UFC 245 Betting Tips, Picks and Predictions

We kicked off December with solid profits on both prefight and Live Betting last weekend at UFC Washington.

We saw Makhmud Muradov come through for us in a big way to help us kick the month off with a win. Betting on huge favorites isn’t exciting or impressive, but I’ve always looked at these kinds of bets as a way to earn some relatively risk-free money. The odds are mostly irrelevant to me, all I care about is making money, and if there’s value in the odds, there’s value. It doesn’t matter if you’re betting a 1.10 | -1000 | 1/10 favorite or a 10.00 | +1000 | 10/1 underdog.

The Live Betting money Train kept on choo chooing after we banked another solid profit. With so many competitive matchups taking place this weekend at UFC 245, I’m hoping that we can keep it going for the rest of the month.

Fight Betting Tip The bet with the best risk to reward ratio
Colby Covington vs Kamaru Usman Considering a bet on Usman Usman to win
Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway 3 units on Max Holloway to win at odds of 1.60 | -167 | 3/5 Holloway to win
Amanda Nunes vs Germaine De Randamie No bet De Randamie to win
Jose Aldo vs Marlon Moraes No bet Moraes to win
Petr Yan vs Urijah Faber No bet Yan to win
Geoff Neal vs Mike Perry No bet Neal to win
Ketlen Viera vs Irene Aldana Considering a bet on Viera Viera to win
Ian Heinisch vs Omari Akhmedov No bet Heinisch to win
Ben Saunders vs Matt Brown No bet Saunders to win
Chase Hooper vs Daniel Teymur No bet Teymur to win
Brandon Moreno vs Kai Kara-France No bet Kara-France to win
Jessica Eye vs Viviane Araujo No bet Araujo to win
Oskar Piechota vs Punahele Soriano No bet Soriano to win

Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway Betting Tip and Prediction

Max Holloway, to beat Alexander Volkanovski is a bet that I have been planning to place for months. I was waiting until fight week for liquidity to improve. In my mind, from hazy memories, Holloway was a free money type bet like Makhmud Muradov last week. I was planning to go huge on him; he was going to be my biggest financial bet of the year.

Fight research is so important because you often have a vision in your mind of how a matchup will play out, but studying fight footage in the cold light of day will often show you things that you completely forgot about. Your mind will play tricks on you, and it happened when I researched this fight.

Before researching this fight, I didn’t give Volkanovski much of a chance of beating Max Holloway. I was planning to recommend a 5 unit bet to you guys, and I was also preparing to bet just under £10,000 on him myself. Unfortunately, after watching footage of both guys, I don’t feel anywhere near as confident now. Max is still worth a bet at the current odds, but Volkanovski can cause him problems. First, let me explain the reasons why Holloway is a good bet at the current odds.

On the most basic of levels, I believe that Holloway is a good bet this weekend because I don’t believe Volkanovski has the offensive wrestling or ground game to take Holloway down and control him there. Volkanovski’s grappling technique is not very good. Volkanovski is a hard-nosed, blue-collar fighter who has had some success in the UFC with wrestling by out hustling his opponents with his strength, athleticism and relentless pressure. This style of fighting can get you a long way in MMA, but eventually, you need the technical ability to back up the hustle when you start to face a higher level of opponent.

All of Volkanovski’s takedown entries come above hip height, and he doesn’t possess any chain wrestling. His wrestling is very rudimentary, which makes it extremely unlikely that he’ll be able to take Holloway down and hold him down. Holloway’s takedown defense isn’t bulletproof, but he does have great balance, and he’s difficult to take down unless you can get in deep on his hips. Volkanovski really struggles to get in deep on the hips of his opponents.

Volkanovski also likes to win fights by grinding on his opponents against the cage, but it’s going to be tough to control Holloway in this position because Holloway doesn’t allow himself to be in the clinch for long. He’s always looking to use the overhook and break the grip of his opponents to circle away from them and get his back off the cage. The size difference in this matchup will also make it difficult for Volkanovski to control Holloway in the clinch. [more on that in a minute]

Now that we have established from fight research that it is unlikely that Volkanovski is going to be able to take Holloway down and control him, the only way he can win this fight is by flash KO or by out striking Holloway across 5 rounds. This isn’t impossible, but based on past performances, it is very unlikely.

