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UFC 298 main card preview, betting picks & top odds | Feb 17

UFC 298 main card preview

UFC 298: Volkanovski vs Topuria

Main Card Odds & Info

When Saturday, February 17 – main card from 7pm PST
Where Honda Center – Anaheim, United States
Watch live ESPN+ PPV (US), BT Sports (UK), Main Event (AU)

The main card for UFC 298 features two former champions, an unbeaten Irish sensation, and an ever-controversial Brazilian entertainer. Robert Whittaker will be looking to rebound from a painful defeat when he clashes with Paulo Costa, Ian Garry hunts his next top-10 scalp against Geoff Neal, and elite bantamweights Merab Dvalishvili and Henry Cejudo will settle a lingering grudge when they collide in the octagon. Read on for our UFC 298 betting predictions.


Alexander Volkanovski v Ilia Topuria

Alex Volkanovski

Alexander Volkanovski

vs

Ilia Topuria

Ilia Topuria

-128.21 at Bovada UFC betting odds +104 at Bovada
26-3-0 MMA record 14-0-0
35 Age 27
5’6″ Height 5’7″
154.5lbs Weight 146lbs
71.5″ Reach 69″
Australia Nationality Spain

Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria will duke it out for the featherweight title in Saturday’s headline act. See our UFC 298 main event betting preview here.


Robert Whittaker v Paulo Costa

Rob Whittaker

Robert Whittaker

vs

Paulo CostaPaulo Costa
-285.71 at Bovada UFC betting odds +210 at Bovada
25-7-0 MMA record 14-2-0
33 Age 32
6’0″ Height 6’1″
185.5lbs Weight 185.5lbs
73.5″ Reach 72″
Australia Nationality Brazil

Robert Whittaker (25-7-0) was knocked out quickly when he faced now middleweight champion Dricus du Plessis in July 2023 and has now dropped two of his last three fights. The 33-year-old has been involved in some heavy wars since making his UFC debut way back in 2012. The Australian still has the skills to compete with the best middleweights, but his chin might be deserting him at this stage of his long career. This potential weakness is likely to be tested against a hard-hitting opponent who will be hunting an early KO win.

Paulo Costa (14-2-0) has fought exactly once per year since 2018 due to contractual disputes and a run of injuries. When fit and focused, the Brazilian is a hard man to stop. The 32-year-old marches forward while throwing stiff jabs and mixing in the occasional overhand right to powerful effect. Costa has 11 professional wins via knockout with just a single stoppage loss on his record. The danger here is that he cannot find the finish and gets outworked in the second and third rounds to lose via the scorecards to a more technically proficient striker.

Paulo Costa to win

+210
@
Bovada

Geoff Neal v Ian Machado Garry

Geoff Neal

Geoff Neal

vs

Ian Garry

Ian Machado Garry

+193 at Bovada UFC betting odds -243.9 at Bovada
15-5-0 MMA record 13-0-0
33 Age 26
5’1″ Height 6’3″
175.5lbs Weight 179.5lbs
75″ Reach 74.5″
United States Nationality Ireland

Geoff Neal (15-5-0) has shared the cage with some of the best welterweights on the UFC roster. He last fought in March 2023, losing a competitive three-round bout to unbeaten phenom Shavkat Rakhmonov in a Fight of the Night performance. The 33-year-old was enjoying a two-fight win streak before the loss, with successes over Vincente Luque and Santiago Ponzinibbio. The American is ranked eighth in the division and will be intent on halting the progress of a much-hyped opponent here. Neal is somewhat underrated as a fighter, and this might be a closer contest than many pundits are predicting.

Ian Machado Garry (13-0-0) made his UFC debut in 2021 and has quickly amassed six scalps while building a solid fan following. The flashy Irishman is now maturing in his approach and appeared more patient and relaxed in his recent win over Neil Magny. The 26-year-old should be entering his prime years, and another win will see him inch closer to contender status. Garry is an excellent striker who stands an imposing 6’3’’ but will need to produce his best movement and distance control against a shorter but wily opponent with nothing to lose.

Fight to go the distance

-104.17
@
Bovada

Merab Dvalishvili v Henry Cejudo

Merab Dvalishvili

Merab Dvalishvili

vs

Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo

-238.1 at Bovada UFC betting odds +190 at Bovada
16-4-0 MMA record 16-3-0
30 Age 37
5’6″ Height 5’4″
134.5lbs Weight 135lbs
68″ Reach 64″
Georgia Nationality United States

Merab Dvalishvili (16-4-0) has won his last nine fights in succession and is only one win away from challenging for the bantamweight crown. The 33-year-old trains with former champion Aljamain Sterling, and refused to fight his stablemate, a decision that cost Dvalishvili an earlier shot at the belt. Sterling was dethroned at UFC 292, opening the door for Dvalishvili to push for his slice of glory. The Georgian athlete brings a tight and technical approach to the octagon, combined with world-class cardio and a steely toughness. He faces a grappling disadvantage in Anaheim and will be keen to keep this bout upright.

Henry Cejudo (16-3-0) retired from MMA in 2020 after claiming the UFC bantamweight and flyweight titles. The 37-year-old is also an Olympic wrestling gold medallist and claims to be the greatest combat athlete of all time, with some justification. The American returned to the ring in 2023, losing a close contest to then-champion Aljamain Sterling. Cejudo faces a four-inch reach disadvantage here and will need to close the distance to have any chance of turning back the clock to his glory days.

Merab Dvalishvili by points

-111.11
@
Bovada

Anthony Hernandez v Roman Kopylov

Anthony Hernandez

Anthony Hernandez

vs

Roman Kopylov

Roman Kopylov

-250 at Bovada UFC betting odds +197 at Bovada
11-2-0 MMA record 12-2-0
30 Age 32
6’0″ Height 6’0″
186lbs Weight 191lbs
75″ Reach 75″
United States Nationality Russia

Anthony Hernandez (11-2-0) has lifted his game since 2021 producing four straight accomplished victories. Two of those wins came via submission, one via TKO, and one via decision demonstrating a well-rounded skillset and an ability to adjust in real time. This momentum has propelled the American into the top 15 in the middleweight rankings, although he faces an unranked opponent in Anaheim. The 30-year-old possesses a slick ground game that matches favourably with this competitor, who is not known for his work on the mat.

Roman Kopylov (12-2-0) was almost cut from the UFC roster after a pair of losses in 2019 and 2021 but has breathed life into his MMA career with a stellar run of four straight KO wins. The Russian is not the most athletic of fighters but can wear a punch and throw heavy combinations that accumulate over time. He intelligently mixes up his striking and two of his four recent wins have come with via ripping body shots. The contest is a classic striker versus grappler matchup, and the winner will be determined by who can best dictate the terrain.

Anthony Hernandez by submission

+200
@
Bovada

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