Complete UFC 298 predictions & odds: Will Ilia Topuria become the new featherweight champ?

  • The featherweight title is on the line at UFC 298
  • We break down every odd, plus who we think will win
  • Come back on Satruday night to see how well we did
Ilia Topuria
Ilia Topuria / Patricia J. Garcinuno/GettyImages
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Zhang Mingyang (-118) vs. Brendson Ribeiro (-102)

In the closest-lined fight of the night, fans will finally be able to see the UFC debuts of Zhang Mingyang and Brendson Ribeiro. Though both looked great in their last respective fights to earn UFC contracts, both also have a terrible quality of competition on the regional scene with a wide range of impressive performances and bad losses. It is difficult to gauge the true potential of either fighter, but Zhang has shown better technique in his striking and more discipline defensively, which Ribeiro lacks. Zhang cannot be faulted for his lack of legitimate opponents to this point but did pass a test in the Road to UFC finale against the semi-respectable George Tokkos.

Prediction: Zhang by knockout in round one

Rinya Nakamura (-1350) vs. Carlos Vera (+800)

Rinya Nakamura is predictably the largest favorite on the card against TUF 31 contestant Carlos Vera as one of the brightest prospects in MMA. We have certainly seen bigger upsets in the past, Nakamura has the perfect style to pick up another effortless win over Vera. Though explosive and athletic, Vera struggled with the strength and wrestling of Brad Katona on TUF, and Nakamura brings the exact same style at a much higher level. Nakamura was unable to secure a finish in his last outing but was very hard on himself for his performance and Vera shows many holes in his submission defense.

Prediction: Nakamura by submission in round two

Marcos Rogerio de Lima (-148) vs. Justin Tafa (+124)

Though fans only have the lasting of Marcos Rogerio de Lima getting annihilated by Derrick Lewis, the Brazilian did actually display an impressive chin in that fight, surviving a flying knee and vicious ground-and-pound from a fighter whom many claim is the hardest-hitting heavyweight of all time. Justin Tafa could certainly finish Lima himself, but Lima has never lost two consecutive in the UFC and the loss to Lewis was just his second by knockout. In Tafa's seven professional wins, all have been by knockout and the last fighter he faced with similar durability resulted in a 30-27 loss. Lima is prone to brawling, but Tafa will have to hope to land the first big shot and Lima will have a massive grappling advantage should the fight hit the canvas.

Prediction: Lima by submission in round three