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UFC 280 MMA Betting Odds (10/22)

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Every year during the UFC season, there is one card that everyone in the community looks forward to like Christmas morning. UFC 280 is that card this year. Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev is the most anticipated fight since Conor McGregor fought Jose Aldo in Brazil. Two of the sport’s elite grapplers head to Abu Dhabi to crown the lightweight champion. 

 

Makhachev will be looking to bring the belt back to his coach and former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, while Oliveira looks to reclaim the belt after it was taken from him on the scales in Vegas. UFC 280 also gives us the return of TJ Dillashaw, as he looks to make another run at the title when he challenges the current champion, Aljomain Sterling. We also witness the Suga Show, Sean O’Malley, stepping into the octagon to face former champion Petr Yan. From top to bottom, this card is action-packed and could be one of the best cards not only of the year but in the company’s history. Below I’ll be breaking down every fight from a betting perspective and will give the best bet for each. All odds are per BetMGM.

Main Card

Oliveira vs. Makhachev Odds

Charles Oliveira +145; Islam Makhachev -175

This might be the card of the year. This fight is not just a jiu jitsu vs. wrestling match; this fight features the cream of the crop in the grappling world, period. Oliveira is a jiu jitsu ace with heavy hands. At the same time, Makhachev brings a wrestling pressure and fight style similar to his now coach and former lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Earlier this year, Oliveira was set to defend his belt against Justin Gaethje, but troubles on the scales vacated the belt, and Oliveira was no longer champion. On paper. He would beat Gaethje easily and set up this matchup with Makhachev for the lightweight title, which, if you ask Oliveira, he is currently making a title defense this weekend and not fighting to get his belt back.

Makhachev has been one of the most dominant lightweights in the UFC since Nurmagomedov retired. With relentless pressure and tenacity, Makhachev brings a style of fighting to the cage that mirrors Nurmagomedov. Khabib drowned his opponents, and before the fight was over, his opponents usually wanted out. It was considered a moral victory if you could make it to the judges’ scorecard against Khabib. Makhachev averages 3.41 takedowns per 15 minutes at a 65% clip while defending the takedown 88% of the time. He also brings a dynamic to his style because, unlike Khabib, he can strike and end fights with his power. He doesn’t average a high output on the feet but is very accurate, landing 57% of his strikes, but most of his work is done on the ground, where he controls his opponents and has found a finish in four out of his last five fights — three by submission and one by ground and pound ko/tko. His paths to victory seem simple to many, and many people believe Makhachev will walk through Charles and make him quit and break the longer this fight goes on.

On the other hand, I beg to differ and believe Oliveira has evolved from the days when he would quit mid-fight or run out of gas after not finding a quick finish. Was he quitting? Or was the fact that he had tough weight cuts have anything to do with him falling off a cliff if he couldn’t find early finishes? Oliveira was a featherweight when all those issues occurred, and since becoming a lightweight, he seems to have weathered the storm, and fight after fight has taken down all but one fighter in the top five. What makes Oliveira so different than just your average jiu jitsu fighter is the fact that unlike other jiu jitsu base fighters like Damian Maia and Jacare Souza, he can strike and packs a lot of power. Oliveira doesn’t use his strikes to find entries for takedowns; he is dangerous on the ground and has the type of jiu jitsu that he will let his opponents take him down at times or even pull guard. His jiujitsu is so good that after being rocked, his opponents usually let him stand up on his own because they don’t want to enter a spider web. Oliveira averages 3.53 significant strikes landed per minute at 53% accuracy while attempting 2.43 takedowns per 15 minutes. He also only defends 57% of takedown attempts, which may be alarming in a fight against Makhachev. Still, even he is wary of taking a double leg takedown shot without the fear of catching a knee or ending up in a guillotine. Makhachev is going to have to crowd Oliveira up against the fence, and Oliveira is going to have to keep Makhachev on the back foot and his back away from the cage where he can be stapled and controlled. From a betting perspective, I believe that Oliveira has more avenues to win, and if he keeps his gas tank in check and makes weight quickly, I can see him handing Makhachev his second loss. The pressure is on Islam, in my opinion, as he is fighting on home turf in front of the former lightweight champion and coach in his corner. He would be bringing the belt back to the family, not to mention this is Islam’s first big title shot under the bright lights. The last time he made a big debut in a prominent spot was in 2015 when he lost by ko in the first round by flash knockout. So while Islam is a dominant figure, he still is human, and I believe Oliveira will prove that this weekend. 

