UFC 284 Prop Bets: MMA Prop Squad Picks Include +550 Play for Main Event, 20-1 Undercard Long Shot (Saturday, February 11)

UFC 284 Prop Bets: MMA Prop Squad Picks Include +550 Play for Main Event, 20-1 Undercard Long Shot (Saturday, February 11) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev of Russia

  • The MMA Prop Squad is back for Saturday night's UFC 284 pay-per-view event in Australia.
  • We have nine picks – with odds up to +2000 – for the 13-fight card, beginning at 6 p.m. ET.
  • Check below for all their picks as the Squad looks to improve on its 21.8% ROI to date.

Welcome to the latest edition of MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of UFC 284 prop bets with oversized odds for Saturday's event in Australia.

Each Prop Squad installment features a handful of picks from our squad of prop-betting enthusiasts, who have tallied a whopping 21.8% ROI to date.

This week marks the return of Billy Ward, Clint MacLean, Dann Stupp, Sean Zerillo, Dan Tom, Liam Heslin, Bryan Fonseca and Tony Sartori, who have produced a super-sized edition of this feature with eight different UFC 284 props.

Check out their picks for Saturday's event (6 p.m. ET, ESPN+) below.

As with all betting, always wager within your means. That guidance is especially important when dealing with prop bets. Although the props often offer tantalizing odds, they also cash far less frequently than standard bet types. And always shop around for the best price.

Billy Ward: Elves Brenner by Submission (+1100)

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 5:55 p.m. ET

Elves Brenner is the biggest underdog at UFC 284, checking in as high as +450 on the moneyline.

I’m not so sure he should be.

First, he trains at Chute Boxe, home of former champion Charles Oliveira among other luminaries. If nothing else, fighters from that camp are almost always extremely tough, aggressive and well-conditioned.

Brenner is fighting Zubaira Tukhugov, who’s 2-2-1 in his last five UFC bouts. A combination of injuries and botched weight cuts have kept him out of action since 2021, and fading long layoffs is generally profitable.

Tukhugov is a grappler from Russia, but that could be affording him more respect here than he deserves. The betting public tends to lump those fighters together with the Kahbibs and Makhachevs of the world, but Tukhugov is nowhere near that level.

Tukhugov has just a 43% takedown rate in the UFC, despite fighting lower-level competition.

His grappling also makes for a bad stylistic matchup with Brenner, who has 11 submissions in his 13 professional wins.

While he’s unlikely to take Tukhugov down, it’s somewhat plausible that Tukhugov forces the grappling and finds himself stuck in a submission. I’m considering a sprinkle on Brenner’s moneyline as well, but the +1100 odds of a submission are too good to pass up.

Pick: Elves Brenner by Submission (+1100)

Clint MacLean: Modestas Bukauskas by Split/Majority Decision (+2000)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Die Hard MMA Podcast

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 p.m. ET

I have been waiting to fade Tyson Pedro for some time. In fact, I believe I lost money betting on Ike Villanueva against him when they fought in April 2022.

Prior to his injury, Pedro went 1-3 with his only win coming over Saparbek Safarov. Now that Pedro took four years away from competition to rehab his body, he has returned looking like an absolute monster against non-UFC talent – and I still tried to bet against him, if that tells you anything.

Pedro’s style has not changed in the last four years, and I believe that his issues may pop back up again when he faces another decent UFC-level fighter.

Modestas Bukauskas is a big 205er with a very range-control-oriented style. He likes to play the distance and use his lateral movement to walk opponents into big shots. He has a good jab and plays the matador, which I think plays very well against the forward-moving and aggressive style of Pedro.

Pedro has shown off a solid chin, and Bukauskas does not have great volume, so I think this fight gets extended. If it goes to the cards, I believe the judges are going to have a hard time deciding if the control and effective striking of Modestas Bukauskas, or if the pressure and aggression of Pedro deserves the nod.

That's right: I'm calling for the greasy split decision! But I believe that Bukauskas will be the one to get his hand raised.

Bukauskas by decision can be had for +550, but I'm going for the whole bag and betting on a split or majority decision at 20-1 odds.

The Pick: Modestas Bukauskas to Win by Split or Majority Decision (+2000 at DraftKings)

Dann Stupp: Alonzo Menifield in Round 1 (+500)

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:55 p.m. ET

Although it doesn't dictate my betting strategy from week to week, it's always a nice bonus when I feel like I got my money's worth even if my bet happened to lose. And when it comes to betting on light heavyweight Alonzo Menifield, I'm undoubtedly going to get some entertainment value – for five minutes, anyway.

With a shorter height and longer reach, Menifield packs a ton of muscle and power on his fire-hydrant-like frame. And he's willing to unload his limited gas tank to make it a short night in the cage.

