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UFC 294 main card preview, top betting picks & fight odds

UFC 294 main card preview MMA Odds & Event Info

When Saturday, October 21 – main card from 10pm GST
Where Etihad Arena – Yas Island, UAE
Watch Live ESPN+ PPV (US), BT Sport (UK), Main Event (AU)

The main card for UFC 294 at Etihad Arena in the United Arab Emirates is stacked with European talent. The co-main event between former middleweight champ Kamaru Usman and unbeaten phenom Khamzat Chimaev will be worth the price of admission alone.

As a bonus, fight fans will enjoy a stellar line-up of high-level contests featuring stone-cold Russian warriors like Magomed Ankalaev and Ikram Aliskerov, who appear ready to press for contender status in their respective weight classes.


Islam Makhachev v Alexander Volkanovski

Islam Makhachev

vs

Alexander Volkanovski

-250 at Bovada UFC betting odds +200 at Bovada
24-1-0 MMA records 26-2-0
31 Age 35
5’10” Height 5’6″
155lbs Weight 144.5lbs
70.5″ Reach 71.5″
Russia Nationality Australia

Can Aussie star Alexander Volkanovski turn the tables on Islam Makhachev after his contentious defeat to the Russian star in February? See our in-depth UFC 294 main event preview here.


Kamaru Usman v Khamzat Chimaev

Kamaru Usman

vs

Khamzat Chimaev

+240 at Bovada UFC betting odds -312.5 at Bovada
20-3-0 MMA records 12-0-0
36 Age 29
6″0′ Height 6’2″
170lbs Weight 179lbs
76″ Reach 75″
Nigeria Nationality Sweden

Kamaru Usman (20-3-0) has suffered a pair of defeats to Leon Edwards in his past two appearances. Prior to those losses, the Nigerian ruled the middleweight division with an iron fist, dispatching a long list of challengers that included Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington. This matchup will test whether Usman can adjust to life as a non-champion and regain his confidence following the disappointment of successive setbacks.

Khamzat Chimaev (12-0-0) is a surging UFC prospect who appears ready to fulfil his destiny. The Chechen-born grappler has only been tested on one occasion as a prizefighter in the UFC, in a three-round war against Gilbert Burns that was decided via the judges. Chimaev’s other five UFC appearances have ended in swift fashion, either by early KO or submission stoppage. He is a short price with UFC betting sites to continue this trajectory.

Khamzat Chimaev by submission

+325
@
Bovada

Magomed Ankalaev v Johnny Walker

Magomed Ankalaev

vs

Johnny Walker

-370.37 at Bovada UFC betting odds +282 at Bovada
18-1-1 MMA records 21-7-0
31 Age 31
6″3′ Height 6’5″
205lbs Weight 205lbs
75″ Reach 82″
Russia Nationality Brazil

Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1) last fought in December 2022 in a strange interim title bout against Jan Blachowicz that ended in a draw. Both men appeared sluggish and unwilling to attack, and they left the octagon empty-handed. Prior to that mediocre effort, the Russian had torn through the light heavyweight ranks with nine successive victories. A bold performance here will position Ankalaev for another shot at UFC gold.

Johnny Walker (21-7-0) is a Brazilian wild man who has been working hard on his defence in recent times and no longer throws himself headlong into danger in pursuit of spectacular finishes. The change in strategy has paid dividends, with Walker winning his last three fights in solid fashion. He will need to display the same discipline against a tough and technical opponent here, and a win would be considered an upset.

Magomed Ankalaev by KO/TKO

+125
@
Bovada

Ikram Aliskerov v Warlley Alves

Ikram Aliskerov

vs

Warlley Alves

-714.29 at Bovada UFC betting odds +480 at Bovada
14-1-0 MMA records 15-6-0
30 Age 32
6″0′ Height 6’11”
185lbs Weight 170lbs
76″ Reach 72″
Russia Nationality Brazil

Ikram Aliskerov (14-1-0) has lost a single fight as a professional, back in April 2019 againt Khamzat Chimaev when they were competing under the Brave CF promotion. The Russian earned his UFC call-up via Dana White’s Contender Series in 2022 and delivered a flawless display on debut, knocking out Phil Hawes in the opening minutes. The 30-year-old is a sambo fighter and bears some stylistic resemblance to his mentor, former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Warlley Alves (15-6-0) has struggled in recent years with a 2-4 record since 2018. The Brazilian has the striking and grappling tools to be competitive in the middleweight division but struggles with motivation and focus. As the longest-priced prospect on this main card, Alves will need to be at the top of his game to be competitive against a tough opponent.

Ikram Aliskerov by KO/TKO

+150
@
Bovada

Said Nurmagomedov v Muin Gafurov

Said Nurmagomedov

vs

Muin Gafurov

-370.37 at Bovada UFC betting odds +282 at Bovada
17-3-0 MMA records 18-5-0
31 Age 27
5″8′ Height 5’7″
135lbs Weight 136lbs
70″ Reach 68″
Russia Nationality Tajikistan

Said Nurmagomedov (17-3-0) will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing decision loss to Jonathan Martinez in his most recent appearance. Prior to that defeat, the Russian was building a solid record with four straight victories, three of which came via early stoppage. He has drawn an easier assignment for this matchup against a relative UFC newcomer and is expected to rediscover his earlier winning form.

Muin Gafurov (18-5-0) made his UFC debut in June 2023 after a long career on the provincial circuit and was ground down in a unanimous decision loss to John Castaneda. His five career losses have all come via the judges’ scorecard. Gafurov tends to throw heavy shots in the opening minutes before tiring in the latter rounds, and his best chance to prevail here will be to land some big blows in the opening exchanges before fatigue slows his output.

Said Nurmagomedov by decision

+225
@
Bovada

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