Even the most hardcore Alexander Volkanovski fan would have to admit that Max Holloway is a significantly better striker, and this is why I believe there’s value on Holloway at the current odds. Holloway has excellent Boxing, good distance control, a granite chin, and cardio for days. He also throws a wide range of strikes and can fight at a high pace for 25 minutes.

We’ve seen Volkanovski start to take a lot of damage now that he is fighting a higher level of opponent. He got wobbled by Darren Elkins and dropped twice by Chad Mendes. Earlier, we said that Volkanovski’s grappling is quite rudimentary, and the same can be said about his striking. He stands right in front of his opponent and doesn’t use much footwork. His combinations are also quite basic. He should be a sitting duck for Max Holloway. If the fight stays standing, Max should be able to box his face off.

You will often hear me say in the Chat Room that water is wet, the sky is blue and size matters in MMA. My advice to anyone betting on this sport is to try and make life easier for yourself. If ever you see a guy with a huge size advantage over their opponent, you should consider betting the big guy. At the very least, you don’t want to be betting on the small guy. Nothing will change the fact that Holloway is a much bigger, more physically imposing athlete than Alexander Volkanovski and this gives him a big advantage in this matchup.

Reach is the most important metric when evaluating how much size difference will impact a fight, and Volkanovski will actually have a 2.5-inch reach advantage over Holloway. Having said that, the size difference in this fight is so extreme that it undoubtedly gives Holloway a huge edge. It will be much more difficult for Volkanovski to gain control of Holloway’s body in grappling exchanges, much more difficult to hold him down if he does get a takedown and much, much harder to get inside Boxing range and land power strikes. Holloway being the significantly bigger man is a huge advantage here in almost every single aspect of this fight.

At this point in the betting tip, you’re probably wondering why we’re not selling the house, the car, and our daughter’s pet Hamster to bet on Holloway because he seemingly ticks every box. From my research, I can tell you that Holloway ticks almost every box, but there are two huge red flags with him that could cost him this fight, and they’re both interconnected.

The 1st red flag is that he kills himself to make the 145-pound Featherweight limit, and we know that the chin is one of the things to suffer from a brutal weight cut. Holloway’s chin has looked legendary up until this point in his career, but as he’s getting older, you don’t know when all those brutal weight cuts are going to start to catch up to him.

The 2nd red flag is that Max has pretty bad striking defense, which you wouldn’t expect from such a great Boxer. I think Max’s problem is that he is so comfortable in the pocket and so happy to roll with shots and slip shots that he has no problem just sitting in the pocket and taking a shot to give 3. The problem is, he never seems to block right-handed power strikes or even see them coming. This results in him taking a lot of unnecessary damage, and we’ve seen him wobbled a few times because of it over the last few years.

Max’s questionable striking defense probably won’t cost him in this fight because he has a granite chin, and Volkanovski doesn’t carry that much power in his hands. Volkanovski’s right hook is also not that dangerous, and the size difference will make it difficult for Volk to get into a range where he could land it anyway. Despite this, it’s worth noting that I’m just a geeky Welsh guy that sits in his pants all day watching fights. If I can spot this weakness in Max’s defense, I’m sure that a striking genius like Eugene Bareman at City Kickboxing can also spot this weakness and figure out a strategy that Volkanovski can use to exploit it.

At this point, it is important to remember that every bet has risk factors. You’ll never find a bet without any risk, and at Max’s current odds of around 1.60 | -167 | 3/5, I think he’s a good bet because those odds carry an implied probability of just 63%. When trying to cap Holloway’s chances of winning this fight, I think it’s fair to give him around a 70% chance of winning because this is likely to be a standup fight, and Holloway is a significantly better striker. The size difference also helps, and the fact that Volkanovski doesn’t really carry the kind of 1 shot KO power to make Holloway pay for his leaky striking defense. Volk could KO Max, especially after a brutal weight cut, but based on past performances, it’s unlikely. If anything, you could cap Holloway higher than 70%, but I like to be more conservative.