Menifield is coming off back-to-back first-round knockout wins. In fact, in 13 career victories, he's won via first-round stoppage 10 times (plus another two in the first minute of the second round). That propensity for first-round stoppages hasn't slowed in the UFC octagon, where five of his six UFC victories have come in the opening frame.

Menifield, of course, is the underdog (+150) heading into his main-card opener with Jimmy Crute. A hard-hitting and well-rounded Australian, Crute is coming off back-to-back first-round losses (to Anthony Smith and now-champ Jamahal Hill), and all three of his career defeats have come in the first round.

One reason Menifield is so dangerous in the first round is that he typically forces opponents to violently engage or frantically retreat. They're forced into a kill-or-be-killed type of bout. It can create instant fireworks. But if opponents can survive the opening frame (no easy feat), Menifield typically slows down and loses any edge.

However, with sportsbooks offering a healthy 4-1 payoff for a Menifield first-round win – and with it being his most likely path to victory – I'm willing to bite. And worst-case? I probably get a wild round of entertainment to watch either way.

BetRivers is actually offering the bet at +500, and it covers Menifield via KO or submission. While the KO is his most likely path to victory, Menifield could possibly muscle his way to a submission win, especially against a wounded foe. I'd skip the "via first-round KO" offer, take the straight Round 1 prop, and I'd be OK betting it down to +400.

The Pick: Alonzo Menifield to win in Round 1 (+500 at BetRivers)

Sean Zerillo:  Randy Brown ITD (+700) | by Submission (+1300)

Senior Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 10:55 p.m. ET

Local product Jack Della Maddalena hopes to delight fans and deliver a fourth consecutive first-round knockout on Saturday.

The Contender Series alum has shown incredibly slick boxing and timing with underrated power at the UFC level.

Still, he'll receive a significant step up in competition on Saturday against Randy "Rudeboy" Brown, who will own significant advantages in height (four inches) and reach (five inches) and all of the grappling upside.

While Brown doesn't always proactively grapple (two takedown attempts per 15 minutes, 33% accuracy) – since he's such a smooth and entertaining striker – his easiest path to victory in this fight may be to hold Maddalena up against the fence in the clinch or try to take him down and control him for multiple rounds.

Brown may look like a favorite if he grapples from the outset, and I certainly see value in his submission prop (listed +1300 at FanDuel, projected +912) or inside the distance prop (projected +506, listed +700 at FanDuel).

Furthermore, I'm not confident that Maddella is more durable than Brown. Maddellena was knocked out regionally and wobbled on several occasions. And Brown hits much harder than his knockout odds (+1200 around the market) would indicate.

So I'll split my bet and take Brown inside the distance (+700) and via submission (+1300).

Pick: Randy Brown inside the distance (+700)

Pick: Randy Brown by submission (+1300)

Dan Tom: Jack Della Maddalena in Round 2 (+470)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Protect Ya' Neck podcast

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 10:55 p.m. ET

This week, I decided to target a main-card bout between Jack Della Maddalena and Randy Brown.

Although I don't blame anyone for taking a stab at the Brown moneyline for the value, this is one spot where I don't see a strong edge for the more experienced man.

Aside from a five-inch reach edge and more experience against UFC-level opposition, this could be a deceptively tough styles-fight for Brown. Coming from a boxing base, Brown implements a ton of risky slips and dips with low hands that tends to get him countered hard against decent hitters.

Not only does Della Maddalena have the devastating counters to make his opponent pay, but the Australian's brutal bodywork should also serve him well opposite Brown's defensive trunk movement.

Add in the fact that Brown typically operates in Della Maddalena's kill zone along the fence, and I suspect that another knockout could be in store for the Contender Series alum.

Because his moneyline and preferred method of victory are a bit inflated, I opted for Della Maddalena to win in Round 2. Not only do roughly half of Della Maddalena's stoppages come in the second round, but all of Brown's stoppage losses (both by submission and knockout) come in the second frame.

Pick: Jack Della Maddalena in Round 2 (+470)

Liam Heslin: Yair Rodriguez via KO (+300)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of Liam Picks Fights

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:25 p.m. ET

Yair Rodriguez is a dynamic striker with three knockout wins as a closing-line favorite and four wins via KO/TKO in his UFC career, including thre of his four most recent victories (failing to finish only Max Holloway and Jeremy Stephens over three rounds).

Josh Emmett has one career loss via KO, and it was his most recent defeat in the UFC.

Stephens is a common opponent, and he knocked out Emmett in the second round of a competitive fight. Rodriguez, meanwhile, was able to win a unanimous decision against Stephens.

