UFC 284 First Look: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski Betting Picks, Odds, and Prediction

profile image of David Manyun
ufc first look rectangle

UFC Pick: Over 2.5 rounds (-145) at BookMaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)  

Bookmaker logo
Over 2.5 rounds (-145)
Visit Site

UFC 284 presents the most highly anticipated fight of the calendar year thus far, and we’ve covered your betting needs.  

Champion versus champion will headline the UFC 284 fight card as Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski steps up from the featherweight division in an attempt to become a two-division titleholder.

However, standing in his way is the formidable Islam Makhachev.  

Read on for our complete UFC betting guide with an early preview of the UFC 284 main event clash between Makhachev and Volkanovski, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC first-look betting picks, predictions, and analysis. 

Make sure to check out the best US Betting Sites available in order to make your bets.

Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski  

UFC 284 Lightweight Championship Bout  

Saturday, February 11, 2023 – 06:00 PM EST at RAC Arena  

Islam Makhachev Profile 

  • Age: 31 
  • Height: 5’10” 
  • Reach: 70.5”  
  • Nationality: Russia  
  • Affiliation: Fightspirit Team/KHK MMA Team    
  • Current Streak: 11 Wins  
  • MMA Record: 23-1-0 [4 KO/TKO, 11 submissions, 8 decisions]  
  • UFC Record: 12-1 [2 KO/TKO, 6 submissions, 4 decisions]  

For the previous twelve years, we’ve watched Islam Makhachev dominate the world of professional mixed martial arts.

He’s now viewed as the next coming of Khabib Nurmagomedov – a legend of the sport who’s considered one of the all-time greats – and although he doesn’t own the perfect record, 23-1-0 isn’t bad, especially after competing in the top ranks of the sport for the last seven years.  

Many wondered how close friends and training partners Islam and Khabib would handle a crossing of paths in the lightweight division.

However, Khabib answered the question upon his retirement. And now, he’s assisted the training regime of an ultra-talented group, including the current champ, Islam Makhachev.   

Exceeding the Heights of Khabib   

We’re under no impression that it’s a career goal of Makhachev, but he does have some big shoes to fill if he’s to exceed the recognition of Khabib.

However, a 12-1 record, 11 consecutive wins, and a title-winning round two arm triangle choke over Charles Oliveira isn’t a bad start.    

The Dagestani mixed martial arts style has taken the world by storm, and it's Makhachev who’s currently at the forefront.

However, before his position as one of the greatest to ever enter the octagon is solidified, he must first defend the 155lb strap on several occasions and do it convincingly.   

Islam Makhachev Combat Sports Accomplishments   

  • UFC Lightweight Championship (One time, current)  
  • UFC Fight of the Night (One time)  
  • UFC Performance of the Night (One time)  
  • Least significant strikes absorbed per minute in UFC history (0.95)  
  • Third longest win streak in UFC Lightweight division history (11)  
  • FIAS World Combat Sambo Championship Gold Medallist (2016)  

Best Available Odds: Islam Makhachev (-390) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

Alexander Volkanovski Profile  

  • Age: 34 
  • Height: 5’6” 
  • Reach: 71.5”  
  • Nationality: Australia  
  • Affiliation: Black Lion Jiu-Jitsu Academy   
  • Current Streak: 22 Wins  
  • Pro MMA Record: 25-1-0 (12 KO/TKO, 3 submissions, 10 decisions)  
  • UFC Record: 12-0 (4 KO/TKO, 8 decisions)  

Alexander Volkanovski is the greatest fighter to have stemmed from the Oceania continent, and according to the UFC rankings, he’s the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.  

And how does the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter prove he’s the greatest on earth?

By clearing out the division with four title defenses and then stepping up a weight class to challenge the No.2 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.  

Two-Division Champion    

A victory over Makhachev would not only seal the masses' approval of Volkanovski’s no.1 pound-for-pound ranking, but he’ll also become a two-division champion and hold the respective titles simultaneously – an accomplishment that’s only been achieved by Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes, and Henry Cejudo.  

Volkanovski is one win away from etching his name into the history books.

Critics have underestimated the 5 foot 6 inch stature of “The Great” on many occasions, and again, he’ll enter this contest as a significant underdog priced at (+350).  

But as we’ve come to learn, overlooking the power, determination, and sheer heart of Volkanovski hasn’t fared well thus far, and a 22-fight win streak should be respected and admired no matter the outcome of Saturday’s historic fight.  

Alexander Volkanovski Combat Sports Accomplishments 

  • UFC Featherweight Champion (One time, current, four title defenses)  
  • UFC Fight of the Night (Two times)  
  • UFC Performance of the Night (One time)  
  • The second-longest win streak in UFC Featherweight division history (10)  
  • UFC Men’s Pound-For-Pound No.1    

Best Available Odds: Alexander Volkanovski (+350) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

UFC 284: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski Breakdown & Analysis  

Makhachev Fight Style & How Can Makhachev Defeat Volkanovski?

Single or double-leg takedowns, body locks, trips, and any offensive grappling approach is the forte of Islam Makhachev, and we shouldn’t expect this to be altered in the UFC 284 main event.  

Makhachev and the Dagestani fighting style are renowned for smothering offensive grappling, followed by heavy top control and a submission finish or ground and pound until a TKO is awarded.  

However, Volkanovski is no stranger to the wrestling mats. Yes, he’s been taken down before, and he’s never faced a grappler with the elite wrestling dominance of Makhachev, but his scrambling ability could also be some of the best that the champion has encountered to date.  

Makhachev has hinted that he feels confident in knocking Volkanovski out on the feet due to his size, but we should take this with a pinch of salt and expect the Russian to do what he does best, drown his opponent with wrestling and grounded situations.    

Volkanovski Fight Style & How Can Volkanovski Defeat Makhachev?

Reversing the blueprint of Islam, Volkanovski is an exceptional striker. Many have criticized his height, but this lower center of gravity has allowed him to deliver some brutal leg kicks and a few takedowns of his own during his pro-MMA career.  

I don’t expect Volk to wrestle, but the problem is, he’ll have no choice. That said, if he can return to his feet, it will dent the confidence of his challenger, who hasn’t faced much adversity from his past opponents in this area.  

Should Volk keep this fight standing for at least 13 minutes, he can undoubtedly take a split-decision victory through his seamless lateral movement, switching of stances, and precise striking combinations.  

Striking and damage are worth more to a judges’ scorecard than wrestling and control, and the former is the area of this contest where Volk owns the advantage.  

Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski Prediction & UFC 284 Odds 

The available UFC odds at Bookmakers Review heavily favor Makhachev, and I’m not taking this bait.  

We’re going to witness the two best fighters on the planet step into the octagon, and I believe the over 2.5 rounds is a simple but probable wager.

Each fighter has been stopped inside the distance once, but it’s been eight years for Makhachev and ten years for Volkanovski since we’ve witnessed such an outcome.  

Picking the winner isn’t as easy as the oddsmakers suggest; it strictly comes down to Volkanovski’s ability to return to his feet. Because we must be honest, the takedown is inevitable, and he won’t be able to stop it.

But we can’t guarantee that Makhachev can keep him there.   

UFC Pick: Over 2.5 Rounds (-145) [1.45u to win 1u] at BookMaker  

UFC 284 Main Card & Odds 

UFC 284 Preliminary Card & Odds

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.