Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway UFC 276 Odds, Pick & Prediction: Champ to Make it 3-0 Against Ex-Titleholder? (Saturday, July 2)
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski.
- One of the best series in MMA featherweight history continues in Saturday's UFC 276 co-headliner.
- Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will once again meet former titleholder Max Holloway.
- Billy Ward shares his best bet below.
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-500 / +330)|
|Time||Approx. 11:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings.|
One of the best series in MMA featherweight history continues in Saturday’s UFC 276 co-headliner. That’s where featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will once again meet former titleholder Max Holloway.
Volkanovski has a 2-0 lead over “Blessed” following a unanimous-decision win in 2019 and a narrow split call in 2020. However, after Holloway rebounded with wins over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez to reclaim top-contender status, he has earned a third crack at Volkanovski’s belt.
Can Volkanovski make it 3-0 against his foe, or will Holloway reclaim the belt he held from 2017-2019?
Let’s dig in. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my betting projections for the entire slate here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||16:06||15:26|
|Weight (pounds)||145 lbs.||145 lbs.|
|Date of Birth||9/29/1988||12/4/91|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||6.63||7.38|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||3.32||4.69|
|Take Down Avg.||1.95||0.31|
With 50 minutes of cage time already, there aren’t a ton of unanswered questions about how these two will approach their matchup.
Holloway will look to stay on the outside, using his length and diverse attacks to damage Volkanovski.
The champion generally also likes to keep things standing. However, he had more success in their last matchup when he mixed in some takedown attempts.
Volkanovski was officially credited as 3/9 on takedowns in their last fight, with all of the attempts coming in Round 3 or later. Having rewatched the fight, many of those attempts were more intended to keep Holloway off-balance than actually bring him to the mat.
Volkanovski very clearly lost the first two rounds last time, so mixing in some grappling was a wise adjustment. He wasn’t able to keep Holloway down for long, but he did better in the striking department when Max was worried about takedowns.
The big question here is how soon Volkanovski goes back to that. Given his track record of extremely solid game plans, I’m anticipating sooner rather than later.
Provided he has the gas tank for it, keeping Holloway aware of the takedown threat will pay dividends in the striking, even if he doesn’t land the takedowns or keep Holloway grounded.
His ability to keep Holloway down is another factor here. Holloway would pretty clearly (in my eyes) win a straight kickboxing match between the two, so any time spent wrestling is an edge for Volkanovski.
Holloway was able to scramble back to his feet immediately following the first two takedowns, but Volkanovski had established solid position on the final one before Holloway was saved by the bell.
The other edge for Volkanovski – particularly over five rounds – is his use of leg kicks to wear down his opponents. He throws roughly three times as many as Holloway.
With a fight that bookmakers see as almost certain to go the distance, those can pay dividends later in fights.
Volkanovski won Rounds 3-5 on two scorecards, and Rounds 3 and 4 on the other in their last meeting.
Volkanovski vs. Holloway Pick
The odds feel a bit off here, with a razor-thin split decision for Volkanovski last time. Had the fight been scored as a whole Pride-style, Holloway would’ve easily won. He took rounds 1 and 2 by a fairly wide margin, with Volkanovski eking out the last three.
You wouldn’t expect Volkanovski to be a -200 or so favorite given the above, but that’s the current line. I’m still finding it hard to pull the trigger on former champ Holloway, though.
Volkanovski (or his team) might have the best fight IQ in the game right now, and I give him the edge in making adjustments heading into this one. While he’s the older fighter, he turned pro four years after Holloway and has slightly fewer fights.
That means he’s the likelier of the pair to still be improving, and he has also certainly taken less damage in his career than Holloway.
I have no interest in laying the -200 or so on his moneyline, however. Given how unlikely it is he puts away Holloway – who’s never been knocked out – early, my favorite way to play this one is with a parlay.
I toyed around with a few combinations of Volkanovski and time props, but I’ve settled on the over 2.5 being the best option. When paired with Volkanovski’s moneyline at DraftKings, the odds are -125.
I see some appeal to the over 3.5, 4.5 or Volkanovski by decision plays, as well. However, I’m happy to pay the extra juice to be covered in the case of an attritional stoppage.
I’ll also be looking to play Volkanovski live here, provided he gets to even money or better in the first two rounds. His leg kicks, grappling and cardio are all ideal to take over fights late.
The Pick: Volkanovski and Over 2.5 Rounds -125 (DraftKings) | Volkanovski live