UFC 294: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2 Predictions, Analysis, and Free Picks
YTD Premium Record: 226-154 (59%)
In true Dana White fashion, UFC 294 went from an almost disaster with the main and co-main losing fighters, to one of the best top two fights in the promotion’s history.
Like the savage that he is, Alex Volkanovski steps in on less than two weeks’ notice to take on the lightweight champ Islam Makhachev for the second time this year. In the co-main event, another one of the sport’s GOATS Kamaru Usman also steps in late to fight the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev.
Despite many calling this a top-heavy card, I think there are quality fights from top to bottom and plenty of value from a betting perspective.
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Location: Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Prelims: 10:00 AM EST - ESPN+
Main Card: 2:00 PM EST - ESPN+ PPV
Abu Azaitar vs. Sedriques Dumas
As many of you know who have followed me for years, I love fading ring rust and age gaps of more than 6+ years; and this one fits my billing perfectly.
I follow the UFC religiously, and even I had a hard time recalling who Azaitar, who has been in the UFC since 2018, was. That’s because, since a debut win in 2018 vs. Vitor Miranda, he’s fought just once, a 2021 loss over Marc-Andre Barriault almost three full years ago.
More known for his brother Ottman Azaitar than his pedigree in the octagon, Abu has dealt with one injury after another over the years. In fact, this fight vs. Dumas was scheduled for March before another knee injury ruled him out.
In steps Dumas, who following a splash entrance to the UFC via a first-round win in the DWCS in August lost his debut six months later to Josh Fremd via submission. Three months later, the UFC gave him his second shot, picking up a dominant decision win over Cody Brundage.
With just one win via submission for Azaitar, the ground game isn’t a route I expect Dumas to have to worry about much in this spot either. Add in edges on the ground, significant striking accuracy, and absorbed shots, and I like “The Reaper” to pick up his second UFC win.
Pick: Sedrique Dumas (-165 at BetUS) to risk 3.3 units
Mike Breeden vs. Anshul Jubli
The more I dug into this fight, the more I felt the -400 line was warranted, and the harder it was to find a route for Breeden to get this one done. Coming into this one having lost three straight, two of Breeden’s losses came in the first round, both on the feet.
That’s bad news for the 34-year-old American, as Jubli dominates the stat sheet in the striking department. One of Breeden’s biggest issues is the number of shots he takes, coming into Saturday absorbing a staggering 7.02 per minute.
Jubli joined the UFC last year via the Road to UFC, picking up a second-round win in his debut this February. Jubli inside the distance is probably a safe bet, but I’m also going to use him as the first leg of this parlay.
Tim Elliot vs. Muhammad Mokaev
This is another spot I’m leaning into the 6+ year age angle, as Mokaev comes in 14 years younger than Elliot.
But it’s not just that.
In his four fights in the UFC, Mokaev has impressed, to say the least, with three of four coming inside the distance all via submission. His striking is also on par with Elliot's, with the only disadvantage coming in striking volume per minute.
While Elliot does come in with two straight wins, his only real tests in the UFC vs. Deiveson Figueredo, Brandon Royval, and Matheus Nicolau have all been defeats. I expect another one here and have the Mokaev opening line of -650 to be closer to accurate than where he sits.
Pick: Parlay - Anshul Jubli/Muhammad Mokaev (-180 at BetUS) to risk 1.8 units
Main Card (+ Co-Main & Main Selections)
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All Fights - Picks w/ Confidence Levels & Modeled Odds
YTD Premium Record: 196-134 (59%)
Prelim & Main Card - Dashboards (not found above)
*All odds as of the day of posting.
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