MMA: UFC 298 Preview - The Featherweight Strap is On The Line

UFC News


  • UFC 298 is Saturday, February 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim. There are 12 fights, starting with the undercard at 6 p.m.
  • The Main Event is a Featherweight title bout between long-time champion Alexander Volkanovski and undefeated Ilia Topuria.
  • Michigan sportsbooks will have odds posted on each of the 12 fights, and special props including method of victory.

Already there’s a buzz on the upcoming UFC 300 event in April, but before we get there, the UFC has two more grand cards to put on starting with UFC 298 Saturday.

The 12-fight card is solid from top to bottom featuring a classic battle at featherweight where the UFC’s longest-reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski takes on undefeated Ilia Topuria. Volkanovski has been UFC Featherweight champ since 2019, but no 35-year-old has ever won a title fight in UFC’s glorious history.

Michigan sportsbooks are always ready to throw hands on a good fight. BetMGM will have main odds on each fight inside the Octagon Saturday and also has a unique “UFC Champions Predictor,” sort of like a futures bet where you can predict who will be champion in various weight categories at the end of the year. DraftKings has the biggest list of markets on UFC 298 of any sportsbook, including spreads, totals and plenty of props.

Age vs. Youth 

Volkanovski has dominated the featherweight category for almost five years and is 26-3 overall, yet he was crushed by Islam Makhachev in UFC 294 when he tried to claim the welterweight belt. Alexander The Great has won 12 straight fights at this weight class and successfully defended his title five times.

Topuria is 27, and has already put on his social media bios that he’s a UFC champ. That’s brash. He’s younger than Volkanovski, but doesn’t have his resume. He has only one Top 5 win, but is undefeated.

DraftKings sees this fight as even, with Volkanovski  -125 on the fight line and Topuria at +105. The over/under on rounds is 3.5 and Volkanovski is +250 to win by KO/TKO or DQ.

Middle Of the Pack 

The UFC has depth at middleweight behind champ Dricus Du Plessis and a pair of strong men in the middle of the middleweight pack go at it in the Co-Main Event Saturday when Robert Whittaker steps in against Paulo Costa.

Whittaker has a resume of ‘never The Guy.’ He got blasted by Du Plessis in July and the 33-year-old also lost twice to star Israel Adesanya. He’s always been right on the edge and needs a big win to get back in the running. Costa, 32, hasn’t fought since August of 2022. He also has a loss to Adesanya on his resume.

Whitaker is the favorite at -250 at DraftKings with Costa at +205. The odds on this fight to go the distance are -135.

Bad Blood 

UFC fans have waited for this welterweight fight for a while. Geoff Neal and Ian Garry were supposed to lock up in August, but it was delayed.

Neal is No. 8 in the UFC rankings at welterweight and 15-5 overall. Garry is undefeated at 13-0 and he teased Neal by wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Neal’s mugshot from a DUI arrest. Neal, as expected, didn’t take it well.

The undefeated Garry is the strong favorite at DK Sportsbook at -230, with Neal at +190 to win. Garry is +250 to win by knockout.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.