UFC 294: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2 Main Card Betting Preview & Odds

Alex Murray
By: Alex Murray
21 Oct 23
News - UFC
UFC 294: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2 Main Card Betting Preview & Odds

One of the biggest and most anticipated UFC cards is going down on Saturday, October 21st, but it has been changed drastically over the past few weeks. While we won’t be seeing the fights we were expecting, the main and co-main events still feature very, very intriguing matchups. In the headline event, lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is a pretty big moneyline favorite against featherweight champ and late addition to the card, Alexander Volkanovski, on all UFC betting sites and betting apps.


  • Alexander Volkanovski is a surprisingly long +200 odds underdog in the main event
  • Khamzat Chimaev is offering a ton of value to win by decision at +275 odds
  • The over on both fights are also intriguing prospects, as we expect both to go to the cards

UFC 294: Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski Main Card Betting Odds - October 21st

Islam Makhachev will look to defend his lightweight championship strap for the second time against featherweight top dog Alexander Volkanovski. In the co-main event, like in the main event, one of the fighters has only joined the fray in the last couple of weeks. No. 4 welterweight Khamzat Chiamev will take on No. 1 Kamaru Usman in a middleweight bout. All odds provided by Sports Interaction.

( C ) Islam Makhachev vs. ( C ) Alexander Volkanovski Lightweight Championship Main Event Fight Odds

FighterMoneylineWin by KO/TKO/DQWin by SubmissionWin by DecisionTotal Rounds
Islam Makhachev-250+400+250+150O4.5 (-120)
Alexander Volkanovski+200+550+2,000+450U4.5 (-110)

Islam Makhachev (24-1) was supposed to be taking on Charles Oliveira in a rematch for the lightweight strap, but instead, he’ll have to deal with pesky featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski (26-2) coming back up a weight class to give him another run for his money.

The last-minute change is no small thing, because Oliveira and Volkanovski could not be more different fighters. Oliveira is long and tall, Volkanovski is compact. Oliveira is a jiu-jitsu master, Volkanovski is one of the best boxers in the UFC. This swap could be an issue for Makhachev, and the odds do not reflect that whatsoever.

Volkanovski just had surgery in July, but it was cursory for an MMA athlete, and he said that he’s been training as the alternate for this bout ever since, so it’s not like he’s not in shape. And if anything, Volkanovski has had more experience in long fights, with six of his last seven going four or more rounds compared to just two fights of four or more rounds in Makhachev’s entire career.

Makhachev had a full, proper camp, so he has a slight advantage, but nowhere near what the bookies are giving him. While he had success taking Volk down in the first matchup, the Aussie’s toughness was an issue for him, as the featherweight seemed to grow in strength and confidence as the bout went on, nearly finishing Makhachev in the fifth.

If this was being billed as more of a toss up in terms of odds, we might think twice, but considering the massive +200 underdog odds for the featherweight champ, it’s an easy play for us. Volkanovski should be able to outlast Makhachev once again and learn from his minute mistakes the first time out.

Neither of these guys generally goes down before the bell either, so the -105 odds on this fight to go the distance are mighty enticing. Neither Makhachev nor Volkanovski has been finished since 2015, so we feel pretty safe on this one.

No. 4 Khamzat Chimaev vs. No. 1 Kamaru Usman Middleweight Co-Main Event Fight Odds

FighterMoneylineWin by KO/TKO/DQWin by SubmissionWin by DecisionTotal Rounds
Khamzat Chimaev-345+200+275+275O2.5 (+130)
Kamaru Usman+265+550+2,200+500U2.5 (-169)

A matchup between the No. 4 welterweight contender, Khamzat Chimaev (12-0), and the No. 6 middleweight contender, Paulo Costa, was shaping up to be a Fight of the Year candidate, but with Costa dropping out, things looked bleak. Enter former welterweight champion and current No. 1 contender Kamaru Usman (20-3).

The fight will still be taking place at middleweight, which is something that will give Chimaev the advantage, as he is the much bigger man of the two. The fact that Usman is taking this fight on such short notice is also worrisome, as he had given no indication that he was looking at this fight the way Volk did.

Still, Usman is no slouch, and he will give Chimaev a run for his money. He’s definitely the best fighter Chimaev has fought, and Borz won’t be able to throw Usman around like he has many of his other opponents. The thing is, Usman won’t be able to take advantage of his superior cardio in a three-rounder.

Chimaev is in the light of his prime and Usman is in the downturn of his career, so this is a Chimaev win for sure, but the odds don’t reflect how tough Usman is. Sure, he got knocked out by Leon Edwards with that epic head kick last year, but that’s the only time he’s ever even been knocked down.

In the rematch with Edwards, the head kick was clearly weighing on Usman as well, as the Nigerian Nightmare was much more tentative in his attack. We expect that to continue against Chimaev. Usman is solid defensively, so while we like Chimaev to win, we don’t think he’ll finish Usman like he’s done to 11 of his 12 opponents so far. Take Chimaev to win by decision at amazing +275 odds. The fight to go the distance at +150 odds is not a bad bet either.

Alex is a recent graduate of Ryerson's Sport Media program in 2019 and has been contributing to BettingTop10 since 2020. He has worked in the field of sports and sports betting for several years, including writing for theScore and daily fantasy sports website FantasyPros as one of their lead NBA news writers. A dedicated sports fan and experienced sports bettor, Alex has the knowledge to provide you with the best betting advice and the sneakiest props no matter what the sport may be.