UFC 298: Volkanovski vs. Topuria Preview

UFC 298: Volkanovski vs. Topuria Preview

Taylor Dow|
February 14, 2024|

Undefeated prospect Ilia Topuria will finally get his shot at a UFC title when he faces consensus Featherweight greatest of all-time Alexander Volkanovski this weekend in the main event of UFC 298. The entire card is stacked from top to bottom with prelim fights including Marcos Rogério de Lima, Justin Tafa, Mackenzie Dern, and Amanda Lemos, and a colossal main card that features ex-champions, and future stars such as Ian Garry, Merab Dvalishvil, Paulo Costa, Robert Whittaker, and Henry Cejudo.

Let us look at the main card in-depth as it appears on the Verdict MMA app.

(#15) Anthony Hernandez vs. (*NR) Roman Kopylov

This bout is scheduled to take place in the Middleweight division.

Anthony "Fluffy" Hernandez makes his PPV main card debut this weekend when he takes on Russian powerhouse Roman Kopylov to open the main card of UFC 298: Volkanovski vs. Topuria.

Hernandez is a Dana White's Contender Series veteran who earned his contract with a knockout over Jordan Wright in the co-main event of the evening. Hernandez has since gone 5-2 in the UFC with finishes over Edmen Shahbazyan, Marc-André Barriault, Park Jun-yong, and an impressive submission over BJJ world champion Rodolfo Vieira.
Hernandez is 11-2 overall with 9 finishes.

Roman Kopylov is a surging Russian striker with a whopping 11 wins by knockout. Kopylov debuted in the UFC in 2019 after earning 7 knockouts in a row on the regional scene and unfortunately lost 2-straight to start his UFC tenure. However, he rallied back into the win column with 4 consecutive knockouts over Alessio Di Chirico, Punahele Soriano, Claudio Ribeiro, and Josh Fremd.
Kopylov is 12-2 overall and 4-2 in the UFC.


(#2) Merab Dvalishvili vs. (#3) Henry Cejudo

This bout is scheduled to take place in the Bantamweight division.

Ex-champion Henry Cejudo looks to return to his winning ways when he faces rising star Merab Dvalishvili this Saturday night on pay-per-view. Dvalishvili is currently on a 9-fight win streak and has no plans to slow down any time soon.

Cejudo went on a legendary run beginning in 2017, which saw him win and defend both the Bantamweight and Flyweight titles over all-time greats such as Dominick Cruz, T.J. Dillashaw, and Demetrious Johnson.
Cejudo is coming off a split-decision loss to previous champion Aljamain Sterling in May of 2023.
Cejudo is currently 16-3 overall and 10-3 in the UFC. Cejudo is also the only Olympic gold medalist to win a UFC title.

Dvalishvili is on a hellish win streak over some of the UFC's best Bantamweight fighters. Dvalishvili began his current streak after a loss to Ricky Simón, where he was choked unconscious in the final second of a Fight of the Night in 2018. Dvalishvili has since beaten names like Brad Katona, Casey Kenney, John Dodson, Cody Stamann, Marlon Moraes, José Aldo, and Petr Yan. If it weren't for the fact that Dvalishvili's long-time friend and training partner, Aljamain Sterling, was champion, the title would have been in his hands long ago.
Dvalishvili is 14-4 overall and 9-2 in the UFC, with all 9 of those wins being his current streak.

(#8) Geoff Neal vs. (#10) Ian Machado Garry

This bout is scheduled to take place in the Welterweight division.

Following some fight cancellations that led to bad blood, Ian Machado Garry and Geoff Neal finally go toe-to-toe on the biggest card of the year thus far.

Geoff Neal is another Dana White's Contender Series veteran who made a name for himself with a big first-round knockout on the show, which led to an impressive win streak over Welterweight staples. Neal has gone 2-3 in his last 5 and is looking to get back into title contention.
Neal is 1 of only 3 men to claim a victory over Belal Muhammad.
Neal is 15-5 overall and 7-3 in the UFC, with knockout wins over Frank Camacho, Niko Price, Mike Perry, and Vicente Luque.

