Every year, there are several UFC cards that catch fans’ eyes well ahead of schedule. These are cards that feature top-end talent, dynamic matchups, and overall depth that fans are craving. While we’ve already seen some great bouts in 2023, there seems to be an unprecedented amount of excitement for UFC 290, which is certainly set to be the combat event of the summer, and potentially even the year.
This looks like one of the UFC matchups that will have fans running to the best sports betting sites to wager on the outcome of the top events. There are several close matchups that bettors will likely be intrigued by and numerous chances at upsets and shockers.
Let’s look at some of the main matchups for this incredible card to get excited for one of the best events of the year…
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez
While this fight hasn’t been fully confirmed, the two fighters have verbally agreed to a bout at UFC 290, and barring any major change, this will happen. After stepping up in weight, the legendary Alexander Volkanovski is returning to his standard featherweight class, where he will fight Yair Rodriguez in an incredible matchup of top-tier talent. Volkanovski has defended his featherweight belt five times.
Now, he will face off against Rodriguez, who claimed the belt in his absence. Volkanovski will certainly be the favorite here, but Rodriguez could shock the world and cement himself as the man to beat in the featherweight class. However, Volkanovski had won 22 fights in a row before losing to Makhachev in a valiant effort. He is an all-time great for a reason.
Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja
The other title fight of the night has been confirmed, and it will see the flyweight division’s finest faceoff. Moreno has primarily been fighting Figuereido lately. Although he has had one fight in between, he now will look to defend his belt against some new competition. Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja have faced off twice before, and Pantoja has got the better of him both times.
While a lot has happened since last these two diminutive fighters squared off, Pantoja shouldn’t be overlooked. He has won his last three bouts against some of the top contenders in the division and earned his shot at a title. Moreno will certainly be the betting favorite here since he has been in these high-level bouts before. But don’t overlook Pantoja’s excellent submission abilities.
Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis
Former champion Robert Whittaker and rising contender Dricus Du Plessis are squaring off in a title eliminator that will have a ton of implications. The winner of this fight will have the chance to go toe-to-toe with Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title, so you better believe both fighters will be focused and hungry. Du Plessis is the interesting name to know in this bout. He has won his last seven fights and owns finishes against Darren Till and Derek Brunson, and appears likely to be one of the middleweight names to watch for the next few years.
But Whittaker’s only two UFC losses have come at the hands of Adesanya, and he will want another crack at his old foe. Both fighters have a lot on the line, although Du Plessis certainly has more to prove. It is likely oddsmakers will have Whittaker pegged to win, but it wouldn’t shock MMA fans to see Du Plessis assert himself as a contender with a big win.
Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker
While this fight lacks the pedigree that the other ones we’ve discussed have, it should definitely be an absolute brawl. Dan Hooker has had his ups and downs in recent years, but he is coming off a win and will look to string them together against Jalin Turner. Turner is also looking to get back on track after a loss, but before that, he had strung five wins in a row together and was poised to be a rising lightweight contender.
Both fighters are in a make-or-break situation here, as a loss will put either of these fighters in somewhat of a decline. Hooker is an incredibly entertaining brawler, and Turner is a submission artist, so seeing these two conflicting styles will be exciting.
Bo Nickal vs. Tresean Gore
This fight is exciting for one primary reason. It is a chance to see one of the UFC’s most touted prospects in years continue to earn his stripes. Bo Nickal is a world-class wrestling specialist, and most UFC fighters can’t handle the sheer advantage he brings on that end. In his four MMA fights, he has three submissions. Tresean Gore is a talented and vicious fighter in his own right, and he will look to shock the MMA world with a win.