I’m running a bit behind this week with the content schedule, but there was no way I’m missing getting picks and predictions out for tomorrow’s UFC 284 PPV card.
Although this event lost multiple major fights, including ones featuring Robert Whittaker and Kai Kara-France, there are still 13 fights remaining on the UFC’s first card in Australia since 2019.
None of those fights are bigger than Alex Volkanovski taking on Islam Makhachev for the UFC Lightweight championship and attempting to become the fifth fighter in promotion history to add being a simultaneous double champ to their resume.
With Volkanovski occupied at a higher weight class for the moment, the company decided to create an interim UFC Featherweight title, which Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will be fighting for in the co-main event of the card.
Before we jump into the picks, be sure to also check out our WagerWire tab for a deep-dive breakdown of Volkanovski vs Makhachev. Also be sure to check out my UFC 284 WagerWire Best Bets for tomorrow night.
With that out of the way, let’s jump right into the OddSmokerMMA UFC 284 Picks & Predictions for tomorrow’s card:
Zubaira Tukhugov – Tukhugov is 20-5-1 with eight stoppages and is 2-2-1 in his last five fights. He’s coming off a win but has lost and/or struggled against his tougher competition so far in the UFC. He’s facing 13-3 Elves Brenner who has twelve stoppages and is making his debut with the promotion. I have zero interest in betting this fight, but Tukhugov should be able to avoid the submission threats of Brenner here and likely pick up the win via decision. Brenner is 12-0 inside the distance, but only 1-3 on the scorecards.
Blake Bilder – Bilder is 7-0-1 with five stoppages and will be making his UFC debut against Shane Young. Young is 13-6 with ten stoppages and will have the experience advantage on his side. However, that experience hasn’t all been great in the UFC, going 2-3 and losing to his tougher competition. Bilder has stopped each of his past four wins, and while he might not get the stoppage here, I think he’ll be able to do enough to pick up the decision win in his debut.
Loma Lookboonmee – Lookboonmee is 7-3 with only one stoppage and she is 3-2 in her last five fights. She’ll be taking on Elise Reed, who is 6-2 with two knockouts. Reed has gone 2-2 in the UFC so far, with both of her losses by KO/TKO. Lookboonmee is the better fighter here pretty much everywhere. She has the better striking differential and takedown numbers. Reed has been taken down every fight so far in the UFC, while Lookboonmee has had 4 takedowns in two of her last three fights and she has outstrucken her opponents in five of her last six. Lookboonmee should get this one via decision or late stoppage via KO/TKO.
Jack Jenkins – Jenkins is 10-2 with eight stoppages and making his debut after a successful showing on Dana White’s Contender Series. He’s won seven consecutive fights heading into this weekend’s matchup with Dan Shainis. Shainis is 12-4 with ten stoppages and was absolutely dismantled in his UFC debut. Jenkins will be the local fighter with the crowd likely heavily on his side, and he has said this week that he intends to finish Shainis and I’m inclined to believe him. I think Jenkins will get this one done via stoppage, likely via KO/TKO in the first two rounds.
Jamie Mullarkey – Mullarkey is 15-5 with twelve stoppages and has won three of his last five fights, including a tight split decision in his most recent outing. He’s facing 11-0 Francisco Prado, who will bring a 100% finishing rate into his UFC debut against Mullarkey. I am not particularly confident in either one of these fighters here in this matchup, but I love for one of them to get the finish. Ultimately, I’m leaning with the experience of Mullarkey to get catch Prado and likely get him out of there in the first or second round.
Kleydson Rodrigues – Rodrigues is 7-2 with five stoppages and coming off a very close split decision loss in his UFC debut last year. He’ll be taking on UFC newcomer Shannon Ross, who was signed off a loss on Dana White’s Contender Series. Despite the loss, Ross was in an absolute dogfight and had unknown underlying medical issues going on as well. He is 13-6 with eight stoppages, but he’s also been stopped in half of his losses. Rodrigues is an extremely dangerous striker who should be able to out-strike and cause more damage enroute to a decision or late stoppage.
