesMMAPicks) July 3, 2023
Once on the ground, that’s where Pantoja thrives as he can pick apart a limb for a submission attempt or switch up to a ground and pound type position. Simply put, Pantoja is going to bring a barrage of offensive strikes that Moreno will be ill-equipped to defend against. I am taking Pantoja on the moneyline as a sizable dog and will look to sprinkle on some props to end inside the distance as the market opens up near fight time.
Pick: Alexandre Pantoja ML