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UFC 280 Odds, Picks & Model Predictions: Betting Analysis & Previews for Each of Saturday Afternoon’s 12 Fights

UFC 280 Odds, Picks & Model Predictions: Betting Analysis & Previews for Each of Saturday Afternoon’s 12 Fights article feature image
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Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling

  • Two title fights headline Saturday's UFC 280 fight card, which starts at 10:30 a.m. ET.
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down all 12 bouts, including the headlining lightweight and bantamweight title bouts.
  • Check out his best bets, including props and live-betting opportunities, below.

The UFC returns to Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday with a 12-fight card for UFC 280, highlighted by a pair of title bouts in the men’s lightweight and bantamweight divisions.

The preliminary card begins at 10:30 a.m. ET (7:30 a.m. ET) on ESPN+ and ESPNNews. The five-fight main card will commence at 2 p.m. ET via ESPN+ pay-per-view.

After examining all betting options, a typical UFC card can offer a substantial amount of actionable value.

So, in addition to moneylines and over/unders, I’ll break down how I plan to bet every fight on the card, including exact winning methods, winning round props, and whether or not the match will go to a decision or finish inside the distance.

Fight times are approximate and subject to change. All times ET.

Click on a fight to skip ahead
12. Karol Rosa vs. Lina Lansberg
10:30 a.m. ET
11. Muhammad Mokaev vs. Malcolm Gordon
11 a.m. ET
10. Armen Petrosyan vs. A.J. Dobson
11:30 a.m. ET
9. Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev
noon ET
8. Nikita Krylov vs. Volkan Oezdemir
12:30 p.m. ET
7. Makhmud Muradov vs. Caio Borralho
1 p.m. ET
6. Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady
1:30 p.m. ET
5. Katlyn Chookagian vs. Manon Fiorot
2 p.m. ET
4. Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot
2:30 p.m. ET
3. Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley
3 p.m. ET
2. Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw
3:30 p.m. ET
1. Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev
4 p.m. ET

UFC 280 Projected Odds

Below, you can find my fair odds moneyline projection for each of Saturday’s x bouts. In the next section, you’ll discover forecasts for those fights to finish inside the distance or for each fighter to win by decision, knockout, or submission.

Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings.

UFC 280 Prop Projections

In addition to creating a crowdsourced projection for moneyline plays, I also collect data on each fighter to win by decision, knockout, or submission, enabling us to determine fair odds for each fight to go the distance or for each fighter to win inside of the distance.

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UFC 280 Odds

Karol Rosa vs. Lina Lansberg

Women’s Bantamweight Bout Odds
Karol Rosa Odds -330
Lina Lansberg Odds +275
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-280 / +220)

Crowdsourced Projections: Karol Rosa (80.7%)

Rosa seemingly ticks every box in this matchup. She’s 12 years younger but has more fight experience and a two-inch reach advantage.

She lands significantly more volume than Lansberg and is the far more efficient striker (+2.20 to -1.15 strike differential; 105 to 100 combined accuracy and defense). And she has a grappling advantage too.

Lansberg is 40 and winless since 2019. Rosa is 27 – in her prime – and looking to bounce back from her first UFC loss – to Sara McMann in May, when she was outwrestled for the first 10 minutes of the fight.

It’s doubtful that Lansberg, a muay Thai specialist, can execute a grappling-heavy gameplan, and I expect Rosa to outwork her on the feet for the duration.

I would bet Rosa here, up to about -369 (78.7% implied) at a 2% edge compared to my number. I also see value in her decision prop (-118 at BetRivers), but a late-round, attritional-based stoppage is a significant possibility, given the specifics of the fight.

An SGP with Rosa and the Over 1.5 Rounds (-180 at DraftKings) is a tempting discount. Still, I just laid the favorite straight up.

Bets

  • Karol Rosa (-330, 0.5u at Draftkings), bet to -369


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Muhammad Mokaev vs. Malcolm Gordon

Flyweight Bout Odds
Muhammad Mokaev Odds -1250
Malcolm Gordon Odds +800
Over/under rounds 1.5 (+105 / -135)

Crowdsourced Projections: Muhammad Mokaev (92.9%)

Mokaev is an immensely talented 22-year-old prospect who will continue to improve his game while he also physically matures in his mid-to-late 20s.

He is a prohibitive betting favorite on Saturday, and it’s hard not to view this as an opportunity for Mokaev to collect a highlight-reel finish against a chinny opponent in Gordon.

Gordon has five knockout losses on his record and was clubbed and subbed in his UFC debut against Amir Albazi. He doesn’t react well to punches and tends to shell when taking damage.

