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UFC 280 main card preview & best bets – Saturday, October 22

The UFC 280 main card from Yas Island delivers a series of must-see contests featuring some of the most exciting fighters on the roster. With a pair of blockbuster fights at the top of the bill, one might assume that the remainder of the UFC 280 card would be underwhelming. This is not the case, and the bill is stacked with talent from top to bottom.

Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev

If the matchup between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev in the UFC 280 main event this Sunday (5am AEDT) doesn’t get you excited, you are just not a serious fight fan. The bout pits a pair of unstoppable talents on win streaks of 10 or more fights. This is a fight that needed to happen, and with five scheduled rounds to settle the argument, the undisputed king of the lightweights will emerge with UFC gold from this weekend’s clash in the United Arab Emirates.

Read the full betting preview here: Oliveira v Makhachev UFC 280 betting picks & best odds

Aljamain Sterling vs TJ Dillashaw

The co-main event for UFC 280 pits a pair of polarising fighters – Aljamain Sterling and TJ Dillashaw – in a bout that will determine the future of the bantamweight division.

Read the full betting preview here: Sterling v Dillashaw UFC 280 betting picks & best odds

Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley

Petr Yan (16-3-0) is a pocket-sized Russian dynamo currently ranked as the number one contender in the bantamweight division. Yan lost his belt to Aljamain Sterling, also fighting on this card, in controversial fashion back in March 2021. An illegal blow saw Yan disqualified and he surrendered his title in bizarre circumstances. Yan lost the rematch via split decision, but the dominance of his wins prior to the Sterling fights sees him cemented as the division’s top contender.

Yan’s recent results are nothing short of spectacular. He sent Urijah Faber catapulting back into retirement with a brutal, bloody striking masterclass, finished former champ Jose Aldo with similar levels of violence, and beat Corey Sandhagen via an entertaining decision victory. Yan is a relentless attacking force that hunts and destroys his opponents unless halted. He does have a size and reach disadvantage in this contest, so will need to overcome his opponent’s jab in order to land his own heavy blows.

Despite the pink hair and cringeworthy tattoos, Sean O’Malley (15-1-0) is a canny fighter looking to make a business out of his MMA talents. O’Malley has carefully selected his opponents to date, ensuring he is paid in proportion to the risk of defeat. He has avoided top-ranked competition, opting to crush weaker opposition until his contract is sufficiently enlarged. This has proven successful, but now O’Malley has pulled the trigger by accepting a very dangerous fight that could either set up a title shot or see his profile and brand slump.

O’Malley is a tall, lean combatant with great movement and knockout power. He fights from long range behind a stiff jab and will have a massive four-inch height and five-inch reach advantage here. His list of former opponents is unremarkable, with names like Raulian Paiva, Kris Moutinho, and Thomas Almeida, but O’Malley has been knocking them out with apparent ease. If he can keep this fight at long range, O’Malley might be ready to shock the world and make bank.

We are cautiously sticking with the proven Yan here, paying -277.78 at Bovada.

Petr Yan to win


Beneil Dariush vs Matuesz Gamrot

Beneil Dariush (21-4-1) is on a seven-fight win streak and, according to early reports, was on standby for the UFC 280 main event should either Charles Oliveira or Islam Makhachev need to be replaced. Dariush is currently the sixth-ranked lightweight, but a big win here should move him close to a future title shot. Dariush owns black belts in both Muay Thai and BJJ, making him a complete MMA exponent. He is a renowned finisher with a deadly submission game. Dariush dominated Tony Ferguson at his most recent outing, controlling the former champ on the mat for 15 minutes straight. Dariush has also recently beaten Carlos Ferreira and Scott Holtzman in dominant fashion.

Matuesz Gamrot (21-1-0) is a surging Polish fighter who entered the UFC in October 2020. He dropped his first bout in the premier promotion via split decision but has won the four subsequent fights and is now ranked ninth in this stacked division. Also holding a BJJ black belt, Gamrot has a five submission victories to his credit, and it will be enthralling to see if he elects to try and take Dariush to the mat. Gamrot has been quietly going about his business since breaking into the UFC, with wins over Arman Tsarukyan and Carlos Ferreira, but a triumph here on the biggest stage will deliver the respect and attention his talent deserves.

Dariush is the tip here, and we are astounded at the price on offer with the top betting sites.

Beneil Dariush to win


Katlyn Chookagian vs Manon Fiorot

Katlyn Chookagian (18-4-0) is the top-ranked women’s flyweight contender and is on a four-fight winning streak. Chookagian came up short against dominant champion Valentina Shevchenko back in February 2020 but has looked impressive ever since with a 6-1 record that includes wins over Amanda Ribas and Jennifer Maia. She is very tall for the weight class and will enjoy a two-inch height and three-inch reach advantage here. The knock on Chookagian is her inability to finish fights and her often overly cautious approach.

Manon Fiorot (9-1-0) is a hard-hitting Frenchwoman who is heavily favoured to secure the win in this bout. Fiorot lost her very first professional fight back in June 2018 via split decision when nerves might have been a factor, but she has easily handled every opponent since, including UFC victories over Jennifer Maia and Tabatha Ricci. Fiorot has a karate and BJJ background with six knockouts on her resume. She will be looking to close the distance and land heavy shots on Chookagian. Another KO victory should set her up for a possible title shot in 2023.

Fiorot is the strong tip at -217.39 with Bovada.

Manon Fiorot to win


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