Volkanovski Seeks to Reassert His Featherweight Dominance | UFC 290 Preview

UFC 290 preview
UFC 290 Preview. Credit to MMAnytt. Edited. License.

Our UFC 290 preview takes a look at the top three fights on this stacked fight card on International Fight Week. Volkanovski returns to defend his featherweight title against interim featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez, Moreno looks to defend his title in a rematch against Alexandre Pantoja, and Dricus Du Plessis seeks to earn a middleweight title shot by defeating former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Let’s discuss these three exciting fights.

UFC 290 Preview: Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez

Starting off with the main event, Volkanovski is coming off his first loss in a long time. Volkanovski unsuccessfully challenged lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in a bid to become a simultaneous two-division UFC champion. Volkanovski is durable, experienced, well-rounded, and is likely more motivated than ever to win after suffering a tough loss against Makhachev.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez has long been thought of as a potential future title challenger in the UFC featherweight division. Rodriguez is an unpredictable striker and has dangerous submissions off his back, as shown by his submission win against Josh Emmett to earn the interim featherweight title. Rodriguez will have to use his powerful kicks to disrupt Volkanovski’s striking in order to pull off the upset win.

Volkanovski is integrating taekwondo into his fighting style and that could catch Rodriguez off-guard. Volkanovski will likely get opportunities to rain down vicious ground-and-pound strikes on Rodriguez given that Rodriguez’s style can leave him in bad positions on the ground at times. Rodriguez has dangerous submissions, but he will not want to allow Volkanovski to hit him with too many ground-and-pound strikes.

Rodriguez is a dangerous opponent, as acknowledged by Volkanovski himself. However, Volkanovski is far more experienced and has excellent fight IQ that will help him deal with Rodriguez’s unusual fighting style. Given that fact, Volkanovski will remain the undisputed UFC featherweight champion in our view.

Prediction: Volkanovski By Decision

UFC 290 Preview: Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja 2

Brandon Moreno just went through a brutal four-fight rivalry with Deiveson Figueiredo and now looks to add to his flyweight championship legacy by defeating Pantoja. Pantoja did fight and defeat Moreno on the Ultimate Fighter, but Moreno is a different fighter and likely a different person at this point. Moreno is an aggressive and highly skilled striker in addition to being able to submit opponents, as well.

Moreno defeated Figueiredo in the pair’s second fight by submission. However, Pantoja is a finisher, as well, with more than 70% of his wins coming by KO/TKO or submission. Moreno has more championship experience but Pantoja is possibly a more dangerous submission artist.

Our view is that Moreno will retain the UFC flyweight title in a thrilling, likely FOTN bout.

Prediction: Moreno By Decision

Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis

In the featured bout, Robert Whittaker takes on Dricus Du Plessis in a fight that likely determines who challenges Israel Adesanya next for the undisputed UFC middleweight title. Whittaker is the former middleweight champion and is an exceptional fighter, with very few obvious flaws in his fighting style. Dricus Du Plessis is a rising contender who looks to earn his title shot by defeating Whittaker.

Du Plessis is a top contender, but his stamina may be questionable. Du Plessis wore himself out in the first round of his previous fight against Darren Till, although Du Plessis recovered and finished Till in the second round of that fight. Still, Du Plessis’s questionable stamina could be a deciding factor in his fight with Whittaker, given that Whittaker is a smart fighter and has exceptionable stamina himself.

Du Plessis could win this fight, but Whittaker’s superior technical striking, greater experience, and excellent stamina will likely prove too much for Du Plessis.

Prediction: Whittaker By Decision

UFC 290 Is a Stacked Fight Card

There are many great fights on the UFC 290 card. The two title fights and Whittaker vs. Du Plessis should all be exciting. Our bet is that Moreno vs. Pantoja 2 will win FOTN, given that both fighters are known to be exciting fighters who always look to finish their opponents. We hope you enjoy the fights.

Check back soon for more combat sports content.

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