Alexander Volkanovski will defend his UFC featherweight title against Brian Ortega in the main event of UFC 266 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It will be Volkanovski’s second title defense following his narrow decision victory over Max Holloway last July. He’ll be facing an incensed Ortega who coached opposite him on The Ultimate Fighter. They were originally slated to face each other at UFC 260, but the fight was postponed after Volkanovski tested positive for COVID.
Ortega made a successful return to the Octagon last October with a dominant victory over Chan Sung Jung after taking nearly two years off following his loss to Max Holloway.
Volkanovski is undefeated in the UFC at 9-0 and aims to kick off a journey to become one of the greatest fighters to compete in the 145 pound division while Ortega looks to prove that he’s championship material by taking out the man who holds two victories over Max Holloway.
Sporting News provides some insight on how to bet on the featherweight championship clash.
All odds courtesy of FanDuel
UFC 266 odds for Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega
- Alexander Volkanovski: -176
- Brian Ortega: +142
- Draw: +5000
Alexander Volkanovski enters the fight as the favorite at -176, meaning it would take a wager of $176 to see a $100 profit should he successfully defend his title. Ortega comes in as an underdog at +142, meaning that a $100 wager would return a $142 profit if Ortega wins.
Volkanovski vs. Ortega prediction
Do your best to not apply MMA math here. Volkanovski holds two victories over Max Holloway, who absolutely dominated Brian Ortega. However, Ortega is much improved in the striking department after getting picked apart by Holloway almost three years ago while it can be argued that Volkanovski lost both of his fights to Holloway in 2019 and 2020. And these two fighters couldn’t be more different from Holloway. Volkanovski is an absolutely powerhouse who overpowers his opponents with his wrestling and striking. Ortega is more of a finesse fighter that couples remarkable submission skills with striking that seems to improve with every fight he’s in.
Although Volkanovski is the favorite and hasn’t lost a fight in eight years, he hasn’t faced a fighter quite like Ortega and his mixture of skills that could neutralize the champion. This isn’t to take away from what Volkanovski has accomplished thus far but outside of the narrow victories over Holloway, the only quality victory against a top opponent was his 2019 decision over Jose Aldo. Ortega appeared to be a man possessed in his return bout with Chan Sung Jung following his loss to Holloway. His striking was sharper than it has ever been and his ability to control the distance and thwart any attempts for a takedown showed that “T-City” has rededicated himself to his craft.
There are a variety of ways this fight could end but it looks like a battle to stay out of the opponent’s wheelhouse. But Volkanovski will put himself at risk if he tries to bring the fight to the mat with his wrestling and could find himself on the wrong end of a counter if he isn’t careful with his striking. That being said, Ortega will have to be careful to not allow Volkanovski’s deceptively long reach to close the gap or allow the muscular Aussie to press him up against the cage.
This could very well be a high-powered chess game that finds Ortega squeezing out a narrow decision courtesy of his ability to use Volkanovski’s strengths against him.
Sporting News Prediction: Brian Ortega (+134)