The card of the year is upon us at UFC 280 from Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, as Charles Oliveira +155 looks to reclaim the belt that no man took from him as he battles the very highly touted Islam Makhachev -189. This card is as deep as it gets, with starfighters like Muhammad Mokaev -1111 taking on Malcolm Gordon +800 on the prelims to Petr Yan -312 facing off with Suga Sean O'Malley +240.
All Odds Provided by Stake.com Accurate as of 10/20/2022 9:45 PM
I have been waiting all year for this as I finally get to find out if my bet on Islam Makhachev to be the Lightweight champion by the end of 2022 will hit. Charles Oliveira is an offensive juggernaut who is now dominating the division using his constant pressure on the feet and world-class jiu-jitsu on the ground. Islam Makhachev is one of the best wrestlers we have ever seen in the sport of mixed martial arts, and he uses that wrestling to wear opponents down and break them until they can no longer fight.
I have believed Islam Makhachev is the best Lightweight in the world since Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, and although Charles Oliveira is as dangerous an opponent as there is, nobody can beat Islam right now.
Pick: Makhachev O/U: Under 2.5 -175
TJ Dillashaw looks to become a three-time Bantamweight champion here against Aljamain Sterling, who looks to establish himself as one of the best of all time in the division. Sterling has used his slick grappling style to neutralize opponents effectively throughout his last few fights. However, his striking is limited as he shows an apparent lack of fight-ending punch power. TJ Dillashaw may have a bad reputation, but his skills are undeniable.
I'll take Dillashaw as the underdog, but I would rather bet the fight to go the distance, as both men have shown tremendous durability and cardio.
Pick: Dillashaw O/U: Over 4.5 -222
A huge Bantamweight matchup here sees former champion Petr Yan take on young superstar Sean O'Malley. Petr Yan is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC; he is an elite striker with an underrated ability to mix in grappling. Sean O'Malley is a long striker with some spectacular knockouts, although he has not faced elite-level competition.
I bet this one as early as I could to get good odds on Petr Yan, as I believe this is a complete mismatch, and although I like O'Malley, I do not see him being able to stop Yan from doing whatever he wants.
Pick: Yan O/U: Under 2.5 +150
The new breed of Lightweight begins its ascent to the top as Mateusz Gamrot makes his first appearance since his main event win vs. Arman Tsarukyan back in June. Beniel Dariush has been the forgotten man at the top of Lightweight and has used a well-rounded game based on strong grappling to dominate opponents. Mateusz Gamrot is a Polish standout with elite-level grappling and pace, which he has used to earn this big opportunity.
I have Gamrot here. I believe he is one of the first to step up in changing the guard at Lightweight, which looks swift and brutal as the young lions of the division are incredibly skilled.
Pick: Gamrot O/U: Over 2.5 -192
A title eliminator here at Flyweight. Katlyn Chookagian has proven to be a problem in her division as she uses length and crisp striking to keep opponents at range and pick them apart. I have been very high on Manon Fiorot since I saw her fight as she is one of the most skilled women in the UFC with creative striking and the ability to mix in the grappling when necessary, and I think she is destined to be a UFC champion in her future.
The odds made this one a bit tough to play, but the only person at Flyweight who I think should be favored against Fiorot is the champion, Valentina Shevchenko. The Moneyline is very steep, so I will play the decision at -123 on Stake.com as I believe this will go all three rounds.
Pick: Fiorot O/U: Over 2.5 -370
High stakes affair here at Welterweight between talented grapplers. Belal Muhammad has refused to be denied in his last few fights, taking out dangerous strikers Vicente Luque and Stephen Thompson using his movement and effective wrestling. Sean Brady is a very strong wrestler, although he has not looked great when forced to strike.
I've got Brady in this one as I believe there are very few people in the UFC who can wrestle with him, and although Belal has the tools to make this fight interesting, I think Brady will be too much. I am confident this fight will go the distance as both men have proven to be good three-round fighters.
Pick: Brady O/U: Over 2.5 -294
This is a good matchup between prospects who have a chance to become genuine contenders at Middleweight shortly. Makhmud Muradov is coming off a tough loss as a big favorite, but before that, has shown tremendous knockout power. Caio Borralho has started well in the UFC, using his strong grappling to dominate opponents, making them look weaker than him.
I'm taking Muradov here as although his last time out was bad; he has gone from a -600 favorite against a formidable opponent to an underdog against Borralho, who I still believe to be very unproven.
Pick: Muradov O/U: Over 1.5 -227
This is a fantastic matchup between veteran contenders at Light Heavyweight. Volkan Oezdemir is a powerful striker who doesn't waste time, and I also believe he has underrated takedown defense. Nikita Krylov is a well-rounded fighter who can exploit opponents' weaknesses when he chooses to, although he does not always seem to take the easiest path to victory.
I'll lean Oezdemir as, if this one stays standing, he will have a clear advantage, and he has good enough takedown defense to force a striking match.
Pick: Oezdemir O/U: Under 2.5 -182
This is a good matchup between grapplers at Middleweight. Abubakar Nurmagomedov is a solid wrestler, although he can be subbed and lacks finishing ability. Gadzhi Omargadziev did not look good in his UFC debut against Caio Borralho, who is also on the card, but he did go into that fight as the favorite.
I'll take Omargadzhiev to bounce back from that tough performance and get the win.
Pick: Omargadzhiev O/U: Over 2.5 -208
An excellent striking battle here at Middleweight. Armen Petrosyan is a good striker with an impressive win over Gregory Rodrigues on his record, although he has shown his struggles in the grappling department. AJ Dobson had a tough UFC debut, but when he showed his striking, he looked good, and I liked him coming into that debut.
I'm going with Dobson here since this matchup favors his style much more than his UFC debut, as he will get to strike, and I believe it may even serve him well to mix in the grappling offensively in this fight.
Pick: Dobson O/U: Over 2.5 +140
This is an excellent showcase fight for Muhammad Mokaev as one of the top prospects in the UFC. Mokaev is a very young but dominant force in the sport, as he has shown powerful electric striking along with relentless skillful grappling. Malcolm Gordon is a Canadian who has struggled in the UFC but has now put together back-to-back wins using his solid grappling and improved striking.
I am all over Mokaev in this fight, and although the Moneyline price is way too much to play, his inside-the-distance can be found at much more reasonable numbers, and Gordon has been finished in each of his pro losses.
Pick: Mokaev O/U: Under 1.5 -135
A women's Bantamweight matchup to open this massive card. Lina Landsberg is a veteran with a solid ground game; however, she is forty years old and on a two-fight losing streak. Karol Rosa is coming off her first UFC loss, where she was a big favorite but it is still early in her career, and will learn from it.
I'll go with Rosa here as she is better everywhere, but I have a hard time backing her at this price after she's lost in this range before.
Pick: Rosa O/U: Over 2.5 -303
Petr Yan -312
Makhmud Muradov +175
AJ Dobson +180
Aljamain Sterling TJ Dillashaw Goes The Distance -182
Belal Muhammad Sean Brady Goes The Distance -227
TJ Dillashaw by Decision +245
Manon Fiorot by Decision -123
Muhammad Mokaev Inside The Distance -244