The blockbuster UFC 280 goes down this weekend with huge fights littered up and down the card. Headlining in Abu Dhabi will be a lightweight title bout between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev. A bantamweight title bout between defending champion, Aljamain Sterling and former champion, TJ Dillashaw will feature as the co-main event.
Sean O’Malley and Petr Yan clash at bantamweight as Yan looks to get back in the title picture and O’Malley looks to really make a name for himself. Lightweight’s Beneil Dariush and Mateusz Gamrot meet in what could be a #1 contenders spot and it’s a similar situation in the fight that opens up the main card. Either Katlyn Chookagian or Manon Fiorot could see themselves in a title fight if they win at UFC 280.
Elsewhere, Belal Muhammad and Sean Brady meet at welterweight in a clash of excellent wrestlers, Muhammad Mokaev returns and there is an exciting middleweight clash between Makhmud Muradov and Caio Borralho.
We give you some of the stats and facts behind the key fights on the card and give our UFC 280 betting tips. (all odds are correct at the time of writing as per DraftKings)
UFC 280 Betting Tips
Charles Oliveira via submission (+300)
The holder of the record for the most submissions in UFC history is facing someone who likes to take the fight to the floor. Logically, no one should want to hit the floor with Oliveira because of just how effective he is when the fight is grounded. He’s secured 21 submissions across 33 wins and two in his last two fights.
There’s no doubt that Oliveria favours the choke submissions, with a crazy 14 variations of choke submissions in the UFC. He averages 2.9 submission attempts per 15 minutes and it’s worth remembering that this fight will be contested over 25 minutes. Islam Makhachev averages 3.41 takedowns per 15 minutes, but more often than not, whenever he takes his opponents down, he controls them and prevents them from getting back to their feet. This means we can expect, at some point, the fight to hit the floor.
most ufc finishes (19)
most ufc submissions (16)
most post fight bonuses (18)
most submission wins in lightweight and featherweight divisons.
32 years old.
— Dovy🔌 (@DovySimuMMA) October 11, 2022
If Oliveria, who has far higher experience against top-level competitors, can fatigue or hurt Makhachev and force him into a lazy shot, we could easily see him snatch a choke and regain the belt.
TJ Dillashaw via Decision (+300)
This fight is certainly a difficult one to pick. With that being said, if you look at the two fighter’s styles on paper, TJ Dillashaw holds an advantage. He has superior stand-up and is also a solid wrestler. He will likely be able to nullify the attacks of Sterling, work his game and ultimately out-point the champion over 25 minutes.
Sterling doesn’t have one-punch knockout power (he hasn’t finished a fight via TKO/KOsince 2014), despite being an active striker (landing an average of 4.56 strikes per minute). We know that he prefers life on the ground, however, getting it there might be an issue. He struggled massively against Petr Yan in their first fight, landing just one of 17 attempts. He didn’t improve much in the rematch either, securing two of 22. His takedown accuracy is just 21%, however, we know that once he gets his opponents on the ground, he’s solid at controlling them.
Dillashaw’s takedown defence stands at an impressive 86% and he’s only been taken down once since 2016. If Aljo can’t stake him down, he’ll struggle to get the win in this one. If TJ chooses to mix it up and look for the takedown, it will keep the champ guessing. With that being said, TJ’s takedown accuracy isn’t great, just 30%. Sterling holds just a 40% takedown defence stat, which again, isn’t anything to brag about.
TJ by decision would make a lot of sense in this one.
Katlyn Chookagian via Decision (+240)
In what is likely a #1 contenders fight at flyweight, Katlyn Chookagian takes on the game, Manon Fiorot. Chookagian has already had her chance at gold and came up drastically short when Valentina Shevchenko dominated her. Her opponent hails from France and boasts an undefeated UFC record of 4-0. Despite what her record might show, she’s only faced one ranked opponent, Jennifer Maia. In her UFC fights thus far, she’s appeared to fatigue late on, something she can’t afford to do against Chookagian. Chookagian came on extremely strong in her last outing against Amanda Ribas in the final round. Although at Friday’s weigh-ins, Chookagian missed weight, which could have an issue on her gas tank.
In this fight, Chookagian holds both a height and reach advantage as well as a more well-rounded game. She has to utilise her reach advantage, something that she always does well in her fights. If she can keep Fiorot on the end of her jab, it will make her night a lot more straight forwards. We anticipate this one being the battle of the side kicks as both women have excellent hip dexterity and utilise this by throwing vicious side kicks to maintain distance.
Chookagian can also mix in her wrestling game in this one. Although she’s only got a takedown accuracy of 15% and lands 0.28 takedowns per 15 minutes, she’s dangerous when it does hit the floor. We saw her absolutely dominate Antonina Shevchenko on the ground when the two women fought. In that one, she clocked up 10:36 control time, leading to a wide victory on the cards. She’s recently gained her BJJ black belt and should look to use that in this fight.
Unfortunately for Chookagian, she can’t seem to finish fights in the UFC, going to a decision in every victory thus far and she won’t break the trend in Abu Dhabi. Chookagian by decision is our pick in this one due to her higher level of experience.
Potential Other bets
Muhammad Mokaev via finish – Expect, after a huge first victory in the UFC and a lacklustre second outing, for Muhammad Mokaev to go in search of a finish in this one against Malcolm Gordon. (-225)
Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady: Over 2.5 rounds – We can predict that, despite the skills of both men, this is going to be an uneventful wrestling affair, with the winner getting their hand raised over 15 minutes. It’s a close one on paper, so play it safe and go for a long, drawn-out fight. (-280)
If you’re feeling brave and fancy a huge upset, O’Malley to catch Yan and finish him via TKO/KO in round 1 comes in at +1000.
(All odds are correct at the time of writing as per DraftKings)