UFC 290: Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez Predictions, Fight Card, and Odds (Jul 8)
- Alex Volkanovski defending his UFC Featherweight title for the fifth time.
- Alexandre Pantoja is the only person in the world to beat Brandon Moreno twice.
- Dan Hooker hoping to upset the odds against Jalin Turner.
UFC 290 has the potential to be the best MMA event of 2023. There are five fights on the main card of the July 8 event, with two of those being championship fights.
The headliner bout – Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez – is one of those. It’s the UFC Featherweight unification duel between two incredible showmen who have eight Fight of the Night bonuses between them.
The other one is the co-main event, in which Brandon Moreno is defending his title against Alexandre Pantoja. Then, there’s the Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus du Plessis fight, which will serve as the UFC Middleweight title eliminator.
Even the remaining two UFC 290 main card fights seem interesting. In one of those, two lightweights with super-fast hands fight – Jalin Turner and Dan Hooker. The other one is a fight between rising UFC star Bo Nickal and possible “tomato can” Tresean Gore.
Schedule and How to Watch
- Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
- When: Saturday, July 8, 2023, at 10 p.m ET
- How to Watch: PPV
UFC 290 Predictions
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez
Yair Rodriguez is a real magician with his punches and kicks. He strikes fast, with a lot of power and volume, landing 4.78 significant strikes per minute on average.
The most impressive fact about “El Pantera” is that he gets very creative inside the Octagon, coming up with unusual ways to stun his opponents. Just think of the knee that put “The Korean Zombie” to sleep literally one second before the final bell.
But that might not work against Volkanovski. The Aussie is famous for a fighting IQ of a genius, as well as for his hard work in preparation for the fight. Plus, the reigning UFC Featherweight champ has an incredible chin, the proof being that he’s been KO-ed only once in his career.
It happened more than 10 years ago in his fourth fight since switching from rugby league to MMA. And it happened in the welterweight division. What’s interesting is that his only other loss happened in the fight for the UFC Lightweight title against Islam Makhachev last February. In the 145lbs weight division, Volk has nothing but wins. And our UFC 290 prediction is that he’ll keep on winning.
Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja
Alexandre Pantoja is one of only three fighters who defeated Brandon Moreno since he joined the UFC in 2016. He’s also the only one in the world to beat Moreno twice.
The first Moreno vs. Pantoja fight happened in the 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2016, in which we saw the Brazilian win by submission. Their second duel happened five years ago, with “The Assassin Baby” losing by decision this time.
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However, Moreno has improved his game a lot since then. Primarily a grappler, he’s become a very dangerous striker as evident from the fact that each of his last two wins happened by TKO.
Both of those wins happened in title fights. First, he won the interim UFC Flyweight title against Kai Kara-France; then, he took the championship belt away from Deiveson Figueiredo in their quadrilogy fight.
Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus du Plessis
Robert Whittaker is a guy who defeated Yoel Romero twice, as well as Derek Brunson, Jared Cannonier, Kelvin Gastelum, and most recently, Marvin Vettori. He did get finished times in his MMA career that started more than 14 years ago. The first two of those losses happened in his early fighting days (in 2011 and 2014).
His most recent loss inside the distance happened against UFC Middleweight champ, Israel Adesanya. Actually, “The Last Stylebender” is the only man who won against Whittaker in the last nine years. We honestly doubt Dricus du Plessis can join Adesanya’s one-man club. Instead, our prediction for the Whittaker vs. du Plessis is that the Australian fighter will win.
Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker
Jalin Turner lands 5.63 significant strikes per minute, which explains why his knockout-to-win ratio is just under 70%. He’s also a very decent grappler, the evidence being that he also has four wins by submission.
Unfortunately for him, all this applies to Dan Hooker as well. Plus, “The Hangman” has way more experience fighting at the highest level. He’s fought some elite fighters in his career, including Yair Rodriguez, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Islam Makhachev, and Arnold Allen. Truth be told, he lost to all of those fighters, but he did get some nice wins over the years as well.
Some of his notable wins include those over Jim Miller, Gilbert Burns, Al Iaquinta, and, most recently, Claudio Puelles. Meanwhile, the best fighter Jalin Turner’s defeated is Jamie Mullarkey. Knowing all this, we think there’s a good chance that Hooker is going to upset the odds on July 8.
Bo Nickal vs. Tresean Gore
Bo Nickal is the biggest favorite of all the fighters on the main card of UFC 290. We can’t say we’re surprised as he’s way, way better than his opponent.
The former college wrestling champion is 4-0 in his professional career MMA career, with three wins by submission and one by knockout. He’s seen as a future title contender, but on the road to the championship fight, he needs to record a few more wins.
Beating Tresean Gore should not be a problem for this guy. It’s not just that Nickal is a great fighter, it’s also that Gore is not. The 29-year-old former TUF contestant is 4-2 overall in his pro career, with a 1-2 record since joining the UFC.