Based on my research for this fight, I am confident that Holloway is a good bet, and he should come through for us, just don’t go selling your son’s Xbox to bet on him. Volkanovski is tough and will most likely make this a competitive fight. Anything can happen in MMA, and while Max Holloway is world-class and a very difficult stylistic matchup for Alexander Volkanovski, Volkanovski is a tough, well-rounded fighter who is ruthlessly consistent. He’s not going to go down without a fight. You need to take guys like that seriously, and you can never count them out.

At the end of the day, it’s a fight to the death until the referee steps in and stops it or 25 minutes on the clock expires. A lot of crazy stuff can happen in a fight to the death.

Reasons for betting on Max Holloway

  • Max Holloway has a significant size advantage over Alexander Volkanovski. This gives Holloway an advantage in grappling, striking and in the clinch.
  • Alexander Volkanovski’s wrestling is very rudimentary. It shouldn’t cause Holloway a problem.
  • Max Holloway has solid takedown defense. He has excellent balance and he’s difficult to hold down.
  • Max Holloway doesn’t accept being controlled in the clinch for long. He does a good job of using the overhook on one side, fighting hands on the other, breaking the grip of his opponent and quickly circling his back off the cage.
  • Max Holloway is extremely tough, he has a granite chin and cardio for days.
  • This fight will most likely be a standup fight and Max Holloway is a significantly better striker than Alexander Volkanovski.
  • Volkanovski’s striking is very basic. He stands right in front of his opponent and a lot of his power shots fall short.
  • Alexander Volkanovski has questionable striking defense. He took a lot of damage in the fights against Elkins and Mendes. Aldo also landed quite easily on the rare occasions that he let his hands go.
  • This could quickly turn into a checkmate style of matchup if Volkanovski can’t do anything to shut down the Boxing combinations of Max.
  • Holloway throws a high volume of strikes and a very diverse range of strikes.
  • Max Holloway understands the importance of winning rounds. He does a great job of finishing every round strong.
  • Holloway has a lot of 25 minute, 5 round title fight experience. Volkanovski is still quite inexperienced against high level competition. He has never competed in a 5 round fight before.

Risk Factors with betting on Max Holloway

  • Max Holloway’s weight cut to 145 pounds is absolutely brutal. This could effect his chin.
  • Max Holloway has bad striking defense. He doesn’t really block right-handed power strikes and tends to take a lot of unnecessary damage because of it.
  • Volkanovski is extremely tough. There’s no quit in him. He’ll stay in Max’s face for as long as he can.
  • Volkanovski appears to be able to recover quickly. He got hurt bad by Chad Mendes twice and was able to recover fast.
  • Holloway has become more tactical in some of his past fights. Switching to the Jose Aldo / GSP style of trying to steal rounds in the later part of a round. This could result in the fight being closer than it needs to be. It’s a trap that many long term Champions fall into as they try to protect their belt. We kind of saw Shevchenko do it in her last fight against Carmouche. They try not to lose, instead of try to win.

My Betting Tip

Max Holloway to win

Recommended Stake

3 Units

[3% of your bankroll]

Odds

Decimal = 1.60
Moneyline = -167
Fractional = 3/5

63%

Implied Probability

The bookies believe that Max Holloway has a 63% chance of beating Alexander Volkanovski based on their current odds.

70%

Our Probability

I believe that Max Holloway has a 70% chance of beating Alexander Volkanovski based on my extensive research and analysis.

I'm a Professional Gambler from the UK. I specialize in betting on MMA. I've got 1 kid, a Shih Tzu and I've been making money from gambling for around 8 years now.

14 Comments

  1. Dang it. I’m actually considering a bet on Volk. Holloway won’t have the power to put Volk away in the early rounds, coupled with a bad weight cut (tbd) could be disastrous for Max. Give me Volk via TKO if good enough odds.

