UFC 280 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev: The Prop Worth Playing in Main Event (Saturday, October 22)

UFC 280 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev: The Prop Worth Playing in Main Event (Saturday, October 22) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC lightweights Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev

  • Charles Oliveira headlines Saturday's UFC 270 event against Islam Makhachev.
  • The top 155-pounders are fighting for the vacant belt in one of the year's most anticipated fights.
  • Below, Sean Zerillo offers his best bet for the title fight.

Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev Odds

Oliveira Odds
Makhachev Odds
2.5 (+125 / -155)
Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi
4 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings.

Top lightweight contenders Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev will enter the octagon on Saturday at UFC 280 in search of UFC gold.

Oliveira – the most recent champion, who enters on an 11-fight winning streak – will seek to reclaim the belt he lost on the scales at UFC 274 in May when he missed the lightweight limit before defeating Justin Gaethje.

Makhachev, who enters on a 10-fight winning streak, is 11-1 with the promotion since debuting in 2015 and has rarely lost minutes inside the cage. He'll hope to reclaim the belt previously owned by his friend, training partner and now coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections for Saturday's matchup and utilize those factors to bet on the UFC 280 main event between "Do Bronx" and Makhachev.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time6:559:11
Weight (pounds)155 lbs.155 lbs.
Reach (inches)74"70"
Date of birth10/17/198910/27/1991
Sig Strikes Per Min3.532.27
SS Accuracy53%57%
SS Absorbed Per Min3.180.84
SS Defense52%68%
Take Down Avg2.463.41
TD Acc40%65%
TD Def57%88%
Submission Avg2.91.2

Oliveira seemingly has the tools to win this fight; the question is whether he can stay off his back, ramp up the pressure and implement his game plan.

Oliveira is one of the best and most well-rounded fighters on the UFC roster, and he's also become one of its more exciting all-action stars. Just one of his past 18 fights (against Tony Ferguson at UFC 256) went to the judges; Oliveira typically has a kill-or-be-killed style.

We've seen him knocked down multiple times – but recover each time – in recent wins against Gaethje, Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler. Oliveira has the reputation of a quitter, but he always weathers the storm.

He's exceptionally hittable in the pocket – and doesn't move his head all that healthy – so as he brings forward pressure and tries to break his opponents, he's open to counters.

Still, Makhachev seems one of the least likely opponents to take advantage of that deficiency. The Russian prefers to be out, where he can use his footwork to avoid strikes (68% defense), or in – trying to snatch a single leg or transition to takedowns from the clinch. He rarely hangs out within his opponents' striking range and misses opportunities to let his hands go.

I expect Oliveira to potentially have a significant advantage in the clinch, where he's brutalized recent opponents with knees to the body before hitting them with elbows and kicks off the break as they back away.

Oliveira has a clear advantage at boxing and kickboxing range, but he'll need to win those clinch battles to win the fight, and he has the weapons to land damage in those positions.

He may also be able to catch Makhachev with a knee as he shoots in for a takedown.

Still, I expect Makhachev to get this fight to the ground eventually. He attempts 5.2 takedowns per 15 minutes and lands those shots at a high clip (65%). I find it likelier that he struggles to pass Charles' guard than he cuts right through him as quickly as he did against Bobby Green or Dan Hooker, for example.

Oliveira is a world-class jiu-jitsu practitioner and comfortable fighting from his back, but he can't spend too much time there. Otherwise, Makhachev will score points with the judges and potentially land vicious ground and pound, which can put Oliveira to sleep.

Oliveira is also better on top than on the bottom, so he'll try to transition to submissions or attempt to sweep his opponent if he gets taken down. And there could be opportunities where the ex-champ can create a scramble and snatch Makhachev's back or neck in those exchanges.

Oliveira has become a master of chaos. He seemingly attempts to walk through his opponents and overwhelm them with early pressure to force them to make a mistake. And in that chaos, he remains calm, technical and poised to finish.

Makhachev's straightforward, singularly focused plan of attack is the foil to that chaos. He tries to consolidate position and smother his opponents, and engage in the least amount of competitive fighting possible.

That clash of temperament is what makes the matchup so intriguing. Adding a belt to the mix further complicates the matter.

Overall, this is a tremendous matchup – and an incredibly intriguing fight – but it's tough to handicap or find a strong take for betting purposes.

Oliveira vs. Makhachev Pick

I projected Islam Makhachev as a 62.2% favorite (-164 implied odds) in this fight, and I don't see value on either side of the moneyline.

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. 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. Pass.

Concerning the winning method markets, both Oliveira by KO/TKO (projected +561, listed +575 at BetRivers) and Makhachev by KO/TKO (projected +543, listed +540) are a touch too short on odds for my liking. But I would lean toward the former.

And I could say the same for Oliveira to win inside the distance (projected +209, listed +200), my official pick on the fight. Even though it's -EV compared to my projections, and all signs point to taking a pass on this matchup, I'll have something small on that prop.

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.

We're getting an outlier price here because most of the market has moved Oliveira's moneyline below +160. Still, DraftKings hasn't touched the price or the corresponding props yet.

The Pick: Charles Oliveira wins by Finish (+200 at DraftKings, 0.25u), bet to +200

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