Josh Culibao – Culibao is 10-1-1 with five knockouts and has won his previous two fights. He’s 2-1-1 in the UFC thus far and will be facing Melsik Baghdasaryan this weekend. Baghdasaryan is 7-1 with five knockouts and has gone 3-0 in the UFC and DWCS. This is probably the toughest one on the card for me to pick, but ultimately leaning with Culibao to get this one done in a very tight decision. He will have a slight height and reach advantage, which I think will help him here in a matchup that will likely take place exclusively on the feet.
Tyson Pedro – Pedro is 9-3 with a 100% stoppage rate with all of his wins in the first round. He’s 2-0 since returning to the promotion after a lengthy layoff and has won both of his fights via KO/TKO. He’ll be facing Modestas Bukauskas, who is 15-5 with eleven stoppages and making his return to the company after a successful stint with Cage Warriors. Both of these guys are nasty finishers; however, Pedro is able to mix up his weapons better than his opponent here. Bukauskas was 1-3 in his previous UFC run and has been stopped three times in the first round. While this one could go into the second, I think Pedro will find the stoppage sooner than later and get this one done via KO/TKO or submission.
Alonzo Menifield – Menifield is 13-2 with twelve stoppages and ten of them via KO/TKO. He’ll have his hands full facing 12-3 Jimmy Crute this weekend. Both of these guys are extremely dangerous fighters with a ton of round one stoppages. Crute is coming off a 14-month layoff and back-to-back losses via TKO/KO and think he is trouble for another one here. I definitely love the “under” bets in this matchup more than either fighter to win, but I will be leaning with Menifield to get this one done with another KO/TKO.
Parker Porter – Porter is 13-7 in his career with eight stoppages and coming off a loss to Jailton Almeida in his last fight. He’ll be facing heavy hitter Justin Tafa this weekend. Tafa is 5-3 with a 100% knockout rate, but he’s obviously 0-3 when he hasn’t found one. Porter is the better all-around fighter in this matchup and will have a sizeable advantage in the grappling in particular. I think he’ll fend off the early knockout threat from Tafa and likely find a late stoppage of his own in the latter rounds. Porter has been stopped in six of his seven losses, however, so tread lightly if betting this one.
Jack Della Maddalena – Maddalena is 13-2 with twelve stoppages and eleven of them via KO/TKO. He’s 3-0 in the UFC all of them have come via nasty stoppages. He’ll be facing his toughest competition to date this weekend in 16-4 Randy Brown. Brown has a ton of UFC experience and has eleven stoppages of his own. Brown will have sizeable 4″ advantages in both height and reach here, which might help him early on. However, once Maddalena adjusts to the distance, I fully expect him to start connecting with power. JDM lands 8.45 significant strikes per minute and is one of the best boxers in the welterweight division. Brown has been stopped three times in the second round, and I expect Maddalena to get the stoppage here in the latter rounds as well.
Yair Rodriguez – Rodriguez is 15-3 with nine stoppages and will be facing 18-2 Josh Emmett for the interim UFC Featherweight title. Rodriguez is 3-1-1 in his last five and is coming off a win over Brian Ortega that was the result of an injury during a submission attempt. Emmett comes into this one having won each of his last five fights and is coming off an extremely close split decision win. Both of these guys are primarily strikers; however, Yair will have the height, reach, and volume advantages here and he’s also seven years younger. Emmett has also been outstruck in each of his last three fights. I like Yair to get this one done sometime in the latter rounds or most likely via decision.
Islam Makhachev – Makhachev is 23-1 with 15 stoppages and will be making his first UFC Lightweight title defense against 25-1 Alex Volkanovski, who is attempting to make history as a reigning two-division champion in his native Australia. I did a deeper breakdown of this fight for WagerWire, and it’s certainly one of those scenarios where I’ll be picking one fighter and cheering for the other. Makhachev is a dominant grappler and should be able to eventually get Volkanovski into a couple of bad spots. However, I’m not touching this one from a betting perspective, because Volkanovski is absolutely live in he can keep getting back to his fight after the inevitable takedowns. I’ll be leaning with Makhachev via a close decision or possibly late stoppage but as a fan, I will definitely be cheering for Volk to pull the upset here and join some elite company.
My most confident picks on this card are Jack Della Maddalena, Tyson Pedro, Yair Rodriguez, and Jack Jenkins. Be sure to check back after weigh-ins complete for my three favorite bets on this card and keep an eye on our social media accounts as well for any late bets.
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