UFC 280: Full Picks, Predictions, Preview & More!

UFC 280: Oliveira vs Makhachev Fight Poster

One of the most heavily anticipated UFC events of 2022 is quickly approaching with just under 48 hours remaining until the first two fighters make their walks to the octagon to kickstart UFC 280.

The event currently has 13 fights scheduled pending the results of weigh-ins tomorrow and will be headlined by Charles Oliviera vs Islam Makhachev for the UFC Lightweight championship. Aljamain Sterling will also be defending his UFC Bantamweight title against former champ TJ Dillashaw in the co-main event.

Even after this card had two fights drop from the lineup during the past week, it remains one of the most stacked events top to bottom that the promotion has put together recently.

UFC 280 Needing Art Fight Poster
Is the top of the UFC 280 lineup the most stacked card of 2022? Artwork by Needing Art (links under our Resources page)

The top six fights on the card will either have championships on the line or will go a long way towards deciding future contenders in multiple divisions. The winners in those non-title bouts will likely find themselves either in title matches for their next fights or at least in official eliminators to determine the next challengers.

Below are the full OddSmokerMMA Picks, Predictions, and Previews for all of the 13 fights currently scheduled for UFC 280 this Saturday:

Karol Rosa – Lansberg a fighter known mainly for her striking who is coming off back-to-back losses, the last of which saw her get absolutely demolished on the feet. Rosa enters this one 13 years younger than her opponent and has gone 4-1 so far in the UFC. It is a little alarming that she’s coming off a loss to Sarah McMann, who is another 40+ fighter, but she has a completely different fighting style than Lansberg. McMann won on the strength of landing four takedowns, something Landsberg is highly unlikely to do in this one. I expect Rosa to pick up a fairly comfortable win in this one as long as she can stay safe on the feet, but she has never been KOed, and I don’t see it happening here either. I like Karol Rosa to get this one done by decision or possibly via a late stoppage in the third.

Muhammad Mokaev – Mokaev is one of my favorite picks on this card and I would be stunned if he doesn’t keep his perfect record intact and move to 9-0 in his professional career. Malcolm Gordon isn’t a slouch and has stopped 11 of his 14 career wins, but he’s also been stopped in all 5 of his losses and is 10 years older than Mokaev. While Gordon could potentially find some luck on the feet, I highly doubt it will be there for long unless Mokaev allows it. The undefeated 22-year-old prospect is one of the most dominant grapplers in the promotion and will almost certainly look to get Gordon on the ground early. Mokaev is coming off a dominant decision victory in his last fight, but I think he can get put away this one inside the distance and in the first two rounds.

Muhammad Mokaev

AJ Dobson – This is one of my less confident picks on the card, but I do give the slight lean towards Dobson to get the win here. Armen Petrosyan is extremely dangerous on the feet with 6 of his 7 wins coming via knockout, however, he can also be grounded out as we saw in his last fight against Caio Borralho. Dobson is equally dangerous; however, his game extends further than being a solid striker. I think Dobson can potentially success in the striking, but he can certainly have it in the takedown department if it gets to that point. In a fight featuring two fighters with high finishing potential, I’m usually going to take the one with the more well-rounded game that has multiple opportunities to get the job done. Dobson is the pick and think it’ll be via an early knockout or a tight decision.

Gadzhi Omarghadziev – I usually don’t pick against fighters with “Nurmagomedov” attached to their name, but I’m going to make an exception for this one. Omarghadziev is coming off a loss in his UFC debut but was undefeated prior to that and is dropping down in weight for this one. Abubakar Nurmagomedov is a solid fighter and there’s a reason is a slight favorite with the sportsbooks. However, he’s been stopped in all three of his losses and think Omarghadzhiev has more than enough to put this one away inside the distance and pull the upset here. He’s stopped 11 of his 13 wins with 8 of them by knockout, and as long as he doesn’t have any issues making the weight, I definitely plan to drop a bet on his power to carry down in this one.

Lucas Almeida – I couldn’t find an underdog who I loved to save my life on last weekend’s UFC Vegas 62 card and here we are with a second straight upset pick. Almeida has a 100% finish rate on his 14-1 career record and has never been stopped. Zubaira Tukhugov is a good fighter, but there’s no where that he is going to be particularly better in this fight. He has to potential to get it on the ground, however, I think Almeida would still be extremely live for a submission even if he’s taken down. Almeida has twice the striking volume and will have a 3″ advantage in both height and reach. I think Almeida will be the more aggressive fighter in this one and will eventually find a stoppage.

Nikita Krylov – This one is another of my less confident picks on this card, but Krylov is on the receiving end of my slight lean on this one. He’s stopped 26 of his 28 wins with a decent split of 11 knockouts and 15 submissions, making him the more well-rounded righter in this one in my opinion. Volkan Ozedemir is more than capable of finding his own stopped with 13 in 18 wins, however, 12 of those have come via knockout. I think Krylov could potentially find success on the feet (he’ll have 1″ height, 3″ reach advantages) and if not, I’m confident he will be the more aggressive fighter on the ground. Ozedemir has been stopped in 4 of his 6 losses and I think Krylov puts him away in this one as well.

Caio Borralho – Another fighter that I really like on this card, Borralho has been pretty dominant so far in the UFC and I don’t see that stopping here. Makhmud Muradov has stopped 80% of his 25 wins with 17 of them coming via knockout, so don’t make the mistake of thinking he doesn’t have the power to end this one. However, Borralho has never been stopped and while he’s very clearly a better grappler than he is a striker, he’s not terrible on the feet either. Muradov definitely has some upset potential here, but there’s a giant red flag from his last fight that I just can’t ignore – he was taken down 3 times by Gerald Meerschaert and eventually subbed in the second round of his last fight. Borralho should be able to find enough success with his takedowns to ground Muradov and eventually put him away. Give me Borralho via submission in the second or third round of this one.

