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Best bets for UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega

By Lou Finocchiaro  (VSiN.com) 

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Favorites achieved a 10-2-1 result in last weekend’s UFC Las Vegas 37 event, making them an even 60 percent proposition in 2021 at 194-107-10.

Nate Maness, who closed + 175, produced .88 units — though he did not win via decision, which cost us a half-unit. My main event prediction of Anthony Smith was accurate, as he took care of Ryan Spann. Insight the Octagon’s 2021 profitability stands at 22-18 (+ 7.26 units), with an open parlay on Smith -165 awaiting fulfillment.

This week UFC 266 offers fight enthusiasts a loaded card stacked with interesting matchups and plenty of high-priced favorites. Let’s dig right in.

Alexander Volkanovski (-160) vs. Brian Ortega (+ 140)

Featherweight (145 pounds), main event

Ortega faced Max Holloway in 2018 for the featherweight championship. What was clear for all to witness was Ortega’s lack of fluid striking ability coupled with ineffective strike defense as Ortega stopped most of Holloway’s strikes with his face. Fans also saw his toughness and determination in the beatdown he absorbed.

Then in October 2020, Ortega took a fight with a master of striking in Chan Sung Jung, the “Korean Zombie.” The improved striking Ortega displayed in that bout along with his fluid defensive movement surprised MMA observers, as such dynamic improvement was unexpected. Clearly, Ortega had addressed his needs and had come back a more complete fighter.

Ortega’s forte lies in his mastery of BJJ. He is a first-degree black belt under Rener Gracie, yet what we witnessed after the long layoff was that Ortega went into the gym with new coaches and developed an effective striking component to his BJJ mastery.

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