UFC 266 Pick’ Em: Fight Card Preview, Predictions and Best Bet

Alexander Volkanovski (L) punches UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway in their title fight during UFC 245. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP
Alexander Volkanovski (L) punches Max Holloway during UFC 245. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP


We’re back with our UFC 266 pay-per-view predictions. The UFC 266: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega main card UFC Odds are available. Read on for our complete betting guide and preview our favorite matchups, including updated odds and free expert betting predictions.


UFC 266 Main Event Prediction


Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega


UFC Featherweight Championship Bout

 Saturday, September 25, 2021 – 11:05 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas

This weekend’s UFC pay-per-view will play host to an incredible line-up, including two championship bouts and the return of Nick Diaz. The available odds are gifting us in the featherweight title main event, with the champion Alexander Volkanovski continues to be underrated.

Alexander Volkanovski (22-1-0) has already earned respect; in my opinion, defeating Max Holloway in consecutive fights should’ve gifted the featherweight champion with limitless praise. However, it doesn’t seem to be the case when looking at this week’s available odds and Volkanovski’s media presence.

Brian Ortega (15-1-0) is the proud owner of a 1st degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and with 45% of his career wins stemming from a submission finish – now you know why.

Having already competed in a championship bout versus Max Holloway, it would seem that Ortega’s run at gold was postponed upon losing this contest. However, the Californian native made a quick turnaround when putting a stop to “The Korean Zombies” win streak – earning himself another championship fight.


Volkanovski vs. Ortega Fight Analysis


Martial arts enthusiasts have been waiting around for this matchup to take place, initially scheduled for March; Covid-19 forced us to be patient.

Now that it’s eventually arrived, I’ve had time to ponder on the skillset of each fighter, and I’m struggling to give Brian Ortega a significant chance of dethroning the champion.

Ortega will need to fight the perfect fight, and because his takedown setups are relatively weak, it’s hard to believe this contest will play out on the ground. This is where Ortega will find his best success, but taking and keeping Volkanovski down won’t be simple; a lack of offensive wrestling and elite takedowns leave Ortega little room outside of pulling guard on the champ.

Overall, Volkanovski is an ideal champion; he’s talented in all positions – defensively or on the attack. Ortega’s submission offense held a lot of significance in reaching the top of the division, but his submission rate has fizzled since getting here.

I anticipate Volkanovski outsmarting Ortega on the feet, alternating between calf kicks and outside leg kicks to match the switching of stance his opponent will most likely use. These attacks will be followed with boxing combinations, and when Volkanovski’s offense begins with punches, he’ll be sure to reverse the script and end them with low kicks.


UFC Pick: Alexander Volkanovski to Win ML (-170) at DraftKings [1.70u returns 1u profit]



UFC 266 Co-Main Event Prediction


Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy


UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship Bout

 Saturday, September 25, 2021 – 11:05 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas


The co-main event of the evening could be classed as bullying by the UFC matchmakers, simply because anybody in the women’s flyweight division is going to find themselves entirely outmatched by the champion.

Valentina Shevchenko (21-3-0) is the most talented martial artist in women’s MMA, and despite losing to Amanda Nunes, I genuinely believe her skillset is more refined, precise, and dangerous. A twenty-pound difference in weight is the sole reason I think Nunes found success, and if the third fight ever takes place – I’d expect Shevchenko to gain her revenge.

Lauren Murphy (15-3-0) is a fighter at heart, there isn’t much technicality to describe her skillset, but this flyweight contender knows how to scrap. With that said, she’s receiving a title opportunity because Shevchenko has already cleared out any other significant name from the top five rankings.

When analyzing this fight, the most challenging task is deciding how Shevchenko will win – whether by TKO or submission.

Incredible offensive and counter striking combinations, a tight technique with excellent fundamentals, an absolute sniper with the left straight that’s complemented by a grappling game that’s second to none. The clinch work of Shevchenko is phenomenal, headlock takedowns, inside trips, and then, of course, her top-control is near unstoppable.

Will she take a neck and choke, an arm and snap, or will she crucifix her opponent and TKO her way to victory? Perhaps a head kick knockout disguised with the initial body kick? Who knows, so I’m taking Valentina inside the distance.


UFC Pick: Shevchenko to Win Inside the Distance (-227) at Bet365 [2.27u returns 1u profit]

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