The UFC will get things going early Saturday morning as the promotion is in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for UFC 280. The 14-fight card, featuring two title bouts, will get underway at 10 am (ET), while the six-card main draw is slated for 2 p.m. Fans can catch the action on ESPN News and ESPN+.
UFC 280 is loaded with intriguing fights, led by the co-main event title fights. In the first title match, Aljamin Sterling (23-3) will defend his bantamweight title against No. 2 contender TJ Dillashaw (18-4). Meanwhile, in the main event, No. 1 challenger Charles Oliveira (33-8) will face No. 4 Islam Makhachek (22-1) for the vacant lightweight belt.
Islam Makhachev versus Charles Oliveria, Lightweight
Oliveira, who lost the lightweight belt because he missed weight before his last fight against Justin Gaethje, is 3-0 in title fights and has come out victorious in his previous 11 trips into the octagon. The 33-year-old Brazilian’s last loss came to Paul Felder in December 2017.
Makhachev is also on a long winning streak, last suffering defeat in 2015, a stretch that spans 10 fights. He won his last two outings via finishes, with his latest being a first-round TKO over Bobby Green in February.
I expect this to be a spectacular title fight. I’m leaning towards Makhachev (-190) to come out victorious due to his defense and the fact that he has been dominant over the years. However, I like two other bets better: the match goes over 1.5 rounds, and the fight ends via submission.
Both competitors are excellent wrestlers and will not be afraid to take the match to the ground. Twenty-four of Oliveira’s 41outings have ended due to a submission, with him winning 21 of those fights. Meanwhile, Makachek has 10 submission victories.
Furthermore, I believe that the UFC 280 fight will go at least 1.5 rounds. Three of Oliveira’s last five matches have reached the third round, and four of Makachek’s last six have. Oliveria is in the octagon for nearly seven minutes per bout, and Makacheck fights last a touch over nine minutes.
Best Bet: Fight to end by submission (-120)
Best Bet: Over 1.5 Rounds (-155)
Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw, Bantamweight
This bout pits the current bantamweight champion against a former flyweight title holder. Sterling looks to improve to 3-0 in his title defense here.
Sterling, on a seven-fight win streak, is coming off back-to-back victories over Petr Yan. He also has a win over Cory Sandhagen via first-round submission. Only 11 of the Jamaican’s 24 outings have ended with a finish.
Meanwhile, Dillashaw is 5-3 in title fights. The 36-year-old American will head to the octagon for just the fifth time since November 2017 and is coming off a split-decision win over Sandhagen in July 2021. Fourteen of Dillashaw’s fights have ended before the final bell.
Dillashaw is the better striker. However, I believe Sterling will take advantage of his mobility and take the fight to the ground, where he thrives.
Best Bet: Sterling To Win (-175)
Other UFC 280 Best Bets
- Mateuz Gamrot Over Beneil Darush (-190)
- Caio Borrahalo vs. Makhmud Muradov Over 1.5 Rounds (-215)
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