UFC 294 is today! The event goes down in Abu Dhabi shortly and is headlined by Islam Makhachev hoping to retain his UFC lightweight title against featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski. The co-main sees the return of middleweight contender, Khamzat Chimaev. He fights former UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman.
The rest of the card isn’t much to write home about, but there is still potential for action and star-making performances.
The BE staff has looked at all these match-ups and made our picks. Now it’s time for the readers to do the same. Check out what they think below, along with extra analysis from reader DJNI.
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UFC 294 reader picks and predictions
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski
Readers’ pick: Islam Makhachev (61.5%)
DJNI: Alexander Volkanoski by the power of positive thinking. Honestly it doesn’t look great for him and I’m going with my heart instead of my head on this pick because I want him to win. It would be an incredible win. Makhachev won the first fight, Volk is coming off a surgery, Volk is coming up a weight class, Volk is taking this fight on short notice, it all paints a picture that says Makhachev wins… But Volk and I will not be denied! not that all have anything to do with it. I do imagine Volk has been thinking about how to get this win since his loss though.
Kamaru Usman vs. Khamzat Chimaev
Readers’ pick: Khamzat Chimaev (76.9%)
DJNI: I think Chimaev wins because Usman is hurt and 36. That video from Wednesday doesn’t look good even if they are saying Usman is fine. Everyone seems to focus on what was or wasn’t said. The problem for me is the way he got up didn’t say everything is fine. I was still kinda on the fence thinking about this fight until I saw that video. That with short notice for Usman makes me lean Chimaev.
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker
Readers’ pick: Magomed Ankalaev (100%)
DJNI: Ankalaev should get it done. He has better wins and faced better competition. He’s more well rounded and I think he’ll be looking to make a statement after the let down that was the Jan Błachowicz fight.
Ikram Aliskerov vs. Warlley Alves
Readers’ pick: Ikram Aliskerov (100%)
DJNI: Aliskerov is a -600 favorite. His states are better in every category. He’s got a 4 inch reach advantage and slight height advantage. Warlley appears to be moving up a weight class for this. Warlley seems to lose by KO or decision, Ikram lands double the significant strike per minute Warlley does, and Ikarm lands a higher percentage of those strikes. All of that spells an Aliskerov win for me.
Said Nurmagomedov vs. Muin Gafurov
Readers’ pick: Said Nurmagomedov (100%)
DJNI: Said should get the win. He’s a better striker and athlete. Muin is the better grappler but his lack of defense and high aggression leads me to believe Said can get this done.
Tim Elliott vs. Muhammad Mokaev
Readers’ pick: Muhammad Mokaev (61.5%)
DJNI: I’m gonna say Mokaev wins. Tim Elliot is old balls and lost his main camp. He also is still stuck on the betrayal by his ex. Mokaev is technical, unbeaten, lands less significant strikes per minute but lands at a high percentage than Tim. He has better take down % and does more take downs with better sub rate. Tim could definitely win this though. He is a tough test for Mokaev.
Mohammad Yahya vs. Trevor Peek
Readers’ pick: Trevor Peek (76.9%)
DJNI: Peek for the win. Gonna say that based on his speed and athleteism. I can’t say I know much about either of these guys but I know less about Yahya.
Javid Basharat vs. Victor Henry
Readers’ pick: Javid Basharat (69.2%)
DJNI: I’m taking Javid Basharat here. He has been looking good. Henry is older at 36, that’s past prime in the lower weight classes. Other than that I’m taking Javid based kinda on MMA math, which is far from scientific, but it’s the best I can look at to get a feel from this bout.
Sedrique Dumas vs. Abu Azaitar
Readers’ pick: Sedrique Dumas (69.2%)
DJNI: Dumas because height, reach, age, and eeny meeny miny moe. What happens when a crap storm meets a turd-nado… Nobody knows for sure but it probably just means a shit show.
Anshul Jubli vs. Mike Breedon
Readers’ pick: Anshul Jubli (53.8%)
DJNI: I’ll say Breedon for an underdog pick. He’s a little older but sounds like the better striker even if he is slow.
Nathaniel Wood vs. Muhammad Naimov
Readers’ pick: Nathaniel Wood (92.3%)
DJNI: Wood should get the win. He’s coming up a weight class, but he has better stats all around and fought tough competition. Naimov probably bigger but I don’t think that will be enough to overcome Wood.
Jinh Yu Frey vs. Victoria Dudakova
Readers’ pick: Victoria Dudakova (92.3%)
DJNI: Dudakova because she seems to be the better grappler and more accurate striker. Also Frey is 38 years old.
Bruno Silva vs. Sharabutdin Magomedov
Readers’ pick: Sharabutdin Magomedov (69.2%)
DJNI: Picking Magomedov for his striking. I don’t think Silva will be able to handle it.
Who gets a Performance of the Night award?
Readers’ pick: Khamzat Chimaev (38.5%), Islam Makhachev (23.1%)
DJNI: I think Chemaev will get one for destroying Usman sadly. I feel like Usman will follow the Woody after champion path.
Which fight wins Fight of the Night?
Readers’ pick: Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski (46.2%)
DJNI: Islam vs Volk should be fight of the night if it’s anything close to what the last fight was.
Which fight are you most excited for?
Readers’ pick: Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski (61.5%)
DJNI: Islam vs Volk, it has just about everything you could ask for in a fight. Very high stakes, very high skill levels, history, the only missing is good shit talk.
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