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UFC Fight Night Odds & Picks: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov (Feb. 6)

UFC Fight Night Odds & Picks: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov (Feb. 6) article feature image

Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Alistair Overeem.

  • The ageless Alistair Overeem looks to extend his two-fight winning streak in a heavyweight matchup with Alexander Volkov.
  • Both Overeem and Volkov have shot to move further up the division rankings with a win tonight.
  • Sean Zerillo previews the odds and gives his pick for Saturday's UFC main event:

Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov Odds

Overeem odds
Volkov odds
2.5 (-125/-106) 
UFC APEX, Las Vegas
Approx. 10:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via DraftKings.

The UFC’s No. 5- and No. 6-ranked heavyweight challengers, Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov, face off in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event. Both men have been on the just outside the main group of contenders in the division, but a win for either side will likely shake up the rankings.

So where’s the value in this heavyweight scrap? I break down the angles of this main event below and you can find my full breakdown of Saturday’s card here.

Tale of the Tape

Overeem Volkov
Record 47-18 (1 NC) 32-8
Avg. Fight Time 7:19 15:07
Height 6’4″ 6’7″
Weight (pounds) 265 lbs. 250 lbs.
Reach (inches) 80″ 80″
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Date of birth 5/17/80 10/24/88
Sig Strikes Per Min 3.17 4.76
SS Accuracy 64% 58%
SS Absorbed Per Min 2.33 2.53
SS Defense 58% 56%
Take Down Avg 1.44 0.69
TD Acc 56% 70%
TD Def 73% 65%
Submission Avg 0.8 0.2

Looking at the totality of Overeem’s resume, we may have to change his nickname to “The Time Machine.” Just look at the list of names he’s fought in his career:

Alistair Overeem has fought:

Chuck Liddell
Vitor Belfort
Lil Nog
Fabricio Werdum
Shogun Rua
Mark Hunt
Mirko Cro Cop
Brock Lesnar
Bigfoot Silva
Frank Mir
Big Ben
Junior Dos Santos
Roy Nelson
Andrei Arlovski
Stipe Miocic
Francis Ngannou
Jairzinho Rozenstruik

😳 #UFCVegas18

— MMA On Point (@OnPointMMA) February 4, 2021

In order to have a career in anything that spans four decades, a fighter needs to evolve and improve over time continually — and The Reem has done exactly that since moving his camp to Elevation Fight Team in 2018.

In his five fights since the switch, he has attempted takedowns at a higher rate and spent far more time in control positions (either on the ground or in the clinch) than he had previously.

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Overeem vs. Volkov Betting Pick

While Overeem’s wrestling is nowhere near his teammate’s level, Curtis Blaydes, who completed a Heavyweight-record 14 takedowns against Volkov, Blaydes came in with a plan of attack designed to neutralize the Russian; and I would expect Elevation to craft an equally efficient plan for Overeem to follow.

Volkov’s takedown defense is better than the metrics (65%) indicate, as a consequence of the Blaydes fight. However, he possesses the ability to 1) consistently get back to his feet; and 2) maintain volume for five rounds.

As a result, while Volkov isn’t a murderous power puncher, he should eventually rack up a high volume of strikes against Overeem, who is one of the more accurate strikers in UFC history (64%) himself.

But it’s really only the elite fighters or dynamic power punchers (Stipe Miocic, Francis Ngannou, Jairzinho Rozenstruik) who have managed to put The Reem down in recent years. While it seems like he gets hurt in every fight, he typically covers up and manages to survive.

Volkov’s damage comes as a result of accumulation, not single shots. I was all over Volkov in his win against Walt Harris. Still, he’s even more of a significant favorite here — against a Heavyweight legend — than he was against a 37-year-old Harris who was 13-8 and coming off of a stoppage loss (to Overeem).

It isn’t easy to justify Volkov’s price; I think the line should be closer to -122 (implied 45%), and I would bet Overeem down to +150 (implied 40%), at a five percent edge compared to my projection.

I also show slight value on Overeem to win inside the distance (projected +203, listed +240), but I’ll stick with the moneyline at a more significant edge. Be sure to check out UFC odds page to find the best odds on the market.

The Pick: Alistair Overeem (+160)

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