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Holloway vs Volkanovski II Expert Odds Analysis and Pick

Max Holloway and Alex Volkanovski fighting at UFC 245

The swirling rumors and building excitement came to a head on June 9 when UFC president Dana White finally announced the location of Fight Island and some of the fights that will be taking place there.

The first event will be UFC 251 on July 11 and it is a stacked card with three title fights. One of those bouts is a rematch from UFC 245 as Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski makes his title defense against the former featherweight champion, Max “Blessed” Holloway.

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Online sportsbook Bovada has listed odds for this bout, placing the champion, Volkanovski, as a -225 favorite with the challenger, Holloway, coming back as a +175 underdog.

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Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway Betting Odds
Alexander Volkanovski-225
Max Holloway+175

Odds as of July 10 at Bovada

Odds Analysis

It’s been a while since we have seen plus odds next to Max Holloway’s name. He has been the betting favorite in nine of his last 10 fights, closing as an underdog only when he fought for the title against Jose Aldo at UFC 212. Blessed even was a sizable -265 favorite when he made the jump to the lightweight division to try to win the interim title vs Dustin Poirier but lost by unanimous decision. Max was a -175 favorite when he fought Volkanovski in December.

While the former champion has had his shine for years, the new and current champion was slighted by bookmakers recently. Volkanovski has been the betting underdog in his last three fights (Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, Max Holloway), winning all three of those and earning a profit of $345 based on $100 wagers for those who tailed him.

What Happened in Holloway vs Volkanovski 1?

Heading into the first fight, the narrative was that Volkanovski had to bring the fight to the floor to win because outstriking Holloway would be a difficult task. Additionally, The Great averaged 2.16 takedowns per 15 minutes but Blessed stuffed 85 percent of takedown attempts. 

On the feet, both fighters have great output, averaging over six significant strikes per minute and defensively making their opponents miss about 60 percent of their strike attempts. The biggest factor in the first fight that led to Volkanovski’s unanimous-decision victory was his leg kicks, which he started early in the fight and continued through the duration of the bout.

In the end, Volkanovski outstruck Holloway 157-134. The Australian was a more effective striker than the American overall and really took care of the fight through the first three rounds. While Blessed did have opportunities late, it wasn’t enough.

How Will This Fight Play Out?

I think we are going to see a bout very similar to the first one. These two fighters have fun in the cage – they were talking to each other throughout their first match, acknowledging when the other would land a good shot and firing back themselves. It was clear that Volkanovski’s leg kicks did damage, though Holloway claims they didn’t.

When Blessed switched from orthodox to southpaw, he took away The Great’s leg kicks and started to have success hitting his target. If Holloway wants to reclaim his title, he better have practiced checking kicks rather than simply trying to jump out of the way and perhaps switching to southpaw more often as well.

For Volkanovski to retain his strap, I think he has to fight the same as he did the first time by continuing to land those leg kicks and slow Max down while taking rounds away. Additionally, it was clear any time Holloway was orthodox that the leg kick was coming so I think if Volkanovski changes up the game plan by coming to the body or head with the kicks, it will keep Holloway more on his game.

Prediction: Max Holloway (+175)