Mokaev is a grinding wrestler who can keep a pace and wear on his opponents, but he should have an opportunity to find Gordon’s chin. And even if he doesn’t land, he is still the better fighter in all areas of MMA.

I see little value in Mokaev’s KO/TKO prop (projected +259, listed +265 at BetRivers) and his inside-the-distance prop (projected -229, listed -225 at DraftKings).

Alternatively, you can play an SGP at DraftKings with Mokaev and the Under 2.5 Rounds at -180.

Bets

  • SGP (-180, 0.25u at DrafKings): Muhammad Mokaev and Under 2.5 Rounds

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Armen Petrosyan vs. A.J. Dobson

Middleweight Bout Odds
Armen Petrosyan Odds -205
A.J. Dobson Odds +175
Over/under rounds 2.5 (+150 / -185)

Crowdsourced Projections: Armen Petrosyan (66.5%) 

Petrosyan is taking a step down – and Dobson a step up – relative to their previous competition.

Both fighters are Contender Series veterans from 2021. Jacob Malkoun outwrestled Dobson in his UFC debut. He’s a raw athlete and appears to have limited cardio. Still, he is very dangerous early in fights. And he owns a five-inch reach advantage in this matchup.

Petrosyan is also raw as an MMA fighter but appears more well-rounded. He won a highly contested decision against Gregory Rodrigues – a victory that has aged well – and showed solid takedown defense and defensive grappling in that fight, despite his subsequent loss against Caio Borralho.

Dobson may have a higher ceiling down the line, but Petrosyan is the superior fighter right now. And he certainly has the better gas tank and sustainability over 15 minutes.

While I agree with Petrosyan’s favoritism, you may find a better live price on him after Round 1 – potentially at plus money.

Dobson’s success should be frontloaded, and I expect Petrosyan to stick around and turn the tables the longer the fight goes.

You could hit a pass on this fight, but I like the SGP with Petrosyan and the Over 1.5 Rounds at +165, scooping up all of his decision and late finish equity.

Otherwise, I would just look for a live position on the favorite.

Bets

  • SGP (+165, 0.25u at DraftKings): Armen Petrosyan and Over 1.5 Rounds
  • Armen Petrosyan Live after Round 1

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Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev

Welterweight Bout Odds
Abubakar Nurmagomedov Odds -165
Gadzhi Omargadzhiev Odds +140
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-195 / +160)

Crowdsourced Projections: Abubakar Nurmagomedov (60.4%)

I’m not exceptionally high on either of these two Russian fighters. Omargadzhiev is moving down from middleweight after losing his UFC debut to Caio Borralho – the first loss of his career – and he’ll be the taller fighter (6’1″ vs. 5’11”) but will cede an inch of reach.

Nurmagomedov – Khabib’s cousin – is typically overvalued on name recognition.

Both men have been underwhelming under the UFC banner, but I lean toward the underdog because he is four years younger and seemingly more durable. Still, cutting 15 extra pounds could take a toll on his chin.

Abubakar has some wonky submission losses on his record, and Gadzhi tends to hunt for finishes.

As a result, I project value on the total (projected -194 to go the distance, listed -165 at DraftKings) and Omargadzhiev by decision (projected +321, listed +300 at BETRivers); I’m not thrilled about either bet.

I’ll play the Goes to Decision or GTD prop at -165, but I’ll keep the stake modest.

Bets

  • Fight goes to Decision (-165, 0.25u at DraftKings), bet to -178


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Nikita Krylov vs. Volkan Oezdemir

Light Heavyweight Bout Odds
Nikita Krylov Odds -175
Volkan Oezdemir Odds +150
Over/under rounds 2.5 (+140 / -175)

Crowdsourced Projections: Nikita Krylov (63.9%)

Krylov has looked sharper in his recent fights than 33-year-old Oezdemir, who looked a step slow in his win over Paul Craig.

The Ukrainian is the larger and more versatile fighter. He should be busier with punches and kicks and likelier to shoot for takedowns. Oezdemir has gotten wobbled more easily in recent fights, so I suspect Krylov may find a chance to finish on the feet against a fighter who is incredibly difficult to take down.

Five years ago today, Nikita Krylov slept Ed Herman with a head kick

pic.twitter.com/H1X6pt7S1E

— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) July 30, 2021

However, Krylov is also prone to defensive mistakes. And Oezdemir may have opportunities to find a finish of his own.

I project value both on Krylov by KO/TKO (projected +248, listed +420 at FanDuel) and inside the distance (projected +141, listed +150 at BetMGM).