Ian Machado Garry is an Irish star in the making; despite some fan backlash due to things going on in his personal life, he still has the tools to become a household name.
Machado Garry began his career in Cage Warriors, winning the Cage Warriors Welterweight championship before coming to the UFC.
Machado Garry has an effortless striking technique, which is a spectacle to watch.
Machado Garry boasts an undefeated professional record of 13-0, with 7 big wins by knockout.


(#3) Robert Whittaker vs. (#6) Paulo Costa

This bout is scheduled to take place in the Middleweight division.

Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker takes on Paulo "Borrachinha" Costa in the co-main event of the evening, with colossal title implications on the line as the Middleweight division is wide open currently.

Robert Whittaker went through a murderer's row of Middleweights to earn his title in 2017, and even since losing it in 2019, he has not slowed down in taking the most formidable challenges the weight class has to offer. These challenges include men like Marvin Vettori, Kelvin Gastelum, Jared Cannonier, Darren Till, Yoel Romero x2, Ronaldo Souza, and Derek Brunson.
Despite coming off a loss in his most recent outing to now-champion Dricus Du Plessis, Whittaker is eager to get a big win over the Brazilian powerhouse.
Whittaker is 24-7 overall and 15-5 in the UFC.

Paulo Costa is one of the most physically gifted athletes the UFC has seen; however, his determination has faltered since losing his title shot against Israel Adesanya in 2020. Since this loss, Costa has gone 1-1 and has been involved in 5 fight cancellations.
Costa is a Brazilian knockout artist with hands of stone and an iron chin.
Costa is excited to return to the Octagon to show he belongs at the top of the Middleweight division.
Costa is 14-2 overall and 6-2 in the UFC, with wins over Johny Hendricks, Uriah Hall, Yoel Romero, and Luke Rockhold.

(C) Alexander Volkanovski vs. (#3) Ilia Topuria

This bout is scheduled to take place in the Featherweight division.
This bout is for the UFC Featherweight championship.

The main event of the evening!
Australia's own Alexander Volkanovski puts his title on the line against Spaniard Ilia Topuria in a highly anticipated matchup against the 2 best Featherweights right now.

Alexander Volkanovski has proved time and time again that he is the best Featherweight on earth, and with one final win over the biggest prospect the division has seen since himself, it will be hard to deny he's the greatest of all time.
Volkanovski debuted in the UFC against Yusuke Kasuya in 2016 and, since then, has amassed an astonishing undefeated Featherweight record of 11-0.
Volkanovski has beaten all the Featherweight standouts, such as Yair Rodríguez, Jung Chan-sung, Brian Ortega, José Aldo, Chad Mendes, and Max Holloway 3 times. The only Featherweight GOAT he is yet to face is Conor McGregor.

Volkanovski is 26-3 overall and 13-2 in the UFC. The only UFC fighter to beat him was Islam Makhachev in 2023.

Ilia Topuria is hands down the best Featherweight prospect the UFC has seen in a long time. Topuria is on a 14-fight undefeated streak with an incredible 12 finishes.
Topuria's early career saw him earn submission after submission on the regional circuit before earning his first knockout, which led him to the UFC. Since joining the UFC, Topuria has proved he's more than just a submission threat with a 3-fight knockout streak over Damon Jackson, Ryan Hall, and Jai Herbert.
Topuria earned a title shot with a win over long-time top-ranked Featherweight Josh Emmett.
Topuria is 14-0 with 4 knockouts and 8 submissions and boasts a 6-fight UFC win streak.

Will Volkanovski retain his title and solidify himself as the greatest Featherweight of all time, or will Topuria prove he's as good as he says he is with a big upset victory? Find out Saturday night on PPV.

What's your official prediction for these fight? Make your picks on the Verdict MMA app for your chance at that prestigious top 10% belt. Availible on iOS and Google Play.


Best Bets:

Volkanovski -130
Dvalishvili -210
Whittaker -238

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