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UFC 294: Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski 10/21/2023 Fight Picks, Prediction and Preview

UFC 294: Makhachev vs Volkanovski 10/21/2023 – Islam Makhachev defends his UFC lightweight title against Alexander Volkanovski on Saturday, October 21, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The showdown is the main event of the UFC 294 main card that will begin at 2:00 PM ET. ESPN+ will feature the clash on television while UFC Fight Pass will air the bout on livestream.

Makhachev will make his second defense the 155-pound title against Volkanovski, the world featherweight champion that will try to capture the lightweight title after failing for the first time eight months ago. The match will also have big implications in the pound-for-pound rankings as Volkanovski is ranked second while Makhachev is a spot below at third. It will also keep sports oddsmakers busy in predicting the outcome of the fight as Volkanovski is out for revenge. On the other hand, Makhachev is determined to prove that his victory in their first fight is not by chance.

UFC 294: Makhachev vs Volkanovski 10/21/2023

When:Saturday, October 21, 2023, 2:00 PM ET
Where:Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Stream:UFC Fight Pass

UFC 294: Makhachev vs Volkanovski 10/21/2023 Odds

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Islam Makhachev-200Alexander Volkanovski+170

Main Card

Islam Makhachev

Makhachev (24-1, 13-1 UFC) has efficiently mowed down his rivals in his 14 UFC matches, including his marquee fights against Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight title and his first fight against Volkanovski. The Makhachkala-born fighter has used his experience in sambo to his advantage, wrestling his way to convincing victories in the first 25 fights of his career. Makhachev will have a four-inch height advantage against Volkanovski that he can maximize in evading the challenger’s strikes. He also has a four-inch edge in terms of leg reach that he can use in kicking his Australian opponent out of striking range.

The Russian has used his sambo skills to submit 11 of his rivals and knock out four others. If he cannot finish his foes, Makhachev uses his wrestling skills to dominate his opponents. The  31-year-old has an average fight time of 10 minutes and 15 seconds. Makhachev is known for his ground and pound skills with a takedown average of 3.24 per 15 minutes. He has a takedown success rate of 62% and defended 90% of his opponents’ takedown attempts. He has averaged 1.1 submission attempts/15 minutes so watch out for his tieups as he could try at least one submission in this match. In terms of striking, Makhachev has averaged 2.35 significant strikes per minute and has connected 59% of his attempts in his career. He was able to defend 61% of the strikes attempted by his foes and has absorbed 1.27 strikes per minute.

Alexander Volkanovski

Volkanovski (26-2, 13-1 UFC) has been the best featherweight fighter in the world for almost three years. He dethroned Max Holloway in December 2019. He validated his reign with two more wins against Holloway and demolished Brian Ortega, Jung Chan-sung and Yair Rodriguez. Alexander challenged Makhachev for the lightweight title but his quest to become a two-division champion was dented after he was dominated in five rounds in February. He will try again on Saturday and he is more prepared and determined to defeat the second fighter who stained his excellent record in Makhachev.

Volkanovski has recorded 16 finishes (13 knockouts, 3 submissions) and is also a dominant fighter in his bouts with 10 of his wins coming by decision. He has the cardio to last five rounds as he has averaged 17 minutes and 14 seconds of fight time in the cage. The 5-foot-6 Australian may have a disadvantage in height but he keeps on attacking his taller foes as he has averaged 6.25 significant strikes landed per minute. He also delivers quality strikes as he has landed 56% of his strikes to his opponents’ bodies. His defense is also solid at 58% and has absorbed 3.38 strikes per minute. Volkanovski is no pushover in grappling as he has recorded 1.86 takedowns/per 15 minutes at an accuracy rate of 37%. His takedown defense is above average at 69% and his submission average is 0.2 per 15 minutes.

Makhachev vs Volkanovski Betting Numbers

Islam Makhachev
Alexander Volkanovski
Last FightWinWin
Weight (lbs)154154
Reach (in)69″70″
Win by KO/TKO17%50%
Win by Submission46%12%
Strikes landed per minute1.916.11
Striking accuracy61%59%
Striking absorbed per minute0.832.49
Striking defense66%62%
Takedown average4.252.78
Takedown accuracy70%38%
Takedown defense92%72%
Submission average10.52

Makhachev vs Volkanovski Betting Picks

Most online MMA betting picks believe that Makhachev will keep the lightweight title as he has the top-caliber ground game that could neutralize Volkanovski’s strikes. The Russian has stopped the Australian freight train’s rampage by dominating him with grappling. Makhachev will try to prove that his win over Volkanovski is not just pure luck but all skills. Volkanovski, however, needs to stay away from Makhachev’s takedown attempts and maximize his striking abilities by outworking his Russian foe. Another five-round classic is more likely between the two fighters but watch out for a knockout win if one fighter lands the right punch that would knock his opponent down.