And I would also bet on Krylov’s moneyline at -163 or better.

Bets

  • Nikita Krylov wins by KO/TKO (+420, 0.1u at FanDuel), bet to +275
  • Nikita Krylov wins Inside the Distance (+150, 0.25u at BetMGM), bet to +150

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Makhmud Muradov vs. Caio Borralho

Middleweight Bout Odds
Makhmud Muradov Odds +170
Caio Borralho Odds -200
Over/under rounds 1.5 (-210 / +170)

Crowdsourced Projections: Caio Borralho (67.6%)

Borralho is one of the better prospects to come from the Contender Series. He offers a dominant grappling skillset with relentless pressure. And he rarely puts himself in danger.

He should have a clear grappling advantage against Muradov, and I expect him to have success landing takedowns. Borralho keeps an exhausting pace, and he should wear on and eventually finish Muradov in the second half of the fight, as Muradov eventually tires.

If Muradov can keep the fight standing, he should have a clear striking advantage. He has tighter hands and slicker combinations, and he could pick apart Borralho in extended exchanges. Still, Borralho rarely stays at striking range with his opponents; he is too adept at wrapping them up, taking them to the mat, and holding them there.

I project value in Borralho by submission (projected +322, listed +450 at BetRivers) and will sprinkle that bet. Ideally, I’d get his moneyline at -190 or better.

I’m OK with a play at -200, though, and will add more either pre-fight or live at a better price.

Bets

  • Caio Borralho (-200, 0.25u at Caesars), bet to -200
  • Caio Borralho wins by Submission (+450, 0.1u at BetRivers), bet to +361
  • Caio Borralho Live after Round 1


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Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady

Welterweight Bout Odds
Belal Muhammad Odds +125
Sean Brady Odds -145
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-280 / +220)

Crowdsourced Projections: Sean Brady (53.6%)

Saturday’s featured prelim could be a sneaky contender for fight of the night honors.

The betting markets consistently underrate Belal Muhammad. He offers excellent pace, pressure and durability, and he has shown improved striking to complement his blanketing wrestling.

Muhammad is much more of a point fighter than a finisher – as evidenced by a 16-2 career record on the scorecards. Still, he’s good at swaying the judges with activity.

Brady should have the more significant moments in the fight, but he also has holes in his game. I didn’t like his striking defense or reactions in his closely contested win against Michael Chiesa.

I expect Muhammad to have the striking and cardio advantages, but I do have to give Brady the edge in both wrestling and grappling. I’m just not sure how consistently Brady will be able to take his opponent to the mat – likely the deciding point for the entire fight.

I’m also not sure Muhammad will have as much success in the larger cage as he recently had at the UFC Apex – with career-best performances against “Wonderboy Thompson” and Vicente Luque.

Muhammad will have to cover more lateral distance to cut off the cage, which could leave him chasing the explosive Brady around the octagon.

You could take a piece of Belal’s moneyline at +125 or better. I initially opted for his decision prop (+185 at BetRivers), which I would bet to +170. I may add on some moneyline, too, depending on where the price goes.

Bets

  • Belal Muhammad wins by Decision (+185, 0.25u at BetRivers), bet to +170

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Katlyn Chookagian vs. Manon Fiorot

Women’s Flyweight Bout Odds
Katlyn Chookagian Odds +180
Manon Fiorot Odds -210
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-320 / +250)

Crowdsourced Projections: Manon Fiorot (64.7%)

Chookagian has all the tools to keep this fight competitive and potentially win it. She’s a solid defensive grappler and a mobile striker with a height and reach advantage over her opponent.

Like Muhammad, Chookagian has a point-fighting style (15-2 on the scorecards in her career). She tends to get into close decisions, but she is both highly active and defensively sound. 

Fiorot’s metrics are more efficient but have come against a far inferior level of competition. Chookagian is firmly entrenched as a top of rankings gatekeeper. She’s the toughest test of Fiorot’s career.

Fiorot is the stronger fighter and may have the faster hands, but Chookagian excels at creating awkward angles and capitalizing on timing.

I don’t see value on either side of the moneyline or total, though I would take a stab on Chookagian at +200 or better. But I am interested in one winning method prop.

Chookagian’s upside in this fight is likely limited to a competitive 29-28 decision in her favor, but the price is still ripe.

Bet Chookagian to win by decision (+280 at BetRivers, projected +233) down to +257.

