The UFC returns to T-Mobile Arena and Pay-Per-View Saturday night as the most stacked card of the fall gets underway with two title fights and the return of Nick Diaz. Following the Diaz/Lawler fight and the co-main, the featherweight belt will be on the line as Alexander Volkanovski (c) takes on top contender Brian Ortega.
Let’s take a closer look at where the value remains as fight night approaches.
Betting Profile: Brian Ortega (15-1-0)
Last Five Fights
Since joining the UFC in 2014 with a first-round submission win (late ruled an NC for a failed drug test), Ortega has largely made light work of the featherweight division. In his eight fights since, Ortega has accrued four fight-night bonuses and fought for the belt once (vs. Max Holloway) in 2018, losing a four-round affair vs. TKO.
Having fought just once since then, a decision win against Chan Sung Jung during which Ortega dropped Jung multiple times, Ortega will get another shot at the belt in a rather shallow featherweight division.
Betting Profile: Alexander Volkanovski (22-1-0)
Last Five Fights
For champion Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski, a look at his track record is a whose who of victims starting from the time he joined the UFC. Knocking off Chad Mendes, followed by Jose Aldo, Volkanovski took the belt from Max Holloway in December 2019 and has since defended it once vs. Holloway again in July 2020.
Often combining his superior talent with his limitless gas, Volkanovski comes into this one with the longest average fight time in the division at 16:19. He is also #1 in significant striking accuracy (55%), and #3 in strikes landed per minute (6.16), as well as striking differential (2.4), all of which he holds significant advantages over Ortega.
Per @NumbersMMA on Twitter, when looking at a common opponent Max Holloway, Volkanovski’s significant strikes were absorbed in 10 rounds: 236. Brian Ortega’s in just 4 rounds: 290.
And that’s just one major edge.
If this were to head to the ground, Volkanovski holds edges in takedowns per 15 minutes (2.09 vs. 0.8), takedown accuracy (34% vs. 21%), and defense (72% vs. 56%).
My only concern in this one is Volkanovski’s track record of not being able to finish fighters, but if he can escape the first 2 rounds, I look for him to out-gas Ortega and am laying the heavy juice in this one-sided (analytically) fight.
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