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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Robert Whittaker (-250) vs. Paulo Costa (+205)

Though all eyes will be on the main event, Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa have the chance to steal headlines in the co-main event. As two of the division's mainstays of the top 10, a title opportunity could be on the line for the winner with the middleweight belt frequently changing hands since Alex Pereira ripped it off of Israel Adesanya. Each fighter has their own passionate fanbase behind them but has experienced hardship in 2023.

Since breaking through in the UFC, Whittaker has not lost back-to-back fights since 2014 as a welterweight and has never dropped two in a row at middleweight. Coming off a loss to Dricus Du Plessis, Whittaker has said all the right things and presents himself as having taken the right steps in preparation to bounce back with an impressive win. While he does have the perfect style to thwart a power puncher such as Costa, Whittaker has not finished an opponent since 2017 and Costa has only been finished once by Israel Adesanya.

Prediction: Whittaker by decision

Alexander Volkanovski (-125) vs. Ilia Topuria (+105)

After months of anticipation, Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria will finally meet in the center of the octagon on Feb. 17 with the future of the featherweight division at stake. As the longest-reigning champion in the UFC, Volkanovski is closing as just a slight favorite with concern about his age being most of the conversations during fight week. Now 35, Volkanovski has reached the seemingly cursed limit for UFC championship fights below 170 pounds, with the combined record of such fighters being 2-30.

Despite losing twice in 2023, Volkanovski has not lost a featherweight fight in his career, while Topuria remains undefeated at 14-0. While the age narrative has been largely overblown due to Islam Makhachev's greatness, the concern is still valid, especially given the way the champion looked in his last outing. It is easy to forget how dominant Volkanovski was against Yair Rodriguez, but Topuria provides a completely different approach with precise boxing and elite grappling.

This will not be the dominant showing that Topuria suggests it will be, but the challenger has the skills and style to exploit Volkanovski's impending decline coming off his first knockout loss since 2013. Volkanovski is acutely aware that one shot is all it takes for Topuria but the latter has found that mark much more often than not in recent performances.

Prediction: Topuria by submission in round three


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