The Bet: Charles Oliveira ML +145 

Sterling vs. Dillashaw Odds

Aljamain Sterling -165; TJ Dillashaw +135

After 13 months of being ridiculed and made fun of for acting his way to a title, Sterling beat Petr Yan and became once and for all the bantamweight champion. Sterling put on a master class of wrestling his last fight and dominated from pillar to post, giving Yan no opportunities to find a rhythm. Aljo became a backpack against Yan and frustrated the high-level striker, and made it look easy. Dillashaw steps into this fight after being called out by the champion. Dillashaw made his comeback last year after being suspended for two years for PED use. He fought Cory Sandhagen in a five-round war and won. Many believe he was gifted that fight, and perhaps Sandhagen deserved the nod. I think Sandhagen earned the nod, but probably because his volume fell off towards the end of the fight; it gave Dillashaw the edge because of his volume. Dillashaw has always been known to be a great striker and has a style of fighting that incorporates a lot of feints and movement. Dillashaw, as a former champion, can also wrestle and has supernatural toughness with or without the sauce so this fight will be a challenge for the Aljo. Still, I believe that if Aljo could negate Yan and neutralize that attack, I don’t see why Aljo can’t do the same to Dillashaw and take this fight to the ground and win by submission or decision. 

The Bets: Aljamain Sterling by submission or decision -150/Aljamain Sterling in Rounds 4, 5 or decision +100

Yan vs. O’Malley Odds

Petr Yan -265; Sean O’Malley +220

Yan faces off against O’Malley in a bantamweight matchup that sets up the winner for a possible title shot. Yan is motivated to get back into the contender spot and fight Aljo again, while the Suga Show is looking to catapult himself into rockstar status with a win over Yan. It’s no secret that this is the toughest test for the young superstar, but O’Malley has proved all the doubters wrong every fight and has improved every time he steps into the octagon. A highlight reel finisher, O’Malley does not shy away from what he wants when he fights. O’Malley wants to make a lot of money and look good doing it. For him to do that, he knows that he has to find finishes in his fights, and in his last five, he’s seen four knockouts and one no-contest due to an eye poke. The path to victory for Yan would be to keep this fight against the fence and in close range, applying pressure on Sean and limiting his movement by attacking the legs often and early. Against Chito Vera, O’Malley was injured, but before the injury, leg kicks could weaken him. O’Malley has a four-inch height advantage along with a five-inch reach advantage. O’Malley’s path to victory must include a lot of movement and keeping Yan at the end of his punches and kicks. Yan is notoriously a slow starter, so the fact that this is a three-round fight also favors omalley, who can get ahead early and possibly get a decision win here. From a betting perspective, this fight will be close, and either man can win; therefore, I’ll take the fight to go the distance and sit back and enjoy the war.

The Bets: O’Malley vs. Yan FGTD -168/O’Malley ML +210

Dariush vs. Gamrot Odds

Beneil Dariush +160; Mateusz Gamrot -200

Dariush faces Gamrot in the lightweight division in what should set up the winner for a future title shot. Both fighters are on winning streaks and have six finishes within their last five fights. Beneil has finished his opponents within the first two rounds, and Gamrot has done the same in their last five fights. Both fighters also like to take the fight to the ground as Dariush averages 2.11 takedowns per 15 minutes and Gamrot 4.83 takedowns per 15. Gamrots’ game is predicated more on having control on the ground where he can find a ground and pound finish or submission. Benny is a well-known fighter and a veteran in the UFC who recently found momentum and currently is on a seven-fight win streak. At 33 years old, Dariush is in his prime and looking sharp wherever the fight goes. Historically Dairush has gotten into wars, and it has led to him being stopped in some fights, still Benny is very durable and capable of beating anyone in top 15, now top five. Gamrot is good, aggressive and poses a threat but his experience in the UFC doesn’t match up to Benny’s whose been in the UFC since 2014 and has seen fighters like Gamrot before. I suppose people think that gamrot will be too much for Benny in the ground, but I beg to differ and believe Benny will do well against gamrot wherever this fight takes place. 

The Bet: Beneil Dairush ML +160

 

Prelims

Muhammad vs. Brady Odds

Belal Muhammad +120; Sean Brady -145

In the feature prelim of the night, Muhammad faces undefeated contender Brady. At a glance, you’d expect Brady to take this fight to the ground and dominate. Brady averages 3.22 takedowns per 15 minutes at a 60% accuracy rate. He defends 87% of takedowns and everyone who has come in contact with him has said they’ve never felt strength like that before. Brady is not all grappling though as he averages 3.91 significant strikes per minute, connecting on over half of the strikes with a 54% accuracy rate. Brady is as well rounded as they come and with a win this weekend will be putting a halt to Muhammad’s seven-fight win streak. Belal has not lost since 2019. Since that lost belal fought as much as he could and whoever they put in front of him fighting three times in 2019, once in 2020 although two fights were canceled, one of them being Brady, and then four times in 2021. So far in 2022 he’s fought once and exacted his revenge against Vicente luque who early in his career knocked him out. This would be Muhammad’s second time fighting in 2022 while Brady hasn’t been in a cage since early 2021 when he beat Michael Chiesa. My only concern for Brady in this fight is his gas tank and whether his time away from the cage will affect him. He’s quoted saying he feels the best he’s ever felt coming into a fight week but then again, all fighters say that. Still, I am confident that everywhere Belal is going to take this fight, Brady will have an answer and dominate. This could be a back-and-forth war with a lot of take down attempts and flash knockdowns and I’m taking the side of the better grappler in Brady. 

