Volkanovski, Shevchenko the favourites at UFC 266

Alexander Volkanovski takes his seat on stage for the press and the fans at MGM Park Arena for UFC266 - Volkanovski vs Ortega - Press Conference on September 23, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV, United States. (Louis Grasse/PxImages/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Alexander Volkanovski will be looking to extend an epic winning streak to 20 fights when he puts his featherweight title on the line against Brian Ortega at UFC 266 this weekend as a -185 betting favourite on the UFC odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Volkanovski has been idle since successfully defending his title with a split decision win in a rematch with former champion Max Holloway at UFC 251. He now takes a sparkling 22-1 professional MMA record into Saturday night’s fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Previously the winner of multiple featherweight titles while fighting in his native Australia, Volkanovski made a seamless transition to the UFC six years ago. The 32-year-old steadily climbed the UFC featherweight ranks while tallying victories in his first seven trips to the octagon, and ultimately claimed the crown with a memorable five-round unanimous decision win over Holloway at UFC 245.

Volkanovski built a reputation as a finisher early on in his pro MMA career, with 11 of his first 13 victories coming inside the distance, including seven first-round finishes. However, he has demonstrated his ability to go deep since joining the UFC, getting the nod from the judges in six of his nine wins.

Ortega also returns to action following a long layoff when he enters the octagon on Saturday as a +150 underdog at sports betting sites. Ortega has been idle since tallying a five-round unanimous decision win over Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Island 6, lifting his pro MMA record to 15-1 with one no-contest. That marks his only outing since suffering a fourth-round TKO loss to Holloway in his previous bid for the UFC featherweight crown at UFC 231, and the first time that he has gone a full five rounds in over seven years.

The UFC women’s flyweight title will also be up for grabs on Saturday, with long-time champion Valentina Shevchenko taking on No. 3 contender Lauren Murphy as massive -1800 chalk on the UFC 266 odds.

Shevchenko has been dominant since her return to the UFC women’s flyweight division three years ago. That coincided with the start of her current seven-fight win streak, which has featured five successful title defences, including three finishes. Listed as a distant +850 underdog, Murphy makes her first bid for a UFC title riding a five-fight win streak, with three of those victories coming by decision in three-round contests.

Elsewhere on the UFC 266 odds for this weekend, Robbie Lawler has made steady gains and is now perched as a -155 favourite in his welterweight clash with Nick Diaz. Lawler suffered a second-round KO loss in his previous meeting with Diaz at UFC 47, back in 2004.

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