UFC 290 Preview: Mac Mally
After UFC 289 came to Canada, we’re back in Vegas on the week of America’s birthday for International Fight Week for some more UFC betting. It won’t be Americans carrying the card; instead, Australia and Mexico will have the majority of the weight. That’s not a complaint. Let’s look at some of the top matchups and why we have such heavy favorites this weekend.
Alexander Volkanovski vs Yair Rodriguez
Rodriguez fights can be hard to call because of his unpredictable and effective fighting style. This guy can knock you out or hurt you from angles and exchanges you never thought possible. However, he’s fighting one of the more predictable fighters on the UFC roster. Alexander Volkanovski doesn’t need flashy strikes or come-from-behind Hail Marys. Alexander Volkanovski’s predictable style is pressure and WINNING. Much shorter than most people in the division, Volk has excelled at 145 and even gave the 155 champ the most trouble we’ve seen thus far. While Yair Rodriguez has shown an elite chin and embodies the Mexican fighting spirit, Volkanovski should be too much for the Mexican contender in all aspects of a fight besides the insane ability to shut someone’s lights off with a technique we’ve seldom witnessed like Yair has done. With that said, I don’t think there is a ton to break down with this fight besides simply saying, like any other fight, Volkanovski should be able to coast to a victory or even hurt and submit his newest challenger before the ending bell. This isn’t to say Yair can’t catch him. Every second they are pawing at range will be dangerous for the champ. So, if Yair lands some wizardry and steals the undisputed belt from one of the P4P best, don’t say I didn’t say it’s possible. With that said, Volkanovski by 4th-round submission.
Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja
If you’ve been watching the sport for a while or watched the breakdowns, you’re aware that these two have met before with Pantoja taking both victories. This one for me personally is hard to really break down from a technical standpoint, so I’ll revert to some “bro” science points. Also, a quick fact, Pantoja was actually the guy to knock Moreno from the UFC roster in his first stint with the promotion. With that said… bro, if you watch back the Pantoja fights with Moreno, it’s night and day who has evolved and gotten better since their last meeting. While it’s unfair to say Pantoja hasn’t evolved as well, it’s beyond apparent that Brandon Moreno has simply become a new fighter. In their second fight (the first was in TUF), the commentators even mention how loopy Moreno’s striking was and how unfocused he was on defending strikes coming his way. If you watch that back, it’s night and day from the Moreno we’ve seen since his expulsion and return to the premier organization. Every facet of his game has evolved to the elite level and it shows. Fighting one of the best and most dangerous flyweights the UFC has ever seen 4 times will do that to a man. When you look at Pantoja’s last few wins, and losses for that matter, they don’t even compare to the strides Brandon Moreno has made. Like I always say before making a pick, anything can happen. Pantoja has shown how dangerous he can be and why he deserves a shot at this title, but I think it’s hard to argue he’s come as far as Brandon Moreno since their initial clashes. Brandon Moreno retains by unanimous decision.
Robert Whittaker vs Dricus Du Plessis
Robert Whittaker has not lost to anyone not named Israel Adesanya in 9 years. Dricus Du Plessis has never lost since 2018 in KSW against one of the most highly touted prospects at the time, Robocop Soldic. It’s great to get some new blood in the division at the top, but it seems like the community around MMA is at a consensus that this should be a walk in the park for The Reaper. My only counterpoints would be we’ve seen the amount of damage Whittaker has taken in the last few years and at some point that can, and will catch up. Is it now? Doubt it. Robert Whittaker is one of the most well-rounded fighters the game has ever produced. I wouldn’t be surprised if he used wrestling to tire out Dricus a little then open up on the feet. This to me seems more clear-cut than we’ve seen in a while. One criticism of Dricus has been his gas tank, and Whittaker is known for his ability to go five rounds. I must bring up Dricus recently got surgery on his nose that opened blocked airways and enabled him to breathe properly, which could have been a major contributor to his seemingly susceptance to gassing. As I’ve admitted ad nauseam, you truly never know when two people lock doors in the cage, but barring Whittaker getting caught, I’m taking Whittaker by TKO or KO. We might even see his signature jab, high kick combo to seal the deal if Dricus tires a bit with his hands down.
Bo Nickel vs Val Woodburn
Wrestling has always been said to be the best base for MMA, and Bo Nickal is a great reason why. He can do it all. Striking opens up with the threat of the takedown. With an elite ground game and cardio to fall back on… Bo Nickal by whatever he wants. Especially with the late replacement opponent. Woodburn has an opportunity of a lifetime, but Bo Nickal gets it done, most likely in one.
JOIN BODOG TODAY!
Do you agree with Mac’s UFC 290 preview? Or has something else caught your eye in Bodog’s UFC betting? It’s your call.