UFC 298 Volkanovski vs Topuria Odds, Picks, and Predictions: "Alexander the Great" Stands Tall in Anaheim

Despite being on the wrong side of 30, father time hasn't yet reached Alexander Volkanovski, Read more in our Volkavoski vs. Topuria betting picks as the 35-year-old Aussie headlines Saturday's UFC 298 main event.

Feb 17, 2024 • 19:54 ET • 4 min read

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria is the headline event for tonight's UFC 298 betting.

Volkanovski is one of the most dominant featherweight champions in MMA history and will be making his sixth title defense, but the undefeated Topuria is a rising star and a real threat to end his reign.

UFC odds opened with Volkanovski as a -175 favorite but money has come in on the challenger and Volk now sits at -130. Here are my best free UFC 298: Volkanovski vs. Topuria picks and predictions for February 17 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. 

Alexander Volkanovski vs Ilia Topuria fight odds

Method of Victory Volkanovski Topuria
To win outright -130 +110
To win by KO/TKO +310 +370
To win by points +210 +450
To win by submission +1,350 +500
Draw +2,500 +2,500

Odds courtesy of Bet99 on February 17, 2024.

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Volkanovski vs Topuria picks

Fight prediction: Volkanovski ML

One bit of MMA trivia that has gained steam lately is that male fighters aged 35+ in title fights below middleweight are just 2-21 in UFC history — and one of those victories was a 35-year-old Tyron Woodley defeating a 40-year-old Demian Maia. That's certainly a prevalent narrative in this matchup, with Volkanovski at 35 years old and coming off the worst loss of his career.

However, that knockout loss took place when he moved up a division to face the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Islam Makhachev, on short notice in October. Let's also remember that just two months before turning 35, he steamrolled a young featherweight contender in Yair Rodriguez.

There are also concerns that Volk might not have taken enough time off after getting starched from that head kick by Makhachev. If his chin is still compromised, facing a heavy hitter like Topuria could be disastrous. 

That said, cutting 27 pounds in just 12 days likely affected his durability and a better weight cut should help him here. In addition, head kicks have long been viewed as one of the few flaws in Volkanovki's striking defense, with many thinking that Rodriguez was a live dog for that very reason.

However, Topuria relies on his boxing in the stand-up and rarely throws kicks. He also tends to be heavy on his lead foot with that boxing stance, which will make him vulnerable to the leg kicks of Volkanovski. 

Father Time comes for everyone but I don't think Volkanovski's decline is as imminent as some seem to think. Expect Volk to carve up Topuria's leg with low kicks and use his reach advantage and strength to grind out another title defense. 

Prediction: Volkanovski moneyline (-125 at Bet99)

Fight best bet: Volkanovski moneyline

When odds for this clash hit the board in November, I was leaning towards Topuria on the moneyline and figured that his price would get even better leading up to the fight. Instead, the line has moved in the opposite direction and now the value is firmly on Volk at nearly a pick'em.  

While there's still value in backing Topuria to win by KO/TKO at +400, Volk's experience gives him the edge on the moneyline. Don't let recency bias cloud your perception of how dominant Volk has been at featherweight and back him at -125. 

Pick: Volkanovski moneyline (-125 at Bet99)

Volkanovski vs Topuria betting preview

Volkanovski is coming off a first-round knockout against Makhachev, which was his second unsuccessful lightweight title challenge over the last year. However, he has never lost at 145 pounds in his career, compiling a 12-0 record in the octagon and racking up six title wins. 

Despite a short frame, Volk has a freakish 71-inch reach, which gives him an advantage in striking exchanges. He's a high-volume kickboxer with elite cardio, and he also boasts strong wrestling ability with powerful ground-and-pound.

Topuria has a perfect 14-0 record in his career while going 6-0 in the UFC. In his last bout in June, he picked up a unanimous decision win and a Fight of the Night bonus against Josh Emmett.

That snapped a streak of four-straight stoppage wins for Topuria, but it was still a dominant performance against Emmett, who was the No. 5 featherweight contender at the time. Topuria held a 152-87 edge in significant strikes and racked up three takedowns, with one judge giving him a 50-42 scorecard. 

Topuria combines crisp technical boxing along with good footwork and heavy hands. He's also a high-end grappler with eight of his 14 career wins have come by way of submission. 

Alexander Volkanovski vs Ilia Topuria tale of the tape

Volkanovski   Topuria
35 Age 27
5-foot-6 Height 5-foot-8
155 lbs Weight 145 lbs
71.5 inches Reach 69 inches
26-3 (13 KO) Record 14-0 (4 KO)

Not intended for use in MA.
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