UFC 266 – Volkanovski vs. Ortega Betting Odds, Picks, and Preview


Let’s take a look at the opening odds, early betting pick and breakdown of Saturday’s UFC 266 main event. UFC 266 takes place Sep. 20 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, in front of what figures to be a raucous live crowd as the fighting capital of the world is hosting International Fight Week. The main event this weekend is for the featherweight title and features this year’s The Ultimate Fighter coaches. Alexander Volkanovski is undefeated within the UFC and will look to win his 19th straight fight while defending his title for the second time against Brian Ortega, who is getting his second chance to touch UFC gold. 

UFC 266 betting odds: Volkanovski vs Ortega 

Here are the latest odds for Volkanovski vs Ortega, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Volkanovski enters this bout as a moderately sized favorite priced at -165, meaning you have to lay $165 to win $100 with a bet on Alexander “The Great”. Ortega is entrenched as the underdog with a betting line of +145, meaning a $100 bet would profit $145 should “T-City” come through under the bright lights in Vegas on Saturday. 

Volkanovski vs. Ortega fight breakdown

This is a matchup that fight fans have been waiting on for a while. After this bout was originally scheduled for March, Volkanovski was forced to pull out of the fight with a nasty case of COVID-19. After that, the UFC pivoted their plans to have these featherweights coach The Ultimate Fighter and instead fight towards the end of the year. Volkanovski enters the matchup as a considerable favorite, and that makes a lot of sense considering the body of work that he’s put together within the UFC. Since debuting in late 2016, Volkanovski is a flawless 10-0 inside the octagon with very few competitive fights. After getting a few easier matchups early in his career, Volkanovski’s resume features wins over Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, and Max Holloway, three of the best featherweights of the modern era. Ortega has also had an extremely impressive UFC run, with the sole blemish on his record through nine fights being a title fight loss to Max Holloway, while finishing all eight of his victories. 

Stylistically, Volkanovski is a guy who can only be classified as a great fighter across the board. While that sounds cliche, Volkanovski is just one of those fighters who simply doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses that we’ve seen to this point. His striking metrics are impressive, and he’s shown wrestling ability with finishing upside as well. Perhaps the most underrated part of Volkanovski’s game is his Fight IQ and defense though, as he is constantly feinting and keeping his opponents guessing while simultaneously staying out of much trouble. On the flip side, Ortega has shown to have weaknesses in his game but is very much a boom or bust fighter with great upside. In the past, we’ve seen Ortega struggle with his defensive striking, not only in the Max Holloway fight but he’s gotten himself into holes in several of his previous fights as well. Ortega’s specialty is his offense, he has shown the ability to put opponents unconscious despite not being the best technical striker on earth, and his Jiu-Jitsu is world-class and puts his opponent in constant danger during grappling sequences. 

MMA betting picks — UFC 266

Oftentimes when we look at main events, especially on PPV, we see some of the most efficient betting markets in the world due to the number of people and money that are entering the market. However, I still think there is a massive edge to be had in this main event. One of the easier things to handicap in MMA is minute-winning capability, also known as who will likely be winning on the judges’ scorecards for the majority of the fight. That figures to be a massive advantage for Volkanovski in this spot, who is a top-five pound-for-pound fighter on the planet in my opinion and is likely the best minute-winner inside of the sport. To win this fight, I think Ortega will need a finish. Of course, that’s possible, and we’ve seen it eight times in the UFC to this point, however, I just don’t see many advantages for Ortega in this fight outside of pure grappling. While his striking looked great against Chan Sung Jung in his most recent outing after a long layoff following his first title shot, I’ve seen Ortega get out-struck by Cub Swanson, Renato Moicano, Diego Brandao and even Clay Guida at times in his career. He has made a living off of coming back in fights and pulling off highlight finishes, but Volkanovski has yet to show any cracks in his fight IQ or durability. The one spot that I mentioned Ortega having an advantage in is pure grappling, but oftentimes it requires takedowns to get the fight to the mat, and Ortega has averaged less than a takedown per 15 minutes in his UFC career. Despite Volkanovski having just a 72% takedown defense, it’s hard to see Ortega attempting a ton of takedowns in this spot. As previously mentioned, I doubt Volkanovski takes this fight to the ground on his own accord either, as his fight IQ has historically been great. The bottom line here is that Volkanovski should dominate the majority of this fight, and at -165 I think there’s a ton of value in his money line considering that Ortega likely needs a finish to win against a very durable guy. 
Pick: Alexander Volkanovski by Decision

Bet: Alexander Volkanovski 2.5x until -160, 2x until -175, 1.5x until -195, 1x until -220. 

Be sure to check out the FTNBets MMA page for the latest free content, picks, props and more for UFC 266. Want more free content? Check out the Undisputed MMA Show with Jon Kelly and Jonah Shiffman

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