  2. So in Monday without any research or tape watching, my mind thought volk would be a solid test for Max, possible real problem, Tuesday evening and i feel the same as Allsopp and am eating my monday wild statements, planning on a tasty Holloway Christmas bet 🤑🤑🤑Let it rain, Thank the heavens research is done and when someone of the caliber of Allsopp agrees and backs up thoughts, makes you feel million times safer, 😁

  3. Max is the better fighter for sure but to be honest im betting volkanovski here for the same reason i had with the aldo fight. Even though aldo was more technical as a striker, more range of strikes, high level bjj black belt and one of the highest takedown defenses in the history of the ufc. Im the biggest aldo fan and to be fair I think Volkanovski simply just beat aldo with brute strength, people say aldo looked off or… not himself but i personally just think aldo couldn’t physically get volkanovski off him because he’s so powerful. Max has reach/height advantage, good footwork, high fight IQ and output so maybe he can pick apart volkanovski from range but i think max hasnt fought a guy this powerful a grappler could get wet blanketed to a decision or late stoppage.

    Can you believe volkanovski weighed over 90kgs when he was playing rugby?

    1. Volk beat Aldo with feints, he never sat down on a punch the whole fight, not much chain wrestling, mainly taps to the leg and odd strike with lots of feints. Aldo lost looking for the perfect counter that never came and he beat himself tbh. Power ain’t likely to be a thing, I really don’t think Volk is gonna be a sitting duck or what Chris said striking but Max’s frame is a thing in the 145 division, hard to bet against Max without seeing round 1 cos of that frame.. I rate Volk’s striking defense more than others but he has been dropped

  4. I understand your feeling, alot out there have a similar feeling, i cant put a finger on why volk worries me but he does, watched fights and clearly holloway better from every aspect, same as aldo was over volk but volk got the win in brazil, he controlled the aldo fight very well, have to trust my research but i wouldnt be surprised for reasons am not sure haha

  5. I am interested in hearing the logic in potentially taking Usman over Covington. I faded Covington against Lawler earlier this year while in Vegas and had regrets as soon as I left the window. Then I proceeded to watch Colby literally beat up the ghost of Robbie Lawler. At current odds I’m considering taking Colby – not simply based on the statements above. But I am very interested in hearing the research for the Usman/Covington bout. Thanks Chris –

    1. Me too. I can’t see how Colby doesn’t win. I think Colby can get taken down but I don’t think he can get held down. Don’t know. May be wrong but I think it should be a fairly boring fight if Usman tries to wrestle but he’s said in the past Colby is better. I read somewhere he said that. So if that’s true does he stand the whole fight? If he does and Colby uses better defense than he did against Lawler then there’s a low chance of Usman landing a big shot and KOing him. Lawler couldn’t so why would Usman be able to do it.

      1. I agree. I almost see this fight as a pick ‘em, 50/50. At current odds of +150, Colby is only getting an implied probability of 40%. I’m just really interested in seeing your research, Chris. And where you cap Colby. His wrestling is obviously top notch but he also showed me a lot staying on the feet & out boxing Robbie Lawler. Just feels like the value currently lies with Colby so I really want to hear your take. I don’t want to fall prey to the recency bias of the Lawler bout.

        1. I rewatched the RDA fight. Colby got in a bad spot in one round. Got taken down I think and still didn’t really have good striking defense. That’s what had me worried the whole Lawler fight that in his volume of punches that Lawler would land a clean one and finish the fight.

          But I watched his breakdown of Usman Covington and I think he says Usman is better in every aspect of MMA. I don’t really see that. I think the boxing and wrestling are at least neck and neck between the 2. But I honestly haven’t watched as many fights as Allsop so I may be wrong.

          His video of it is on YouTube. Check it out. See what you think.

          1. Thanks Jburgan just saw the breakdown posted and I’ll give it a watch. I was the same, waiting for Lawler to land a clean shot against Colby the entire bout. When I rewatch that fight it seems to me that either A) Lawler didn’t seem to have much motivation, a point furthered by his lackadaisical post-fight speech or B) He went in prepared but quickly found he was outmatched by Colby and phoned it in. I just can’t shake that there’s value on Colby given only a 35-40% probability by the books. I’m not gonna lay the house on it either way. Only 1 unit on Colby at the moment.

  6. Teymur seems like a good bet to me. He´s wild and overextends frequently which might get him taken down but even so; his takedown recovery and scrmbling ability aren´t bad at all. Cardio is alright. Probably wins by ko. Hooper is still an awful striker.

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