UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega odds, predictions: Proven MMA insider releases surprising fight card picks

Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega might be living proof that familiarity breeds contempt. The flyweight champion and top-ranked challenger have spoken of their fatigue with each other, and they will settle their differences on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 266 in Las Vegas. The main UFC 266 fight card is set for 10 p.m. ET from T-Mobile Arena. Volkanovski will make his second title defense and face the No. 1-rated Ortega for the first time in the Octagon, though the combatants have plenty of personal history following their stint as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Volkanovski is a -155 betting favorite (risk $155 to win $100), while Ortega is a +135 underdog in the latest Volkanovski vs. Ortega odds from Caesars Sportsbook. In the co-main event, women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko (-1,600) takes on challenger Lauren Murphy (+900). Before locking in any picks of your own for Volkanovski vs. Ortega and the rest of the UFC 266 card, make sure you check out the UFC picks and predictions from SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley.  

Marley won the first-ever “ToutMaster” UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and daily Fantasy shows. He watches every single fight for every professional MMA card and does extensive research before each event. 

Over the past 31 months, $100 bettors who have followed Marley’s picks are up more than $14,000. The accomplished MMA analyst has now connected on 36 of his last UFC 60 main-event selections, a stretch that includes a streak of five straight underdogs in 2020. 

Just last week at UFC Fight Night, Marley told SportsLine members to back veteran light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith (-165) against rising contender Ryan Spann (+145) in the main event. Smith controlled the action from the opening horn and ended the fight with a first-round submission, giving Marley’s followers another easy winner. Anyone who has followed Marley is way up.

Now, he’s dialed in on Ortega vs. Volkanovski and just revealed his UFC 266 expert picks. You can only see Marley’s MMA picks at SportsLine.  

UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega preview 

Although he has two victories over former champ Max Holloway and another over former title-holder Jose Aldo to his credit, Volkanovksi (22-1) still flies under the radar for many MMA observers. This is in large part because the mild-mannered Australian isn’t overtly prone to self-promotion or trash talk, instead choosing to make his statements in the cage. 

The 32-year-old champion is a former rugby pro who is now in his ninth year as a professional MMA fighter. He has yet to taste defeat in the UFC and hasn’t lost since his fourth professional fight, which took place in an Australian promotion more than eight years ago.

Volkanovksi will undoubtedly see his profile rise should he prevail against Ortega (15-1-1), who has long been hailed as a prodigal talent and future champion as he worked his way up through the ranks. 

The 30-year-old Ortega is known as a slick submission specialist who already is recognized as a standout grappling coach for other fighters. The Los Angeles native had a spotless record through 15 fights before he was dominated by Holloway in his first title shot two years ago.  

Injuries caused a nearly two-year layoff, but the top-ranked Ortega looked back in top form as he took a lopsided decision against Chan Sung Jung, aka The Korean Zombie, as an underdog last October. You can only see who to back here.

Top UFC 266 predictions 

We’ll reveal one of Marley’s UFC 266 selections here: He is siding with Talia Santos (-370) to get her hand raised against Roxanne Modafferi (+310) in a matchup of women’s flyweight contenders.

The No. 9-ranked Modafferi (25-18) has been a professional MMA fighter for 18 years. She is a former UFC title-challenger who has consistently battled against top-ranked competition and has a history of pulling upsets against rising prospects. In January of last year, she defeated previously-unbeaten prospect Maycee Barber as an 8-1 underdog but has dropped two of three since.

Santos (17-1), ranked No. 12, is a rising prospect who has seen 12 of her 17 professional victories come by stoppage. Her lone UFC defeat came by split decision against Mara Romero Borella in February 2019. Her last outing resulted in a decision victory against veteran Gillian Robertson in December of last year.

“Santos brings a significant athletic advantage into this fight. Modafferi has a herky-jerky style that has kept her with the company for all these years, but the fan favorite has a tall order in front of her. Unless she can get some serious top-control time, I see her getting pieced up on the feet,” Marley told SportsLine.

How to make UFC 266 picks

Marley also has strong picks for Volkanovski vs. Ortega and every other bout on the UFC 266 fight card. He’s also backing one fighter to “dominate from the opening bell.” Those expert MMA picks are only available at SportsLine

Who wins Volkanovski vs. Ortega? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 266, all from the incomparable expert who’s up more than $14,000 on MMA in the past 31 months, and find out. 

UFC 266 odds, fight card

Alexander Volkanovski (-155) vs. Brian Ortega (+135)
Valentina Shevchenko (-1,600) vs. Lauren Murphy (+900)
Nick Diaz (-110) vs. Robbie Lawler (-110)
Curtis Blaydes (-300) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+250)
Jessica Andrade (-270) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (+230)
Talia Santos (-370) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (+310)
Marlon Moraes (+220) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (-260)
Dan Hooker (-160) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (+140)
Shamil Abdurakhimov (+165) vs. Chris Daukaus (-185)
Manon Fiorot (-260) vs. Mayra Beuno Silva (+220)
Karl Roberson (-115) vs. Nick Maximov (-105)
Matthew Semelsberger (-475) vs. Martin Sano (+380)
Uros Medic (-125) vs. Jalin Turner (+105)
Omar Morales (-150) vs. Jonathan Pearce (+130)

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