Bets

  • Katlyn Chookagian wins by Decision (+280, 0.25u at BetRivers), bet to +257


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Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot

Lightweight Bout Odds
Beneil Dariush Odds +185
Mateusz Gamrot Odds -215
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-180 / +145)

Crowdsourced Projections: Mateusz Gamrot (66%)

This may be my favorite fight on Saturday’s card, with the winner potentially set up as the No. 1 contender to face the winner of Makhachev and Oliveira.

Dariush was supposed to fight Makhacev in February but pulled out with an ankle injury and now enters the octagon eight months later as a decent underdog to Gamrot, who scraped by with a close decision – as a similarly priced underdog – over Arman Tsarukyan in June.

Still, Gamrot’s run, including his two-division champion status in KSW, is as impressive to me as Dariush’s body of work. And Gamrot is slightly younger, significantly faster, and the superior athlete.

I also view him as the far more durable fighter. Dariush has always been a bit chinny, and that issue seems likely to crop up again before the end of his career.

Additionally, Gamrot has as good of cardio as any fighter on the roster. Unfortunately, that ability and his style are better suited for five-round fights, which makes it difficult to bet his moneyline pre-fight when you may find a better live price after Round 1.

I do like Gamrot’s violence props here. And I show value in his knockout, submission, and inside-the-distance (projected +203) props across the market. Bet Gamrot’s ITD props down to +223.

And I would consider betting his moneyline straight up at -178 or better.

You can include that in a parlay up to -200 alongside a fighter from the next matchup.

Bets

  • Mateusz Gamrot wins Inside the Distance (+250, 0.5u at BetMGM), bet to +223
  • Parlay (+110, 0.5u at DraftKings): Mateusz Gamrot (-190) and Petr Yan (-265)
  • Mateusz Gamrot Live after Round 1

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Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley

Bantamweight Bout Odds
Petr Yan Odds -275
Sean O’Malley Odds +230
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-195 / +160)

Crowdsourced Projections: Petr Yan (73%)

My betting approach for Yan-O’Malley is similar to my approach for Gamrot-Dariush, which is partially why I parlayed the favorites together.

Although I like both Gamrot and Yan to win, I think you may get a better price on either or both favorites after a competitive Round 1 – before they start to take over.

Both Gamrot and Yan are slow starters to begin with, and now each is coming off of a five-round fight, so their tempo in the early stages may be underwhelming.

More specific to this matchup, Yan is the superior fighter in all aspects of MMA, but O’Malley has pronounced advantages in height (4 inches) and reach (five inches). He may be able to pull ahead early on volume.

Still, O’Malley hasn’t dealt well with pressure fighters in the past, and once Yan makes his reads, flips the switch, and starts moving forward, O’Malley could be running to avoid trouble. He hasn’t fought anyone near this level of competition and may struggle to make the proper adjustments.

O’Malley’s power has more of a cumulative effect than a single-shot impact, and when opponents are willing to walk through his reach and get inside of his range, they tend to find success.

Yan should be applying significant pressure by the second round, and I expect him to brutalize O’Malley inside the pocket with his boxing.

There’s also O’Malley’s history of leg injuries and Yan’s likely grappling upside to factor in.

I expect to see a competitive fight for about one round before Yan takes over to a significant degree, and I expect him to find opportunities to finish both on the feet and the mat if he takes it there.

Pre-fight, I would bet Yan’s moneyline straight at -245 or better. I’ll look for it live at a better price after Round 1, and I’m fine sticking it in a small parlay up to -265.

Like Gamrot, I certainly prefer the violence props here. I see value in Yan’s knockout line at +243 and his submission line at +1270 (+360 and +2000 at FanDuel).

I prefer Yan’s inside-the-distance prop (+320) at the same book. And I would bet that down to +190.

Bets

  • Petr Yan wins Inside the Distance (+320, 0.5u at Fanduel), bet to +190
  • Petr Yan Live after Round 1


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Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw

Bantamweight Bout Odds
Aljamain Sterling Odds -175
T.J. Dillashaw Odds +150
Over/under rounds 4.5 (-195 / +160)

Crowdsourced Projections: Aljamain Sterling (64.3%)

Prime Dillashaw would give Aljamain Sterling some problems in a five-round fight, but I’m not sure that the 36-year-old bantamweight – with as many knee surgeries as fights in the past three years – is anywhere near his prime, when he captured bantamweight gold twice.

Sterling is both the taller and longer fighter (four-inch reach advantage), and I expect him to use his size and reach to pressure Dillashaw backward. Dillashaw is far less effective of a hammer than a nail, but he is the bigger hitter between these two bantamweights.

Sterling has superior speed and footwork and maintains constant output to provide solid optics for judges.

