volks-huge-underdog-against-makhachev-(but-not-oliveira)

Reigning featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski has been flown to “Fight Island” to serve as backup for the upcoming UFC 280 lightweight main event, just in case former 155-pound champion Charles Oliveira misses weight (again) or gets devoured by local lions.

Opponent Islam Makhachev, meanwhile, has a shaky pre-fight history of his own.

Hopefully the Oct. 22 pay-per-view (PPV) card goes off without a hitch, but should Volkanovski be needed to step in at the last minute, he’ll do so as the odds-on underdog, according to BetOnline.ag, but the difference in betting lines may surprise you.

Alexander Volkanovski: +300 (3/1)

Islam Makhachev: -400 (1/4)

Alexander Volkanovski: +120 (6/5)

Charles Oliveira: -140 (5/7)

Volkanovski (25-1) plans to make his way to the lightweight division at some point in 2023 after cleaning out the 145-pound weight class, a decision that may hinge on the promotion’s eagerness to pair him against top contenders Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett.

“The Great” is currently ranked No. 1 on the pound-for-pound chart.

Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC) has won 11 straight with 10 nasty finishes along the way. Similarly, Makhachev (22-1) has captured 10 in a row and finished six of those opponents by way of knockout or submission. Either fighter would be a stiff test for the 5’6” Volkanovski.

Let’s just hope UFC 280 is not the event to prove it.