UFC

UFC 290: Predictions For Volkanovski-Rodriguez Title Bout and More

August 22, 2023

Though Fourth of July celebrations will have ceased by the time UFC 290 begins, the main card promises to keep the fireworks going. Set to take place in Las Vegas, the event will close UFC International Fight Week. UFC 290 features co-main events during which the featherweight and flyweight titles will be on the line.

There are three additional bouts on the main card, so there’s plenty to dig into, and plenty of options to wager on at Tipico Sportsbook.

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Alexander Volkanovski (-450) vs. Yair Rodriguez (+350)

This is the final fight of the night and is a featherweight unification bout. Rodriguez holds the interim title as Volkanovski most recently lost a unanimous decision to Islam Makachev in the lightweight division. Even after suffering defeat, Volanovski is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters, and his resume proves he deserves that recognition, with a 25-2 record as a professional – including a 12-1 record in UFC. Most of his fights have gone the distance in recent years, including six of his last seven bouts. If he can stay on his feet, Volkanovski should hold a significant advantage.

Though most of his recent wins have come via submission or decisions, Rodriguez is known for his knockouts. Most often, those knockouts have come either come directly from headkicks or kicks that knock his opponent off balance and out of a defensive posture, leaving them vulnerable to punches. Despite being a heavy favorite, Voklanovski has openly acknowledged that he must remain vigilant due to Rodriguez’s ability to end a fight in the blink of an eye.

Pick: Volkanovksi

Brandon Moreno (-210) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (+170)

Moreno is coming off a four-fight sequence against Deiveson Figueiredo that left him as the undisputed flyweight champion. He’ll put that title at risk against Pantoja — and this duo also have a history of their own. In contrast to the other main event, Moreno made his mark as a professional fighter with wins via submission, particularly the rear-naked choke. His preferred style has evolved some over time, which is important given the history between this pair, as Pantoja has defeated Moreno on two previous occasions.  The last came in 2018 and briefly ended Moreno’s time in UFC.

In terms of style, Pantoja largely mirrors Moreno, as 40 percent of his professional victories have come via submission. Despite the history between the pair, current momentum suggests Moreno should be in for some revenge this weekend and in line to retain his title.

Pick: Moreno

Robert Whittaker (-380) vs. Dricus Du Plessis (+300)

Though not a title fight, this one carries an intriguing storyline. Whittaker maintained the middleweight championship in 2017 and 2018 but lost the title in 2019 to Israel Adesanya. He got another crack at Adesanya and the title in 2022, but again lost via a controversial unanimous decision. If he can defeat Du Plessis, Whittaker figures to get a third shot at the middleweight title in a rare trilogy matchup against Adesanya.

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In contrast, Du Plessis is a relatively new face to UFC, though he’s quickly made his mark. Since his debut in October 2020, he’s gone 5-0. Three of those wins have come via either KO or TKO. It’s unfair to say the bout features fighters heading in different directions in their careers, though Whittaker is looking for one last shot at the crown while Du Plessis is seeking to truly make his mark in UFC.

It’d be a fairly significant upset but look for Du Plessis to do just that. UFC will be hoping for the same result as Du Plessis and Adesanya have significant public beef, and the potential matchup would surely draw a lot of attention – particularly with the middleweight title up for grabs.

Pick: Du Plessis

Jalin Turner (-250) vs. Dan Hooker (+200)

As measured by the odds, this matchup figures to be the last tightly contested bout of the main card. But if recent trends are any indication, that may not turn out to be the case. Hooker enters the fight with just a 12-8 record in UFC and having lost four of his last six decisions. He won his last bout to end the skid to some degree, though that came in a fairly lifeless challenge from Claudio Puelles.

In contrast, Turner has gone 7-3 in UFC since being signed in 2018. Though he lost his last time in the ring, he’s been on the right side of things in five of his last six fights – winning on three occasions via submission.

One thing we can expect is for this fight to be decided prior to a decision from the judges. Of 19 professional fights, Turner’s bouts have gone to a decision only three times – all of which he’s lost. Hooker has had 10 of his 32 career fights end via decision, though four of his last five matchups have ended prior to the final bell.

Pick: Turner

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