We are back for another big UFC pay-per-view card this weekend. As always, The AllStar is here to guide you the right way when it comes to your betting strategy. Below, check out the UFC 266 pay-per-view breakdown. We go through the five fights on the main card and provide our expert analysis on the bouts.
UFC Featherweight Title Fight
Alexander Volkanovski to win 1.6
Volkanovski is the reigning and defending featherweight champion. He has won 19 straight fights overall in his MMA career including nine in a row in the UFC. Volkanovski has looked phenomenal during his UFC career with wins over Max Holloway and Jose Aldo among his crowning achievements. He is one of the best in the world at any weight class right now.
Brian Ortega to win 2.47
Ortega is a longtime featherweight contender who lost to Max Holloway in his bid for the belt back in 2018. After taking two years off, he returned in 2020 and defeated The Korean Zombie via dominant decision. Ortega has always had slick submission skills. Now that he has upped his striking, he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC featherweight division.
Totals (4.5 Rounds) Over to win 1.75 Under to win 2.17
Volkanovski has gone to decision in his last couple of fights. While Ortega has been going long in his fights lately as well. We would favor the over slightly just based on how these two match up. Particularly if the fight takes place on the feet. That being said, Ortega is very dangerous with submissions.
Prediction: Volkanovski is a champion and it’s always hard to pick against the champs, but Ortega presents a lot of different challenges that he hasn’t dealt with. Namely, one of the nastiest submission games in the UFC, not to mention improved striking. With all the different weapons that he has now, we would lean a little bit towards Ortega as the underdog here.
UFC Women’s Flyweight Title Fight
Valentina Shevchenko to win 1.06
Shevchenko is the reigning and defending UFC women’s flyweight champion. She is coming off of a dominant win over Jessica Andrade in her last fight. Shevchenko is always dangerous everywhere the fight goes. She has knockout skills on the feet and submission skills on the ground. She should hold the advantage over Murphy everywhere this fight takes place.
Lauren Murphy to win 9.38
Murphy is a long-time contender in the UFC at several weight classes. She has looked great as of late at 125lbs, having won 5 straight fights in the weight class. Her last win came over Joanne Calderwood at UFC 263. The victory was enough for her to finally earn her first UFC title shot. That being said, she appears to be in over her head here against a much more dangerous fighter.
Totals (2.5 Rounds) Over to win 1.91 Under to win 1.97
Murphy has never been finished in her MMA career, but Shevchenko is a different animal with her striking and submission skills. Having said that, we think Murphy can survive a few rounds just with her durability. Therefore, we would lean a little bit towards the over, but the under is very possible. We don’t really see value either way on this line which is why it is basically at Pick ‘em odds.
Prediction: Shevchenko is going to win this fight, the only question is how she will do it. Either way, she wins the fight, but her odds make it difficult to find value. Instead, look for props.
Welterweight bout: Nick Diaz to win 2.02 vs. Robbie Lawler to win 1.88
In a battle between two welterweight legends, Diaz returns after a six-year layoff taking on former UFC welterweight champion Lawler. Diaz is a huge fan favorite. His return to the Octagon is highly anticipated as he takes on Lawler. A rematch 14 years in the making. The two first met back at UFC 47 in 2004 where Diaz scored a knockout win over Lawler. The two have had amazing careers since then. Diaz fought for the welterweight championship against Georges St-Pierre, and Lawler was the former champion at one point himself. With Diaz having not fought in over five years, it’s hard to see how he will fare in his return. If he still has his trademark boxing, chin, and cardio, he could win this fight. As for Lawler, he has lost four straight fights and just hasn’t looked the same. We think Diaz has a chance to win this fight and we would favor him to win this fight as the slight underdog.
Heavyweight bout: Curtis Blaydes 1.32 vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik 3.66
Two top-10 heavyweights go at it when Blaydes and Rozenstruik throw down in what could be a banger. Blaydes has been one of the top heavyweights in the UFC for years. He has relied primarily on his takedowns and ground and pound to win his fights. However, he has started to fall in love with his striking a little more in his last few fights. That resulted in a knockout win over Junior dos Santos, but it was followed up with a knockout loss to Derrick Lewis. Blaydes is a fantastic wrestler, but you have to question his chin. As for Rozensturik, he is coming off of a KO win over Augusto Sakai. His only losses in the UFC are to the champions Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane. He has basically knocked out everyone else he has faced inside the Octagon. We think there’s some value on Rozenstruik here as an underdog to potentially KO Blaydes.
Women’s flyweight bout: Jessica Andrade to win 1.39 vs. Cynthia Calvillo to win 3.18
Kicking off the main card is Jessica Andrade vs. Cynthia Calvillo, two of the top-10 ranked fighters in the UFC women’s flyweight division. Andrade is a former strawweight champion. Since moving up to flyweight she is 1-1 with a win over Katlyn Chookagian and a loss to Valentina Shevchenko. As for Calvillo, she is coming off of a loss to Chookagian in her last fight. However, she has proven herself to be a tough out over the years. Nevertheless, going up against the dangerous striking of Andrade could spell trouble if Calvillo can’t get her down. Andrade is a former champ for a reason. She has good striking and wrestling skills that should be able to nullify what Calvillo wants to do. Look for Andrade to use her striking to piece up Calvillo on the feet and win a decision. This should be a fun fight but Andrade is the better and more proven fighter here.