UFC 251: Volkanovski vs. Holloway Fight Picks and Predictions

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UFC 251: Volkanovski vs. Holloway Fight Picks and Predictions

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to action as the featherweights are ready to throw-down in the co-main event of the evening in a rematch for UFC gold. UFC Odds are live for the event, here’s a complete preview featuring Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski, including updated odds and our betting pick.

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway

Saturday, July 11, 2020 – 11:35 PM EDT

Opening Line: Volkanovski -220 at BetOnline

We’re heading into the final event of the month for the UFC and president Dana White, and an action-packed scheduled filled month of UFC has put on some of the best fights this year. In the co-main event, featherweight contenders will take center stage to attempt and claim the divisions’ championship gold. Max Holloway has received his rematch against Alexander Volkanovski. Plenty of betting lines and markets are currently available; let’s attempt to find some value in this weekend’s UFC 251 co-main event.

Alexander Volkanovski. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

Alexander Volkanovski

Former Rugby professional and Australian Greco-Roman wrestling champion, Alexander Volkanovski, will make his way to the octagon this Saturday for his first-ever UFC championship title defence against the man he defeated for the belt. The 21-1 undefeated (in the UFC) wrestler will face the toughest fight of his career when stepping up against Max Holloway for a second time – Volkanovski doesn’t require any confidence but, an intelligent approach to fighting Max a second-time round will be obligatory.

Holding a massive amount of muscle mass, 5’6 Featherweight Volkanovski began his martial arts career fighting at Middleweight. After a successful career in the Australian Rugby league and championship titles in regional wrestling tournaments, combat sports would make a full circle in his life when he put down the Rugby balls for MMA gloves.

Volkanovski amassed a 13-1 record on the Australian regional MMA scene before joining the UFC. While riding a ten fight win streak, octagon jitters were non-existent for the overly confident former Middleweight who made his UFC debut at Lightweight. Through 2016 to 2018 Volkanovski would hold onto his unbeaten streak, defeating anybody who dares step in his way to the top.

The journey to the top for Volkanovski has seemed to be a breeze, and I think he’ll be in for a shock when confronted with the elusive movement of Max “Blessed” Holloway coming in often and early during their second contest this weekend. UFC Fight Island will be a spectacle with three titles on the line and the entire world watching, Volkanovski will be headhunting for his claim on the Featherweight divisions elite while ducking the incoming attacks of one of the divisions greatest.

Octagon Strengths

  • Strong wrestling background
  • Already defeated Max Holloway by a unanimous decision

Octagon Weaknesses

  • Couldn’t seem to find any valuable offense other than leg kicks versus Maz
  • Maybe too complacent during the second run

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

Max Holloway

Once upon a time, Max Holloway was the youngest active member on the UFC roster, now he holds countless records for the company and is set to go down as one of the greatest Featherweight’s that the martial arts world has had the pleasure of seeing compete.

The first Hawaiian Featherweight champion will return from his first set of back to back defeats ever. He crept into the Lightweight division and would attempt to capture the strap from Dustin Poirier in hopes to become a two-division champion. Unfortunately for Max, the size and power of Dustin were just too much and after losing his championship gold to Volkanovski, is looking to get back on track and avenge his loss.

Featherweight dominance and two easily won battles against Jose Aldo have pitted the Hawaiian hero as a future Hall of Famer. With just three losses to his name in the past five years (which in fairness was a considerable risk by stepping up a division to face the champion) Holloway hasn’t looked stoppable for years, so watching Volkanovski defeat him via leg kicks was a surprise to most. The fluent, precision striking of Holloway doesn’t look to be slowing down, and he’s riding his late 20’s as a veteran of the sport. Taking out Max “Blessed” Holloway may seem viable when he’s coming off a loss to the same fighter but, we can’t neglect the “Max Holloway Era” that is still very much current in the UFC Featherweight division.

Octagon Strengths

  • Striking speed and accuracy
  • Great takedown defense
  • Cardio
  • Progresses through the fight

Octagon Weaknesses

  • A slow starter, which cost him the previous fight
  • Lack of training camp for UFC 251
  • A potential confidence knock

Final Betting Thoughts

Since the beginning of time, Max Holloway’s statistical information has always begun the fight with a low percentage and then ended much higher. Meaning his fight IQ has won the majority of his battles while learning on the job, the problem is we couldn’t see this during his fight versus Volkanovski for the first time in his featherweight career.

Volkanovski slipped, bobbed, and weaved himself right out of Holloway’s firing line while interrupting the rhythm of Holloway too. Knowing the changes that each fighter has made since their first meeting makes this fight the most difficult through the entire month on Fight Island.

After Holloway’s lack of training camp, it becomes a huge concern as to how adapted he’ll enter this weekend’s title fight. Volkanovski was successful in his first game-plan just seven months back and I worry that Max can truly solve the puzzle a second time around.

UFC 251 betting pick:

Volkanovski by DEC+100
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