UFC 280 Picks: This Fight Card is Huge from Top to Bottom
The biggest fight card of the year is here. Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev will battle for the vacant UFC lightweight crown, after Aljamain Sterling defends his bantamweight title against former champion T.J. Dillashaw.
Petr Yan, ranked atop the bantamweight division, also takes on 12th-ranked fighter Sean O’Malley in what could be one of the most monumental fights in recent bantamweight history.
UFC 280 is set to be one of the biggest and most famous cards ever. Following is our UFC betting advice.
Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev
It’s arguably the biggest lightweight title fight since Khabib Nurmagomedov took on Conor McGregor. Coincidentally, it’s Khabib’s prodigy who is taking center stage here: Makhachev.
It is arguably the biggest fight of the year, as well as the toughest one to call. In fact, the fight is -430 to not go the distance, with Charles Oliveira at +136 to win and Makhachev at -174 to claim the lightweight belt.
This fight could be won or lost in the first round, as it is a true battle of mixed martial arts, with one of the best sambo wrestlers on the planet meeting the UFC’s greatest submission specialist. Oliveira, despite losing his title because he missed weight, has run through the top five fighters in the world during his 11-fight winning streak, with a TKO victory against Michael Chandler and submission wins against Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.
Oliveira has managed to knock down all three of the aforementioned fighters he has defeated in his title reign, and this does not bode well for Makhachev, who has only lost one fight in MMA. It was to a TKO against Adriano Martins in his second UFC fight.
An argument can be made for any outcome. With this in mind, we think a submission for either fighter is very likely.
Fight to end via submission is -130 with FanDuel.
Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Sterling will defend his bantamweight title against former champion Dillashaw in the co-main event in a fight that is as tough to predict as the main event.
Despite being stripped of his title in 2019 after testing positive for a banned substance, Dillashaw has lost just twice in his UFC career, a split decision to Raphael Assunção and a unanimous decision to Dominick Cruz. What's more, Dillashaw bounced back from his two-year ban with a split-decision win over Cory Sandhagen, a match many argue he should have lost.
Sterling eased past Sandhagen two years ago with a rear-naked choke inside round one, but it's his recent victory over Yan that threw him into the elite of the pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. He was losing the first fight until the illegal knee, but nothing can be taken away from him in his decision win in their second fight.
Despite Dillashaw’s qualities across a variety of mixed martial arts, if this fight goes to the ground, there is only one winner: Sterling. Moreover, if it stays on the feet and if Dillashaw can initiate a few takedowns of his own, the American will start to rack up the rounds on the scorecards.
Either way, we think the fight will go the distance.
T.J. Dillashaw by points is +280 with FanDuel.
Petr Yan vs. Sean O'Malley
This fight has been teased for a while but never made much sense to put together. Now, however, with Yan losing his title to Sterling and O’Malley strolling past every fighter in his way, it’s the perfect time for them to do battle in the octagon.
Yan is the huge favorite, and justifiably so. O’Malley has not been tested in the UFC, despite being here for five years. At the same time, he has only lost once in the UFC, as Marlon Vera defeated him in a controversial bout in which O'Malley was injured in the first round.
This fight is likely to stay on the feet. O’Malley is too tall for a 5-foot-7 Yan to work the takedowns. If it does stay on the feet, the fight could go either way, as the American possesses much more power, although Yan is arguably the best boxer in the UFC right now.
If O’Malley lands cleanly, the Russian likely hits the canvas. However, Yan’s technique, fight IQ and overall martial arts ability are far superior than those of O’Malley, and we think he will get the win here.
Petr Yan by points is +100 with FanDuel.
Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot
The three fights at the top of the card are tough to predict, but in this one, there seems to be a clear winner.
Should this fight have taken place just over a year ago, Beneil Dariush would have perhaps been the favorite. However, one career-changing injury later and Dariush is now facing many questions heading into this fight with the ferocious Mateusz Gamrot.
Gamrot has lost just once in his MMA career, as he was defeated via a split decision by Guram Kutateladze in 2020. KO wins over Scott Holtzman and Carlos Diego Ferreira, a submission victory over Jeremy Stephens and a fantastic display in a unanimous-decision win over rising star Arman Tsarukyan have all come since that loss, and it looks as if very few fighters at lightweight can stop him.
Dariush’s grappling ability is of the highest order, and he has a chance to win if he can get this fight to the ground. Gamrot is a favorite for a reason, however, and we’re backing him to win.
Mateusz Gamrot by KO/TKO is +500 with FanDuel.
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Manon Fiorot
In the long-awaited return of France's Manon Fiorot this weekend, she takes on the No. 1 flyweight in the world, Katlyn Chookagian.
Chookagian has been on a rampage since losing to Jessica Andrade back in 2020, beating Cynthia Calvillo, Viviane Araújo, Jennifer Maia and Amanda Ribas all on points. She comes into this fight having won 18 of her MMA bouts, losing four. In fact, the only thing stopping her from going right to the top is the unstoppable Valentina Shevchenko.
Fiorot, however, has not lost since falling to Leah McCourt in her MMA debut in 2018, winning nine fights since. She has won six of these via TKO/KO and the other three by points.
It will be a tense striking battle, but Chookagian's experience likely gets her through these three rounds and gets her the win.
Katlyn Chookagian by points is +250 with FanDuel.
Here are some prop bets for UFC280.
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