Abu Dhabi plays host to the biggest UFC card of the year this weekend, headlined by two mammoth title fights and a couple of number one contender bouts. In the main event Charles Oliveira looks to regain the belt he lost due to a weight mishap when he meets the rampaging Russian Islam Makhachev. In the co-main Aljamain Sterling aims to defend his belt against former champion TJ Dillashaw and Petr Yan faces top prospect Sean O’Malley in a fight that is sure to be fireworks. We take a look at my best bets for UFC 280 below.
UFC 280 Betting Picks
Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev
Charles Oliveira will look to regain the title he lost when he missed weight against Justin Gaethje when he meets Islam Makhachev this weekend.
Oliveira submitted Gaethje at the start of 2022 in a performance that showed he is not just the best Lightweight but one of the best pound for pound.
His opponent Makhachev has long been long touted as Khabib Nurmagomedov’s successor and has only one blemish on an otherwise dominant MMA career. However, the fact is he is yet to fight an elite level Lightweight, and I believe he will have all sorts of problems with Oliveira.
The path to victory for the Dagestani is simple, get the fight to the mat, land in top control and unload ground and pound, racking up control time. However, Oliveira has excellent grappling, is a massive submission threat and is levels above on the feet.
I think the market is disrespecting the Brazilian and I am confident he absolutely puts a beating on Makhachev on the feet, overwhelming his foe.
Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw
Aljamain Sterling beat Petr Yan for the second time to retain the Bantamweight crown in his last fight and immediately called out TJ Dillashaw.
Dillashaw in his last bout beat Cory Sandhagen in a fight I personally scored in favor the Sandman.
I really like this fight stylistically for Sterling. His length will be able to keep Dillashaw at bay on the feet and will allow him to catch him as he comes blitzes forward. Funk Master also has the wrestling advantage over Dillashaw and the cardio to go five hard rounds.
In the past Dillashaw has been able to overwhelm opponents when they start to fade but won’t have that luxury here. Much like how Dominick Cruz beat Dillashaw is how Sterling will win, through great footwork, range and with the consistent threat of a takedown.
Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley
Paging a big upset here. Sean O’Malley is a polarising personality and therefore fans either overlook his weaknesses or put down his strengths. The fact is Yan is a slow starter and the fact it is a three-round fight works against him. He also has to overcome a significant reach disadvantage and does not have the wrestling to keep O’Malley guessing.
Expect Suga to outpoint Yan early and continually catch a frustrated Russian as he attempts to put the pressure on as things get more desperate. This is Suga’s coming out party.