February 16, 2024 4:36 PM
Ewan Lavender

MMA Preview – Alexander Volkanovski vs Ilia Topuria at UFC 298

Click here for today’s sports betting tips from our expert analysts!


When is UFC 298? Sunday 18th February, 2024 - 01:00 (UK)

Where is UFC 298? Honda Center, Anaheim, California (US)

Where can I get tickets for UFC 298? Click here to buy tickets for UFC 298

What channel is UFC 298 on? TNT Sports 2

Where can I stream UFC 298? TNT Sports subscribers can stream the fight online via the TNT Sports website and Discovery+

For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ and you can sign up for access as part of a Disney Bundle here!


Alexander Volkanovski (26-3) heads to Anaheim to make the sixth defence of his featherweight title. He has had the toughest UFC schedule we have seen in a while. He fought three times in 2023 starting the year by giving the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world Islam Makhachev his toughest test taking him to a decision. That snapped a staggering 22-fight win streak, and he returned in July to knock out one of the best 145 lb strikers in Yair Rodriguez. However, he decided to fight Makhachev three months later on short notice and took a Russian foot to the dome.

Ilia Topuria (14-0) heads to California to capitalize on the schedule and seize his first opportunity at UFC gold. He is proudly sitting on an unbeaten record and opened his UFC account with a unanimous decision over Youssef Zalal (2020). He then began making some noise by executing Damon Jackson (2020), Ryan Hall (2021) and Jai Herbert (2022). He followed those knockouts with a flawless performance and submission over Bryce Mitchell (2022) and is now coming off a unanimous decision over Josh Emmett (2023) to earn his title shot.


Defending a UFC belt is the hardest challenge in MMA fighting hungry contenders in their prime. Volkanovski has made it look relatively easy, but defending the belt after getting knocked out less than four months ago is a different story and this is the best possible time to fight the featherweight king.

Topuria is getting better with each fight and has unwavering confidence. What makes the odds so close is that he possesses serious knockout power, and many believe Volkanovski’s chin will now be unable to absorb the damage so soon after his knockout loss.

We have seen it many times before, but what we have not seen, is Topuria fight anyone near the level of Volkanovski. His wrestling alone poses a significant question mark. Topuria has superb jiu-jitsu, but he has not experienced this level of pressure for one round let alone five.

That said, Topuria will be confident everywhere. He will attack off his back and even initiate the takedown from the clinch. He will be wise to conserve his energy for the stand-up as Volkanovski’s submission defence is elite.

His best chance is to land the knockout, but he has to be patient like he was in the Emmett fight. If he wastes energy by swinging haymakers or hunting a submission, the champ will smother him with volume and takedowns until he wilts.

We can certainly see Topuria landing that knockout, but a prepared and motivated Volkanovski is a beast Topuria has not encountered before.

Prediction: Volkanovski via Decision

Value bet: Topuria via KO/TKO

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