Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris Betting Odds, Pick & Prediction: Zerillo’s Top Value Play for UFC 254
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Alexander Volkov of Russia.
- Heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Walt Harris will meet on the UFC 254 main card.
- Both men are looking to bounce back after recent losses. So who has the edge?
- Sean Zerillo previews the matchup, including why he's betting one side three different ways on Saturday.
Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris Odds
|Volkov odds||-190 [BET NOW]|
|Harris odds||+150 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+106/-136) [BET NOW]|
|Venue||Yas Island, Abu Dhabi|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
No. 7-ranked heavyweight Alexander Volkov is set to face No. 10-ranked heavyweight Walt Harris and both fighters are looking to shoot up the rankings with a win. The last time we saw both fighters, they were being outclassed and repeatedly taken to the ground by superior grapplers. So, which fighter has a better shot at getting back in the win column at UFC 254?
Below I break down the Volkov vs. Harris odds and matchup. You can also check out my analysis of the 11 other bouts here.
Tale of the Tape
|Record||31-8||13-8 (1 NC)|
|Avg. Fight Time||16:06||6:41|
|Weight (pounds)||250 lbs.||250 lbs.|
|Date of birth||10/24/88||6/10/83|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||4.65||2.97|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.53||3.18|
|Take Down Avg||0.72||0.32|
Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris Betting Pick
Volkov is my favorite value play of the night for reasons I will discuss below, but I also think he’s the best live target of the night. If you’re unwilling to lay close to -200 on a favorite, you might be able to get a significantly better live price on him after Round 1.
The Russian was rag dolled in his last matchup with Curtis Blaydes, taken down a heavyweight-record 14 times in five rounds. But Volkov was extremely tough through that pressure, consistently finding ways to get back to his feet before winning the final 10 minutes of the five round fight.
Unfortunately he’ll only have 15 minutes against Walt Harris, which narrows his path to victory – but he won’t have to deal with any takedowns.
Harris typically gasses out after five minutes of fury, and at age 37 his cardio is not going to suddenly improve without a drastic change in style. It’s difficult to imagine Harris having success with anything besides his current strategy, which has led to a 100% finish rate.
But Volkov is extremely durable – knocked out just twice in 39 pro fights – and if he can survive the early going against Harris, the Russian should completely take over.
Volkov keeps up a ridiculously efficient pace for a heavyweight (4.65 strikes landed per minute, 58% accuracy, +2.12 margin) and he’s good enough defensively (54%) to avoid getting caught.
He’ll also have a size advantage against Harris (three inches of reach, two inches taller) and owns significantly more fighting experience.
This fight isn’t so dissimilar from Harris’ last matchup with Alistair Overeem, though I think the Reem has more power, and a lesser chin than Volkov.
As a result, I see this fight ending in three ways: (1) Harris Round 1 Finish; (2) Volkov Round 2 or 3 Finish; (3) Volkov by decision.
I projected Volkov by decision at +134 (implied 42.7%), and you can find it in the market over +200 (implied 33.3%). Play Volkov’s decision prop to +165 (implied 37.7%) at a five percent edge.
You can play Volkov’s moneyline to -186, and look to bet him live after Round 1.
The Pick: Volkov’s Moneyline (-180, Risk 1u) | Volkov to win by Decision (+225, 0.5u) | Volkov live after Round 1