UFC 294 is a week away and a lot has changed.
The new main event is now Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski in a rematch from their first bout earlier this year.
Original challenger and former champion Charles Oliveira suffered a nasty cut in practice a week out from the fight and thus, he is off the card.
Not only does UFC 294 have a new main event, but the co-main event has changed too in these final days.
Rising star Khamzat Chimaev will be taking on former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at middleweight.
Chimaev’s original opponent, Paulo Costa, was not cleared to fight after getting surgery on his elbow recently. It’s been a wild week in the world of MMA.
These are some huge changes so close to an event, but here we are and many MMA fans have voiced on social media that they think the card has actually improved from what it was before.
Here are our UFC 294 odds, props, and predictions.
UFC 294 Main Event Odds
Makhachev was a moderate favorite in the matchup against Charlie Oliveira, but top sportsbooks have a tighter rematch with Volkanovski. Makhachev is still the favorite at -225, making Volkanovski the underdog at +185. Best live odds are available below:
UFC 294 Co-Main Event Odds
Chimaev is also a moderate favorite at -270, with Usman coming in at +220 on 10-day notice.
UFC 294 Betting Preview: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2
Makhachev Looks To Make It Two-In-A-Row Against Volkanovski
Well, we’re running this one back earlier than expected. Both guys have something to prove in this matchup despite the fight being booked on short notice.
Islam Makhachev (24-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) won in the first bout against Alexander Volkanovski (26-2 MMA, 13-1 UFC), but it wasn’t definitive.
Many scored the fight for featherweight champ Volkanovski in his first attempt at gaining champ status. Regardless, the matchup was great. It was a back-and-forth that felt cinematic, and in the final minute, Volk ended up on top, wailing down punches in what was at least a moral victory.
Makhachev had his hand raised in the end. He also showed his fellow fighters that there is a path to break down the second coming of Khabib.
But, here’s the thing: Outside of a flash knockout early in his career, nobody has been able to defeat the now-lightweight champion.
His wrestling is some of the best in the entire organization. His striking is nothing to write home about, but he did drop Oliveira with a right hand in their first matchup, which led to a triangle submission that sealed the match.
A second victory against Volkanovski would tie a bow on that matchup. After that, rebooking the Oliveira fight makes the most sense early next year. There is always Justin Gaethje waiting in the wings as well. Makhachev has also expressed his own interest in pursuing a second belt at welterweight, so that could certainly be an option next year if the UFC agrees.
A loss to Volkanovski could mean a trilogy bout and that’s intriguing too.
2024 is not short of options for the young Dagestani.
Volkanovski Has a Second Chance at Champ Champ Status
It feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a new double champion when there was a time it seemed like we had one every few months.
Volkanovski is trying to be the guy and got a second chance sooner than expected.
And he may be more equipped to do it this time around. He fought a great fight against Makhachev in their first matchup. He was patient and hung in there on the ground, winning some wrestling exchanges throughout the fight. Again, some thought Volk was the winner in the first matchup.
Since his loss, he has defended his belt against former interim champ Yair Rodriguez by knocking him out in the third round.
And to be honest, that’s Volk’s best path to victory. He must stay patient, keep his distance as the shorter fighter, and look for those big combos. It’s commendable that he could keep up in wrestling with one of the best wrestlers in the UFC, but he should do everything he can to make Makhachev fight his fight and not the other way around.
A win for Volkanovski would be super interesting for the UFC. Volk was originally scheduled to fight Ilia Topuria in January, and he still could, of course. But it would be fun to watch a champ defend both belts in two real divisions (sorry, Amanda Nunes, but the women’s featherweight division never existed).
UFC 294 Props
Method of Victory (DraftKings)
- Makhachev by KO/TKO: +400
- Makhachev by submission: +300
- Makhachev by decision: +140
- Draw: +5000
- Volkanovski by KO/TKO: +550
- Volkanovski by submission: +2000
- Volkanovski by decision: +500
Total Rounds (BetRivers)
- Over 1.5 (-590), Under 1.5 (+350)
- Over 2.5 (-295), Under 2.5 (+205)
- Over 3.5 (-182), Under 3.5 (+135)
- Over 4.5 (-124), Under 4.5 (-108)
Will Fight Go The Distance? (FanDuel)
- Yes: -104
- No: -124
UFC 294 Event Info
- Location: Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023
- Start Time: Main Card at 2 p.m. ET
- Where to Watch: ESPN+ PPV