Rodriguez is much younger, longer, taller and closer to his athletic prime. Emmett has dealt with a laundry list of injuries, both disclosed and undisclosed, and he has absorbed more than 325 significant strikes over his last three bouts (11 rounds of fighting total). Nearing 38 years of age against a younger, faster striker, I expect the wheels to finally come off for Emmett and Rodriguez to secure his fifth UFC win via KO.

Sharp markets for this prop bet opened +275 and are sitting within 10 points of the same number. The market average peaked at +323 and has dropped back to +282. Money is also pouring in on fight doesn't go to decision and Rodriguez's moneyline, so this number will be nerfed.

Be mindful that you can reduce risk and reduce upside if you bet Rodriguez ITD instead of KO. ITD is +250 or so on most markets, and that number is still solid and playable. However, Emmett has never been submitted, and Rodriguez has no submission wins in the UFC and only three of his 14 career victories came via submission.

However, with numbers dropping from +2000 to +800, I have to take note and advise splitting the stake along with the ITD above +250 as the optimal bet. I will likely be adding an additional .5u or more on Yair ITD at these prices.

The Pick: Yair Rodriguez by KO, TKO or DQ (+300 at BetRivers)

Bryan Fonseca: Yair Rodriguez in Rounds 1-2 (+425)

Contributor at The Action Network and combat sports host and on-air talent

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:25 p.m. ET

Can you believe Yair Rodriguez is only 30 years old?

In any event, I see him beating Josh Emmett in what should serve as one of the more entertaining bouts on this wildly interesting UFC 284 card.

Rodriguez, who's fighting Emmett for the interim featherweight belt, is a slight favorite. But for the purposes of our esteemed Prop Squad, I'm rolling with him to win in Rounds 1 or 2.

Rodriguez, now 14-3, has recorded four stoppage victories going back to 2016 – though one came against Brian Ortega last July due to a shoulder injury. Still, Rodriguez has managed to finish off opponents such as, most notably, the "Korean Zombie" during that stretch, and he is one of the more well-rounded featherweights in the division.

Emmett, whom we last saw squeeze out a split decision against Calvin Kattar in June, will serve as a stiff challenge who is wagering a five-fight winning streak going back five years.

That loss is part of why we're rolling with Rodriguez here.

Emmett's 18-2 record is an outstanding one, but the most recent of his two losses came as a second-round knockout via elbows to the stronger Jeremy Stephens. The finishing flurry began with a looping left hook that dropped Emmett, sparking the beginning of the end as Stephens pounced for the finish, utilizing punches and elbows on the ground.

It's his only stoppage loss, and it came in Round 2 – the same round in which Rodriguez recorded two finishes in his career, including a noteworthy one of B.J. Penn in January 2017.

It isn't a slam-dunk bet, but none of these are, and that's why we do 'em. Give me an early Rodriguez stoppage.

The Pick: Yair Rodriguez to Win in Rounds 1-2 (+425 at DraftKings)

Tony Sartori: Islam Makhachev by KO (+550)

Contributor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:55 p.m. ET

In the main event, both the lightweight title and No. 1 pound-for-pound ranking are on the line as featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski is moving up a division to attempt to claim "champ-champ" status and dethrone 155-pound champ Islam Makhachev.

This play is a relatively square longshot to take given the fact that Makhachev has been preaching in the media all week that he is "more than just a wrestler" and will "knock out Volkanovski."

On the flip side, Volkanovski has been publicly calling Makhachev's bluff and stating "he will try to bring this to the mat when the going gets tough." I hate to be the guy who sits on both sides of the fence, but I think they are both correct.

I think Makhachev will come in looking for the knockout, but after a hard-fought round or two against the world's pound-for-pound king, will resort to his grappling at some point. With that said, I think Volkanovski's brilliant wrestling/grappling defense will force this fight back on the feet.

We saw Volkanovski miraculously escape numerous submissions from Brian Ortega, a few of which almost nobody else would have escaped. Ortega is one of the most brilliant jiu-jitsu practitioners in the sport, and yet he could not get past Volaknovski's tremendous ground defense.

So, if this fight is forced back on the feet, who has the advantage? Volkanovski's long reach will be able to keep exchanges even at distance, but Makhachev has the advantage of punching down with a four-inch height advantage.

Both guys carry knockout power while each of their lone professional losses came via knockout. I think this fight ends inside the distance and someone is getting knocked out, so taking the -400 betting favorite to do so at +550 is my favorite play to make for this title fight.

As the GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov said: "I heard a long time ago one guy was talking about 'we here to take over' – but we here to take over."

The Pick: Islam Makhachev via KO/TKO/DQ (+550 at BetRivers)

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