UFC 298: Volkanovski vs. Topuria Fight Card, Predictions, & Odds

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Alexander Volkanovski, left, hits Max Holloway in a featherweight title bout during the UFC 276 mixed martial arts event.
(AP Photo/John Locher)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Feb 15, 2024, 6:56 PM
  • Alexander Volkanovski defends his UFC featherweight title against No. 3-ranked contender Ilia Topuria.
  • Volkanovksi is coming off a knockout loss, while Topuria previously won his fight by decision.
  • Volkanovski is the betting favorite at -120, and Topuria is the +100 betting underdog.

The sixth UFC featherweight title defense of Alexander Volkanovski will headline the main event of UFC 298 this weekend inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, as he takes on the challenge of No. 3-ranked divisional contender Ilia Topuria.

Volkanovski is coming off a second-round defeat at the hands of UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in October for his second attempt to be a two-division champion. Despite that defeat, he remains the -120 betting favorite in UFC odds.

On the other hand, Topuria, who is the +100 betting underdog, is fresh off a masterful unanimous decision victory against fellow top contender Josh Emmett to officially set the stage for this championship clash with the Australian champion.

Alexander Volkanovski Recent Fight Results

Volkanovksi has dominated the featherweight division since arriving in the UFC in November 2016. He collected 12 straight wins and became the division’s undisputed champion by beating the likes of JosΓ© Aldo, Max Holloway (thrice), The Korean Zombie, and Brian Ortega.

After almost clearing the top five contenders, Volkanovski moved up in weight and challenged Makhachev twice in 2023, but lost on both occasions via unanimous decision and first-round knockout, respectively. His last victory came against Yair Rodriguez in July with a third-round TKO finish.

Ilia Topuria Recent Fight Results

Topuria was an undefeated prospect who had a 100% finish rate when he was signed by the UFC in 2020. He made a successful debut in October 2020 and defeated Youssef Zalal via unanimous decision, and since then, continued to wreak havoc in the 145-pound division.

He quickly added Damon Jackson, Ryan Hall, Jai Herbert, and Bryce Mitchell to his hit list to earn a spot in the division’s rankings. In his most recent fight, Topuria won lopsided against former interim title challenger Emmett to punch a ticket against Volkanovski for his first world title shot.

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria: Tale of the Tape

Alexander VolkanovskiIlia Topuria
Age3527
Height5’6”5’7”
Reach71.5 inches69 inches
Leg Reach36 inches37 inches
Fighting StyleStrikerBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Finishing Rate62%86%

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria: Fight Analysis

The main differences between Volkanovski and Topuria on paper are their age, reach, and fighting style. Volkanovski will hold a 2-and-a-half-inch reach advantage at 71.5 inches against Topuria’s 69 inches. Meanwhile, Topuria will have the youth edge as he is eight years younger than Volkanovski.

Their fighting styles are also opposite, with Volkanovski being a striking-based fighter and the challenger having a strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background. This contrasting approach to fighting is evident in their numbers, with both athletes shining in the significant strikes and grappling departments.

Volkanovski leads in significant strike output with 6.19 significant strikes landed per minute and a 57% rate compared to Topuria’s 4.44 significant strikes landed per minute and a 46% rate. Topuria has better numbers in significant strikes absorbed per minute at 3.42, a 67% rate, compared to Volkanovski’s 3.42 at a 58% rate.

On the other hand, Topuria has a massive upper hand in every major category with a 2.19 takedown average per 15 minutes (compared to Volkanovski’s 1.84), 56% takedown accuracy (against Volkanoski’s 37%), 92% takedown defense (versus Volkanovski’s 70%), and 1.46 submission average per 15 minutes (against Volkanovki’s 0.18).

Although they have a different fighting approach, this championship clash is expected to be a stand-up affair due to their recent performances that saw them swing against their opponents. Volkanovski has long been known to be a pressure fighter who puts his opponents on the backfoot with his intelligent attack that forces them to miss.

The Australian champion has outclassed and outpointed his opponents with impeccable timing, which frustrates his opponents throughout the fight. This strategy often awards him the decision victory because of the cumulative damage he inflicts, especially when the fight is at the latter stages.

But Topuria is a different type of opponent because of his calculated aggression. He has elite boxing skills that schools his opponents. That is not only the lone threat that he presents as the Spanish challenger can also decide to ragdoll his opposition to the ground when he knows that they are gassed out or slowing down; this way, he can look for a ground-and-pound or submission finish.

Official Prediction: Unanimous decision victory for Alexander Volkanovski.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.