UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs. Volkov Odds, Schedule, Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2021

UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs. Volkov Odds, Schedule, Predictions

0 of 4

    John Locher/Associated Press

    A clash of proven heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov headlines UFC Vegas 18 from the UFC's Apex Facility on ESPN+.

    Overeem has been a mainstay in the upper echelon of the division for years and comes into the bout on a two-fight win streak. Victories over Augusto Sakai and Walt Harris have shown the 40-year-old is still among the best fighters among the Goliaths of the sport.

    Volkov comes into the bout with a TKO win over Harris of his own after getting grappled to death by Curtis Blaydes. This will be another opportunity to prove that he has improved since the loss to Blaydes.

    Also on the card is an important bantamweight fight as Cory Sandhagen looks to build his first winning streak since losing to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250. He will try to follow up a TKO win over Marlon Moraes with a win over former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

    Here's a look at the schedule and a closer look at the biggest fights on the card.

Fight Card, Schedule and Odds

1 of 4

    John Locher/Associated Press

    Main Card (ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET)

    • Alistair Overeem (+160) vs. Alexander Volkov (-190)
    • Frankie Edgar (+333) vs. Cory Sandhagen (-455)
    • Clay Guida (+175) vs. Michael Johnson (-225)
    • Manel Kape (+100) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (-122)
    • Askar Askar (+365) vs. Cody Stamann (-500)
    • Beneil Dariush (-107) vs. Diego Ferreira (-117)


    Prelims (ESPN+ at 5 p.m. ET)

    • Danilo Marques (+188) vs. Mike Rodriguez (-240)
    • Justin Jaynes (+255) vs. Devonte Smith (-335)
    • Joselyne Edwards (+175) vs. Karol Rosa (-225)
    • Molly McCann (-162) vs. Lara Procopio (+130)
    • Seungwoo Choi (+175) vs. Youssef Zalal (-230)
    • Martin Day (+275) vs. Timur Valiev (-360)
    • Jerome Rivera (+160) vs. Ode Osbourne (-200)

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Overeem vs. Volkov

2 of 4

    John Locher/Associated Press

    Both Overeem and Volkov sit just outside those in the title picture. With Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou set to fight soon and Jon Jones presumably waiting on the winner, the title picture is kind of determined for the near future.

    That means Overeem's odds of fighting for the title again are deteriorating quickly. At 40, he's already a much different fighter than the one who once melted Brock Lesnar in his UFC debut.

    But with his age has come wisdom. The Reem has made the transition from a knockout-seeking power puncher to a more measured, technical approach that often sees Overeem picking apart opponents from the outside.

    That will be an interesting dynamic against the 6'7" Volkov. Both fighters have 80-inch reaches, so Overeem will have to rely on his movement to utilize his traditional kickboxing approach while mixing in takedowns to keep Volkov off balance.

    That's another element of Overeem's game that has become more prevalent as he has aged. He took down Augusto Sakai three times in his more recent win and even took down Harris once.

    Volkov is a dangerous striker, and the chess match on the feet should be fun to watch. But Overeem's grappling is the X-factor here.

    Prediction: Overeem via decision.

Edgar vs. Sandhagen

3 of 4

    Mel Evans/Associated Press

    The co-main event features as a spotlight fight for Sandhagen. The 28-year-old was close to putting his name in the title picture at 135 pounds heading into a fight with Aljamain Sterling in June, but Aljo pulled off a surprise submission win in the first round.

    That killed Sandhagen's momentum from his 5-0 start in the UFC, but he's already on his way back. He responded with a second-round TKO win over Marlon Moraes. Now, he draws the 39-year-old Edgar, who doesn't pose many threats but still has name recognition as a former champion.

    The size disparity along in this fight is enough reason to pick Sandhagen. At 5'11", he will have a considerable advantage over the 5'6" Edgar. The Answer once relied on his quickness and athleticism to overcome his size disadvantage, but at his age, that ability is dwindling.

    The only question here is how well Sandhagen avoids Edgar's takedowns. On the feet, Sandhagen is a dynamic striker with knockout power. But he's been taken down before, including four times against Raphael Assuncao.

    Maybe Edgar does it a few times. He may even win a round, but this feels like he's being sent to the slaughter to build up Sandhagen as a contender in the division.

    Prediction: Sandhagen via second-round TKO.

Dariush vs. Ferreira

4 of 4

    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    With all due respect to the main and co-main events, the lightweight fight between Beneil Dariush and Diego Ferreira may be the fight of the night.

    The two are running back a fight from 2014, when Dariush took a unanimous decision.

    Dariush is on a five-fight win streak, during which he has shown off his submission game and flashed knockout power. He had a slick triangle armbar against Drew Dober and a spinning backfist knockout against Scott Holtzman in his most recent fight.

    Three of his past four fights have been considered performance of the night, and a general lack of activity and name recognition seems to be the only thing holding him back in the rankings.

    Ferreira has ripped off six wins in a row in his own right, with Anthony Pettis tapping to a rear-naked choke in his latest bout. He hasn't lost since a 2015 defeat to Dustin Poirier. But, like Dariush, he hasn't been the most active fighter.

    Both of these guys have serious grappling skills with enough power to end things on the feet if need be.

    Expect this fight to wind up all over the place and feature plenty of grappling exchanges and fun striking. Both guys are relatively durable, so even though both are finishers, it wouldn't be surprising for this to go the distance.

    Prediction: Darius via decision.


    If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

    Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

    21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.