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UFC 298 Odds, Picks, Projections Our Best Bets for Alexander Volkanovski vs Ilia Topuria & More (Saturday, February 17)

Updated:2024-05-03 21:58    Views:139

Check out our UFC 298 best bets for Saturday's pay-per-view event, including our Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria pick and prediction in the main event.

UFC 298 takes place at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The preliminary card is available on ESPN+ (6:30 p.m. ET) and ESPN (8 p.m. ET) before the main card on ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET (cost: $79.99).

UFC 298 is the biggest event of 2024 so far. And our MMA experts have scoured the UFC 298 odds board and fight card for value.

So where should be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed four fights and picks on Saturday’s stacked card that present betting value.

You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo's projections below using odds from BetMGM.

Make your UFC 298 bets with our BetMGM bonus code for tonight's action!

Moneyline Projections

Prop Projections

Billy Ward: Andrea Lee vs. Miranda Maverick

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:25 p.m. ET

This line almost feels too good to be true. Miranda Maverick is 5-3 in her UFC career with her only losses coming via decision (one split), and two of those coming against top-five women’s flyweight contenders.

Maverick, still just 26, has truly struggled only against fellow grapplers and when she’s been unable to bring fights to the mat (or worse, gets taken down herself). That won’t be an issue this time around against Andrea Lee.

The 35-year-old Lee has dropped three straight fights, getting out-grappled in two of them and picked apart on the feet in the other. While those losses also come to highly ranked competition, it’s not an encouraging sign.

(ESPN Bet is now live! Bet on UFC 298, including Lee vs. Maverick, with our ESPN BET promo code TANBONUS.)

Lee is 5-6 in the UFC overall with her recent results and her age both suggesting her best days are behind her.

Lee is probably fighting for her job – while Maverick is fighting for a spot in the flyweight rankings.

Nothing I’ve seen from either woman gives me any indication Lee poses much of a threat here, so I’m more than happy getting Maverick at -185. I’d play her moneyline down to -215.

The Pick: Miranda Maverick (-180 at ESPN BET)

Dann Stupp: Amanda Lemos vs. Mackenzie Dern

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 p.m. ET

It's not often that I target unders and stoppages for women's fights, especially in the UFC's lightest ladies division.

However, with 115-pound strawweights Amanda Lemos vs. Mackenzie Dern, I'm just seeing too many avenues for a stoppage victory – by either woman – in this UFC 298 featured preliminary-card bout.

All eyes will be on ESPN for this bout, and we've got hard-hitting Lemos facing off against world-class grappler Dern.

While I also plan to bet Dern pre-fight or live on the moneyline, I just see her most likely paths to victory all including a stoppage. We obviously know that Dern can force a tap at a moment's notice – and she doesn't even really need a takedown to do it – and her power is coming around to complement those submission weapons.

UFC 298 Odds: Sean Zerillo's Betting Picks, Preview, Predictions for All 12 FightsRead now

Lemos, meanwhile, packs an absolute wallop for the division, and we've seen Dern wilt when facing that type of power. Lemos could absolutely end this one quickly with her hands.

But we've also seen Lemos start strong and quickly taper off, and against an opportunistic grappler such as Dern, that's an easy way to find yourself unconscious and wondering just what the hell just happened. Plus, with Lemos' 37th birthday quickly approaching, we have even more reason to worry about her late-fight resolve.

For me, the big question came down to this: Do I take Under 2.5 rounds, or do I bet that fight "doesn't go to decision"?

Ultimately, it was a matter of line shopping for me. Thankfully, I live in Virginia, where we have no shortage of sportsbooks with ample MMA betting markets.

I'm ultimately going with Betfred, which is offering Under 2.5 rounds at market-best -135 odds. You can also find a few stray -140s out there.

But if you can find a good deal on the fight ending by finish, you may be thankful you bought that extra half-round to guard against a late-third-round stoppage by either way. In that case, your best bet for "does not go to decision" (DNGTD) is Betway (-175) and BetRivers (-180). For me, though, I'm going to roll the dice with Under 2.5

The Pick: Amanda Lemos vs. Mackenzie Dern Under 2.5 Rounds (-135 at Betfred)

Tony Sartori: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Henry Cejudo

Contributor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 10:25 p.m. ET

The UFC 298 main card features a massive bantamweight bout with championship stakes with No. 2-ranked UFC contender Merab Dvalishvili taking on No. 3-ranked Henry Cejudo. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the winner of this fight will go on to face the winner of Sean O'Malley vs. Chito Vera for the 135-pound championship.

With that said, Dvalishvili is a big favorite to win this bout at -230. If you do not want to lay that big of a number, then a good way to bring this play closer to plus-money is to take him to win by decision at -125 via BetRivers, which is what I am doing for this fight.

Merab by decision is by far his most likely path to victory. His game plan is going to be the same as it has always been: shoot for takedowns, rack up control time on the mat, and coast to a decision victory.

Dvalishvili is currently riding a nine-fight winning streak with eight of those nine wins coming by decision due to this consistent game plan. His one knockout win over that stretch came against Marlon Moraes, but that had nothing to do with Merab's power and more so that Moraes just physically gave up after getting dominated through the first two rounds.

UFC 298 Props: 6 Oh-So-Juicy Picks and Predictions from the MMA Prop SquadRead now

On the other hand, Cejudo has never been knocked out at 135 pounds. So, if we take out Dvalishvili winning by knockout, that just leaves with a submission possibility when he is on the mat.

However, that is just not his game. He goes for control and dominance in wrestling, having just one submission victory across his entire professional career back in 2017.

Meanwhile, Cejudo has never tapped across his entire professional career. If you are going to back the heavy favorite in this fight, then I do not envision another path to victory for Dvalishvili unless it is by his usual route: domination on the mat to coast to a decision victory.

Yes, Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist wrestler, but that was almost 20 years ago, and he is not that guy anymore, evidenced by his latest decision loss to Aljamain Sterling.

The Pick: Merab Dvalishvili by Decision (-125 at BetRivers)

Sean Zerillo: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:55 p.m. ET

I wrote extensively about the Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria headliner in my full UFC 298 betting preview, as well as my dedicated UFC 298 main event preview.

In short, I'm betting on Topuria leaving UFC 298 with the featherweight title by upsetting champ Volkanovski.

Topuria is 27 – eight years younger than Volkanovski in a division where the average age is 31 – and older fighters tend to fall off more quickly at lighter classes than in heavier divisions, where speed is less crucial.

More importantly, Topuria has the quicker and more powerful hands in the pocket, and he's also more durable. Volkanovski has wobbled in several bouts throughout his title run, and his durability has always been the one flaw in his game.

In short, I would bet Topuria's moneyline at any plus-money price prefight.

Topuria has more finishing and offensive grappling upside than Volkanovski, whose primary win condition is likely a highly competitive decision. I'd expect Topuria to apply maximum pressure from the opening bell and look to close the show quickly, so I wouldn't mind some additional "violence" bets, including the Georgian to win in Round 1 (+650 at DraftKings). You can use those as straight bets or on round-robin tickets.

But my official best bet for UFC 298 is the challenger Topuria on the moneyline at plus money.

The Pick: Ilia Topuria (+110 at Caesars)

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