The striking should be competitive. Sterling’s weapons are more active and diverse, but Dillashaw’s power may play better cageside.

Sterling needs to mix in takedowns with his striking. And although Dillashaw is the more credentialed wrestler, I’d say that Sterling may be the superior MMA grappler, with his seemingly awkward or funky style disguising a beautiful blend of mastery across disciplines.

I doubt Sterling can take down Dillashaw and keep him down without securing a body triangle. Still, Aljo manages to get that position in both his fights, and if he does get to the same positions on Dillashaw that he got to against Yan, he could choke out the challenger to retain his title.

Dillashaw seemingly has the skill set to win this fight. He’s a good counter-wrestler, can keep up with Sterling on volume, and exceed him on power. Still, the athleticism gap may prove the most significant difference in the matchup.

Dillashaw’s upside is probably a close decision win, while Sterling retains more of the finish equity (via submission) and the ability to secure dominant 10-8 rounds with control.

Bet Sterling to retain the mantamweight belt, up to -165.

I would need extra juice on his decision prop (projected +139, listed +145) or submission prop (projected +522, listed +500) to delve into the winning method market.

Bets

  • Aljamain Sterling (-165, 0.5u at MGM), bet to -165

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Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev

Lightweight Bout Odds
Charles Oliveira Odds +160
Islam Makhachev Odds -190
Over/under rounds 2.5 (+125 / -155)

Crowdsourced Projections: Islam Makhachev (62.2%)

Check out my full fight preview for additional information on Saturday’s main event.

In short, this is a tremendous fight but a difficult one to bet.

I initially leaned toward the Oliveira side, but considering his moneyline price dropped down from as high as +210 in July to +160 by Friday means all the value is likely gone from that market. I would want +179 (35.8% implied) or better to back “Do Bronx” at a 2% edge compared to my projection.

And I don’t see value concerning the total, despite an initial lean to the under. 90% of Oliveira’s career fights, including 17 of his past 18 and 10 of the 11 wins on his current streak, have ended inside the distance.

I projected this lightweight fight to end inside the distance 76% of the time (-311 implied) compared to a divisional average of 51%. Even at that steep projection, the market points me toward the goes-the-distance prop (+320 at FanDuel) or the Over on Rounds.

Oliveira to win inside the distance (projected +209, listed +200) is my official pick on the fight. Even though it’s -EV compared to my projections, all signs point to taking a pass on this matchup.

I expect Makhachev to do more of the minute-winning, but if Oliveira has enough success to win minutes toward a decision, he should have chances to find a finish first, as he does in all his fights.

Bets

  • Charles Oliveira wins Inside the Distance (+200, 0.25u at Draftkings), bet to +200

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Zerillo’s UFC 280 Bets

Distance or Decision Props and Overs

  • Nurmagomedov/Omargadzhiev, Fight goes to Decision (-165, 0.25u at Draftkings), bet to -178
  • Belal Muhammad wins by Decision (+185, 0.25u at Rivers), bet to +170
  • Katlyn Chookagian wins by Decision (+280, 0.25u at BetRivers), bet to +257

Inside the Distance Props and Unders

  • Nikita Krylov wins by KO/TKO (+420, 0.1u at Fanduel), bet to +275
  • Nikita Krylov wins Inside the Distance (+150, 0.25u at MGM), bet to +150
  • Caio Borralho wins by Submission (+450, 0.1u at BetRivers), bet to +361
  • Mateusz Gamrot wins Inside the Distance (+250, 0.5u at MGM), bet to +223
  • Petr Yan wins Inside the Distance (+320, 0.5u at Fanduel), bet to +190
  • Charles Oliveira wins Inside the Distance (+200, 0.25u at Draftkings), bet to +200

Moneylines

  • Karol Rosa (-330, 0.5u at Draftkings), bet to -369
  • Caio Borralho (-200, 0.25u at Caesars), bet to -200
  • Aljamain Sterling (-165, 0.5u at MGM), bet to -165

Parlays

  • Parlay (+110, 0.5u at Draftkings): Mateusz Gamrot (-190) and Petr Yan (-265)
  • SGP (+165, 0.25u at Draftkings): Armen Petrosyan and Over 1.5 Rounds
  • SGP (-180, 0.25u at Drafkings): Muhammad Mokaev and Under 2.5 Rounds

Live Betting Notes

  • Armen Petrosyan Live after Round 1
  • Caio Borralho Live after Round 1
  • Mateusz Gamrot Live after Round 1
  • Petr Yan Live after Round 1
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