The Bet: Sean Brady ML -140 

Muradov vs. Borralho Odds

Makhmud Muradov +170; Caio Borralho -210

Quickly becoming a dominant force in the middleweight division Borralho faces Muradov in what should be an exciting and violent fight. Caio Borralho is currently on an 11-fight win streak and since coming onto the scene in the contender series last year, Borralho has been more dominant each time he’s in the octagon. Borralho has fought twice already in 2022 and after beating Armen Petrosyan unanimously back in July a win this weekend will make him 3-0 in 2022. A win this weekend puts Borralho into contender conversations and puts the rest of the division on high alert. Borralho averages 2.72 significant strikes per minute while attempting 2.63 takedowns per 15 minutes. He doesn’t have a high output but is very accurate landing 63% of his strikes and only absorbing 1.82 significant strikes per minute. Muradov presents a challenge for borralho but not one that I think will stifle the Brazilian. Muradov averages 5.39 significant strikes per minute while attempting 0.31 takedowns per fifteen minutes. He defends 80% of takedowns and I believe he may defend the first couple attempts, but eventually he will over-reach with a wild overhand right and end up on his back under borralho. Borralho likes to let his opponents make mistakes and in this fight, I believe Muradov will make enough mistakes to end up in a submission. 

The Bet: Caio Borralho by submission or decision -115/Borralho by submission +300

Tukhugov vs. Almeida Odds

Zubaira Tukhugov -165; Lucas Almeida +135

Another exciting matchup takes place when two-heavy handed featherweights meet in the octagon this weekend. Tukhugov/Almeida has Fight of the Night potential written all over it. Two fighters who look for the finish from the sound of the bell and put everything into every strike they throw. Both fighters have similar styles as they look for the finish with every strike thrown. Almeida averages 6.60 significant strikes per minute while attempting zero takedowns per 15 minutes. He has a good gas tank and doesn’t mind taking one to give one, two or even three right back. Almeida averages 5.63 significant strikes absorbed per minute and with a takedown defense of only 50% I expect him to have trouble against Tukhugov if he has to defend takedowns. The difference in this fight will be when Zubaira decides to mix in his takedowns and neutralize the heavy hands of Almeida. From a betting perspective I fully expect Zubaira to fight smart and take the path of least resistance which is taking this fight to the ground and grinding out Almeida until he breaks. 

The Bets: Zubaira Tukhugov ML -165/Tukhugov by points +125

Nurmagomedov vs. Omargadzhiev Odds

Abubakar Nurmagomedov -176; Gadzhi Omargadzhiev +141

Nurmagomedov faces Omargadzhiev in what should be an exciting fight in the welterweight division. Nurmagomedov fights out of the Games Eagles Camp made famous by Khabib Nurmagomedov. Similar to his coach Khabib Abubakar can wrestle and can handle himself wherever this fight goes. He is 16-3-1 overall as a professional and is 2-2-1 in his last five. Abubakar averages 3.59 significant strikes per minute while attempting 1.68 takedowns per 15 minutes. Omargadzhiev is 13-1-0 overall as a pro and 4-1 in his last five. Omargadzhiev looks to end fights more when it hits the ground as he averages 1.64 takedowns per 15 minutes while attempting 0.8 submissions per 15. Where I think Omargadzhiev will have trouble is in the amount of volume he puts out. I don’t think he has enough volume to outstrike Nurmagomedov and after a few failed takedown attempts, I don’t see any other way that he can win unless he catches Nurmagomedov making a mistake. This is Nurmagomedov’s fight to lose, and I’ll be taking Abubakar to win straight up and by points for plus money.

The Bets: Abubakar Nurmagomedov ML -176/Nurmagomedov by points +125

Mokaev vs. Gordon Odds 

Muhammad Mokaev -1200; Malcolm Gordon +725

The UFC has a shiny new toy, and his name is Muhammad Mokaev. He faces UFC vet Gordon in the flyweight division. Gordon is 14-5-0 overall as a pro and 3-2 in his last five in the ufc. Gordon has been in the UFC since 2020 and after two losses early in his career, he won back-to-back fights and is currently on a two-fight win streak. Gordon averages 2.39 significant strikes per minute while attempting 2.06 takedowns per 15 minutes. What’s concerning for Gordon is how his opponent, Mokaev is a surpreme grappler and attempts 11.27 takedowns per 15 minutes. Mokaev is the cream of the crop in my opinion and once believed to be just a hype train, I am here to say that the hype is real, and he will prove that this weekend when he walks through Malcom Gordon and gets a submission win in the first round. Gordon is good and a strong grappler, but he has been finished before and he will be finished again here. Mokaev will want to impress the crowd in Abu Dhabi and continue to raise his stock. For that reason, I will be betting Mokaev to win by sub at +125 and also for this fight to stay under 1.5 rounds at -125. 

The Bets: Muhammad Mokaev by sub +125/Mokaev vs. Gordon under 1.5 rounds -125

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