MyBookie head oddsmaker David Strauss checks in with potential opponents for champ Alexander Volkanovski and welterweight Khamzat Chimaev.
Both Volkanovski and Chimaev came through with impressive victories at UFC 273, earning performance and Fight of the Night awards (with Gilbert Burns), respectively.
Let’s take a look.
Editor’s Note: Odds may be subject to change. Visit MyBookie to confirm the current odds.
WHO’S GOT NEXT FOR ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI?
#1 MAX HOLLOWAY (23-6-0, 1NC) (-250)
Andrews: Well, Holloway was next until he had to pull out of UFC 273 with an injury so it’s not surprising if White pencils him for next, maybe in Toronto later this year.
#4 CALVIN KATTAR (23-5-0) (+250)
Andrews: Kattar moves up a spot to No. 4 in the new rankings since UFC 273. But he hasn’t beat anyone in the top 5 and probably needs such a win unless injuries or COVID force Dana White into elevating Kattar into a title shot.
#6 ARNOLD ALLEN (18-1-0) (+400)
Andrews: Allen is kind of in Kattar’s position, just farther out. Needs a top 5 win to get into the conversation.
#7 JOSH EMMETT (17-2-0) (+450)
Andrews: I could see Arnold Allen and Josh Emmett clashing for the right to challenge someone in the top 5.
HENRY CEJUDO (35-15-0) (+600)
Andrews: Cejudo is a wildcard. He never lost the bantamweight crown in the octagon, so he could get Jon Jones status and vault himself to a featherweight title shot. But he’s not the most likeable of guys right now to the matchmaking team.
WHO’S GOT NEXT FOR KHAMZAT CHIMAEV?
#1 COLBY COVINGTON (17-3-0) (+110)
Andrews: Covington was mentioned by Dana he is the frontrunner accordingly, but Colby is also involved in the Jorge Masvidal drama right now so he might not be available.
(C) KAMARU USMAN (20-1-0) (+200)
Andrews: Usman is currently recovering from hand surgery and could be back by July. Chimaev is now No. 3, so he jumped eight spots since beating former No. 2 (now No. 4) Gilbert Burns. But Chimaev probably faces current No. 2 Leon Edwards or waits for Edwards to get his shot first, which would be in July at the earliest.
#2 LEON EDWARDS (19-3-0, 1NC) (+250)
Andrews: “Rocky” is No. 2 right now and was supposed to fight Masvidal last December. Masvidal is now No. 8 and in legal trouble right now. Usman is also recovering from hand surgery now so maybe he fights Chimaev while Usman in an interm title bout to keep the division moving.
#5 VICENTE LUQUE (21-7-1) (+400)
Andrews: Luque is now No. 5, down a spot in the new rankings since UFC 273. He hasn’t fought anybody in the top 5, so he is probably a longshot to fight Chimaev.
#2 GILBERT BURNS (20-5-0) (+400)
Andrews: Since they both just fought, everyone else would have to be out for these two to have an immediate rematch.
#6 BELAL MUHAMMAD (20-3-0) (+550)
Andrews: Muhammad is now No. 6, down a spot in the new rankings. Still a long shot and would probably be considered only if everyone else was tied up.
We have some bonus thoughts from Strauss on some big fights on the next couple of pay-per-views.
Andrews: Ferguson has looked done like dinner lately. And Ferguson’s number isn’t even high enough to go in on the upset. But Chandler’s number certainly is.
Andrews: Esparza has been impressive in her current run, both against strikers and ground game threats. And she has a submission win over Namajunas although it was over eight years ago. But Namajunas has grown so much since then too. Still, Esparza’s number is too low for me.
Andrews: Whittaker is still better than the rest of the division and that includes Vettori, who cannot bully and use his grappling in this matchup. Vettori’s number is too low for me.
Andrews: We could get another instant classic, but Weili’s aggressiveness was the key. Joanna needs to initiate more to get a different result. If the number for JJ was higher though, I would take it.
Ante up, ladies and gentlemen. And enjoy the fights.