Alexander Volkov believes his versatility as a fighter will be the key to victory Saturday night when he takes on Curtis Blaydes in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Volkov in Las Vegas. The clash of heavyweight contenders headlines the 12-bout showcase at the Apex facility, with the main card set for 8 p.m. ET. The seventh-ranked Russian told the media he’s aware of Blaydes’ vaunted wrestling pedigree, but believes his boxing skill and athleticism will prove to be the equalizer.
The third-ranked Blaydes has predicted an early finish of his own. Blaydes is a -400 betting favorite (risk $400 to win $100), while Volkov is priced at +320 (risk $100 to win $320) in the latest UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Volkov odds from William Hill. In the co-main event, Shane Burgos (-135) faces Josh Emmett (+115) in a matchup of featherweight contenders. Before making any UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Volkov picks, make to see the UFC Live Fight
A CBS Sports editor specializing in MMA, Wise has been dissecting the sport for more than five years. He specializes in picking main-card fights for UFC, which has enabled him to be profitable every year. Wise went a perfect 5-0 at UFC 239 and was 4-1 at both UFC 245 and UFC 249. He also nailed Khabib Nurmagomedov’s destruction of Conor McGregor in 2018, Stipe Miocic’s upset of Daniel Cormier, Max Holloway’s downfall in 2019 and Justin Gaethje’s TKO victory over Tony Ferguson in May.
Across UFC 247, UFC 248, UFC 249 and UFC 250, Wise went 14-6 with his main-card UFC picks, posting a winning record on every card and returning healthy profits for anyone following them. Last week at UFC Fight Night, he told SportsLine members to back Cynthia Calvillo (-110) against Jessica Eye (-110) in the main event. He reasoned that Calvillo’s strong wrestling base would be the difference and was proven correct as she used takedowns and grappling to control the action. Anyone who has consistently followed Wise is way up.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Volkov fast approaching, Wise has carefully studied every main-card matchup and released his MMA picks for each fight.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov preview
Wise knows the main-event winner will be well-positioned for a title bout in the near future, likely in 2021. Champion Stipe Miocic has agreed to a trilogy fight with former champ and top-rated contender Daniel Cormier in August to provide the division with some needed activity.
The winner will likely face No. 2-ranked Francis Ngannou, who has already defeated Blaydes twice. Aside from his losses to Ngannou, Blaydes (13-2-1) has carved up the heavyweight division, with wins over UFC luminaries like Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. The 29-year-old Illinois native also knocked out former champ Junior Dos Santos in their January bout.
Blaydes can protect his ranking with a win over Volkov (31-7), the upstart Russian who similarly has a title shot in his sights. The 31-year-old is 5-1 in six UFC appearances, with the lone defeat coming in a late knockout loss to Derrick Lewis in which Volkov was 10 seconds away from a decision victory. In his last bout, Volkov dominated Greg Hardy in what many observers believed would be a dangerous matchup against the powerful former NFL player. You can see Wise’s full Blaydes vs. Volkov picks here.
Top UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Volkov predictions
We’ll share one of Wise’s UFC Fight Night main-card predictions here: He is backing Belal Muhammad (-145) to get the best of Lyman Good (+125) in a matchup of welterweight contenders.
Muhammad (16-3) has been on a roll, with wins in six of his past seven bouts. However, he has been unable to crack the rankings in the loaded welterweight division. That likely will change if he can notch another victory Saturday. The versatile fighter notched a third-round submission of Takashi Sato in September of last year.
Good (21-5-1) is developing a reputation for action-packed fights while going 3-2 in five UFC appearances. The hard-punching New Yorker is coming off a third-round stoppage of Chance Rencountre in their November bout.
Wise said he believes Muhammad’s strong chin and edge in high-level experience will be the key factors in a decision victory.
“Good is on an alternating run of wins and losses with stoppages mixed in, but those are against much chinnier opponents than Muhammad,” Wise told SportsLine.
How to make Blaydes vs. Volkov picks
Wise also has strong picks for Blaydes vs. Volkov and every other bout on the main card. He’s also backing one fighter who “has magic in his hands.”
Who wins Blaydes vs. Volkov at UFC Fight Night on June 20? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight on the main UFC: Blaydes vs. Volkov card, all from the accomplished expert who has been profitable for five straight years, and find out.
UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Volkov odds (via William Hill)
Curtis Blaydes (-400) vs. Alexander Volkov (+310)
Shane Burgos (-150) vs. Josh Emmett (+125)
Raquel Pennington (-180) vs. Marion Reneau (+155)
Belal Muhammad (-125) vs. Lyman Good (+105)
Roosevelt Roberts (-260) vs. Jim Miller (+210)