Sean Brady – This should be a very interesting fight between two fighters with pretty similar styles, however, I feel pretty good about Brady’s ability to pass the biggest test of his career so far when he faces Belal Muhammad at UFC 280. Brady is 15-0 in his career and is 5-0 so far during his time in the UFC. Muhammad has a very clear advantage in the experience department, however, that’s pretty much where his advantages end. Muhammad will have Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner for this fight, but unless he plans on jumping in and taking Belal’s place, I’m not sure it will matter much. Both have excellent takedown defense (each have defended better than 87% of attempted takedowns while in the UFC), but I think Brady is the better and more dangerous fighter in the striking and should more than hold his own in the grappling department. There’s a pretty good chance this one goes the distance and I think Brady has the tools to secure a huge win as he tries to take a jump up the UFC welterweight rankings by beating Muhammad.

Manon Fiorot – I usually hate picking fighters to beat Katlyn Chookagian by decision, but thankfully Manon Fiorot has the potential to not only beat her on the judges’ scorecards, but also finish her inside the distance. Fiorot has a 9-1 career record, and her only loss was via split decision in her pro debut. She’s 4-0 in the UFC and better than Chookagian in almost every aspect of MMA. Chookagian will have the slight size advantage, but Fiorot has a dominant advantage in striking differential numbers, as well as in the takedown department. “Bad” decisions are definitely a thing to consider in women’s MMA, particularly when facing the decision queen herself, but Fiorot should definitely have the better striking and takedown numbers here, as well as damage. Chookagian has been KOed in 2 of her 4 losses so it’s possible Fiorot can get her out of there inside the distance. If not, I think she wins a fairly comfortable decision here and moves a step closer towards facing Valentina Shevchenko in the future.

Fight Graphic for Dariush vs Gamrot

Mateusz Gamrot – Gamrot is another one of my favorite picks for this event and I think he will take a massive step towards fighting for the UFC lightweight title sometime next year. Dariush is a pretty solid fighter, but he’s coming off a pretty serious injury recovery and a lengthy layoff. Neither bode very well when facing Gamrot, who for my money should be undefeated in his professional career, but suffered his sole loss was a split decision in his UFC debut that could’ve definitely gone the other way. Dariush has also been stopped in all 4 of his career losses and has been caught multiple times on the feet in his recent fights. I don’t think he’ll be able to survive the constant pressure that Gamrot will bring to this fight and Gamrot should be able to get him out of there down the stretch. He’s won bonuses in 4 of his 5 UFC fights, so expect this fight to provide plenty of fireworks and/or a very violent finish.

Petr Yan – Personally, this was the hardest fight of the card for me to settle on for a pick, but in the end, I think I’m leaning ever so slightly with the experience of Yan to get this one done. Sean O’Malley is one of my favorite fighters and it makes me a little sick picking him to lose, but there’s too big of an experience gap here to ignore. O’Malley could potentially take the first round if Yan gets off to a slow start, but if he doesn’t put him away in those first few minutes, I think this one will flip pretty heavily into the favor of Yan. Yan will be at a size and length disadvantage, but that’s nothing new to him. As long as he survives an early potential onslaught from O’Malley, Yan definitely has the ability to make up two rounds down the stretch as he will definitely be the better grappler here. As much as I personally hope to see these two stand and trade on the feet, I think Yan will take the smart approach and ground O’Malley. I think Yan gets this one done via decision or potentially late KO if Sean finds himself stuck on this ground and unable to get up.

TJ Dillashaw – These two should put on a very entertaining co-main event, as Dillashaw looks to regain a championship that he feels still belongs to him. Unfortunately for him, it currently resides around the waist of Aljamain Sterling, and removing it from there probably won’t come easily. Sterling showed in his last fight against Petr Yan he has the ability to ground an opponent out, but that’s going to be a tough game plan to repeat here since Dillashaw actually has better takedown numbers and defense than Sterling. Dillashaw should also have a pretty solid advantage on the feet and has never been submitted in his career, so I’m having trouble seeing a clear path for Aljo to retain his championship. I think Dillashaw is the more dangerous fighter, and he should be able to regain the UFC bantamweight title via decision in this one.

Islam Makhachev – I’ve flipped back and forth on this fight multiple times. Even though I have an early play already out with Charles Oliveira winning, I’m pretty sure Islam Makhachev is going to find a way to survive the very extremely real threat that Oliveira will provide early on in this one. Both of these fighters are live for a flash finish inside the opening minutes; however, I think Makhachev will gain the advantage as time ticks on in this one. Oliveira has never actually seen the championship rounds of a fight, despite fighting in three championship fights. Makhachev has only lost once in his career and it was via and early knockout, which Oliveira has already vowed to duplicate at UFC 280. However, Makhachev is the better grappler and should be able to find off the constant submission attempts that will undoubtedly come his way. Once he gets there, I think he’ll eventually be able to put Oliveira away sometime in the middle rounds, likely via a submission of his own. I would be surprised if Makhachev isn’t the fighter wearing the UFC Lightweight championship around his waist at the end of UFC 280.

Please be sure to check out our early UFC 280 bets that we have out for this card and also check back later for the full OddSmokerMMA UFC 280 betting card after weigh-ins are completed tomorrow.

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