By Jed Meshew | | 7 mins
UFC 266 Odds: Volkanovski vs Ortega Picks & Predictions
This weekend the UFC returns with its latest pay-per-view offering, UFC 266, and it’s a big one for UFC betting, featuring two title fights plus the return of one of the most popular fighters in UFC history.
In the main event, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski defends his belt against second-ranked challenger Brian Ortega. In the co-main event, women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko looks to make her sixth straight title defense when she faces third-ranked contender Lauren Murphy.
And if that weren’t enough to pique your interest when combing through the odds at betting sites, the main card of UFC 266 also features the return of Nick Diaz, who will be taking on former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in a five-round non-title fight.
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega UFC Odds
|Alexander Volkanovski ( -175 )||Brian Ortega ( +155 )|
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UFC 266 Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega Betting Analysis
Alexander Volkanovski is the fourth-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, and for good reason. The former rugby player has a ridiculous 22-1 professional record and sports wins over the two best featherweights of all time, Jose Aldo and Max Holloway (the latter whom he beat twice).
Volkanovski is a strong top-position fighter, having a background in Greco-Roman wrestling, and an even better striker, working at a high rate while maintaining very sharp defense. But by far Volkanoski’s best attribute is his Fight IQ. Volkanovski is one of the few fighters who can make mid-round adjustments to his opponent, a skill which allowed him to overcome a poor start against Holloway in their rematch.
Brian Ortega is the opposite of Volkanovski. Where the champion is the consummate round-winner, Ortega almost never wins rounds; he simply wins fights. A predatory fighter with extremely potent finishing ability, in nearly every one of his fights Ortega loses the battle before winning the war.
Generally, this comes by way of his lethal grappling game that has seen him submit the likes of Cub Swansona and Renato Moicano. But he also packs power in his punches and has been improving his technique as well.
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UFC 266 Odds Best Bet For Volkanovski vs Ortega
Simply put, this is a horrendous style matchup for Ortega. Volkanovski is one of the premier round-winners in the sport and one of the smartest, most defensively savvy fighters to boot. Volkanovski is also the better wrestler and will use that to keep the fight standing where he both works at a much higher pace than Ortega and is harder to hit.
Outside of one big punch or a huge lapse in judgement from the champion, I struggle to see how Ortega wins. Volkanovski is currently a -175 favorite at FanDuel when he should be closer to -400 at sportsbooks, so that’s great value. You can also jump on Volkanovski by Decision at +135, given how durable Ortega has proven to be and Volkanovski isn’t a huge finisher.
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Other UFC 266 Odds To Back
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy Odds
For my money, Valentina Shevchenko is the best fighter in the world in comparison to her peers. There is simply no one who can reasonably compete with her. Case in point: Lauren Murphy is a worthy and deserving title challenger on a five-fight win streak, and she is going to get steamrolled.
Shevchenko is just better in every facet of the game. I expect Shevchenko to make quick work of Murphy, either on the feet or on the ground and so a bet on Shevchenko by KO/TKO or Submission at -188 on your favorite betting apps is worthwhile. Along those same lines, I like a bet on Shevchenko to win in Round 1, 2, or 3 at -110 over at BetMgM.
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Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler Odds
In perhaps the most anticipated fight of the weekend, Nick Diaz makes his return from a nearly six-year layoff to face former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in a five-round affair. Normally, that would be a situation to fade Diaz.
However, despite the long layoff, we can reasonably expect to see the same Diaz as always - high-volume, high pressure, endless cardio - and against a Lawler, who is pushing 40 and has visibly slowed, that is probably enough to get it done. You can currently get Diaz at -104, including at DraftKings. Even though there is some risk associated with it, I like the bet.
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UFC 266 Date, Time & TV
When is UFC 266?
UFC 266 is Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
What time is UFC 266?
UFC 266 begins with prelims at 6 p.m. with the main even at approximately 10 p.m. ET.
Where can I watch UFC 266?
UFC 266 prelims will be on ESPN+, with the main card on ESPN PPV.