The main event of UFC 274 took a big turn Friday night. Charles Oliveira, the current lightweight champion, has dropped half a pound in weight and will be forced to vacate the belt on Saturday night regardless of the outcome of his fight. He may remain the top contender in the class, however, with a win over Justin Gaethje, who is now set to inherit the title with a win. This fight headlines the UFC 274 main fight card at 10 p.m. ET from the Footprint Center in Phoenix. Oliveira originally won the vacant belt by beating Michael Chandler last May and defending it against Dustin Poirier in December.
Caesars Sportsbook still lists Oliveira as the -140 favorite (risk $140 to win $100), while Gaethje returns to +120 in the latest Oliveira vs. Gaethje odds. Caesars’ UFC 274 odds also list Rose Namajunas at -200 as she defends the women’s strawweight title against second challenger Carla Esparza (+175) in the co-main event. Before you lock in the picks for UFC 274, be sure to check out MMA predictions and betting tips from SportsLine expert Andrew Gombas.
Gombas is a former NCAA wrestler who draws on his experience on the mat to dissect the Xs and O’s of MMA matchups in a way that sets him apart from other MMA analysts. He launched MMA handicapping service MMA Knockout Bets in 2018 and has turned a profit every year since.
With over 1,400 caps tracked by third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, it has shown a 6% return on investment for its subscribers. Over the past two years, his followers have made a profit of over $10,000.
In January, Gombas kicked off the 2022 UFC season in memorable fashion by telling SportsLine members to support Calvin Kattar (+200) against Giga Chikadze (-240) in a battle of ranked featherweight contenders in the main event. Kattar dominated to win a unanimous decision and give his supporters an easy winner. Everyone who has followed Gombas has already seen massive returns.
Now, with UFC 274 in sight, Gombas has studied the card from all angles and released his top MMA picks. You can only see Gombas’ UFC 274 picks on SportsLine.
UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Preview
The main event has certainly lost some shine after Oliveira lost weight, but it will still showcase what is arguably the most talent-rich division in the promotion, and fighters showcase styles of contrasting combat as well as different layouts outside the cage.
Oliveira (32-8-1) has made a well-documented transformation from borderline journeyman to world champion over the past five years. A loss at UFC 218 in December 2017 to Paul Felder was his third in the past four years and he was building a reputation as a fighter who lacked durability and resilience.
But the 32-year-old Brazilian has since gone on a tear that has seen him finish nine opponents while winning 10 games in a row. The only non-stop in that span was a lopsided decision against Tony Ferguson in December 2020.
He will now face one of the most violent finishers in the UFC in Gaethje (23-3), whose favorite MMA strategy is to have him and his opponent trade flat-footed hay until the one of them loses consciousness.
He’s successful most of the time, which is why the former World Series of Fighting champion is on the UFC’s short list of most popular fighters. The 33-year-old Arizona native secured his second title with a decision victory over former Bellator champion Michael Chandler at UFC 268 in November. The savage three-round brawl earned Fight of the Year accolades from numerous MMA outlets. You can only see who to support at UFC 274 on SportsLine.
UFC 274 Predictions
We’ll share one of Gombas’ UFC 274 predictions here: He’s backing Khaos Williams (-120) to get the best of Randy Brown (+100) in a welterweight slugger battle on the main card.
Brown (14-4) is known for his lethal power complemented by a solid ground game. The six-year UFC veteran went 7-4 in 11 UFC appearances, but a suspicious chin has been a problem in most of his losses. The 31-year-old New Yorker beat veteran Jared Gooden by decision in their October fight for his second straight win.
Williams (12-3) is an equally heavyweight prospect who has seen three of his four UFC wins come close, including stoppages from respected veterans such as Alex Morono and Miguel Baeza. The 28-year-old Michigan native earned a performance bonus for his third-round stoppage of Baeza in November.
“Williams throws a bit wild, but his power makes him dangerous. Brown leads with a solid kick but is open to low kicks,” Gombas told SportsLine.
How to make UFC 274 picks
Gombas also has strong picks for Oliveira against Gaethje and other fights on the UFC 274 card. He also backs a fighter who will “get knockouts early and often” on the way to a dominant win. These UFC 274 expert picks are only available on SportsLine.
Who wins Oliveira versus Gaethje? And what other choices do you need to see? Visit SportsLine now for detailed top picks on UFC 274, all from the insider who has earned over $10,000 on MMA picks over the past two years, and find out.
UFC 274 fight card, odds (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Charles Oliveira (-140) vs Justin Gaethje (+120)
Rose Namajunas (-200) against Carla Esparza (+175)
Michael Chandler (-410) vs. Tony Ferguson (+320)
Ovince Saint Preux (-230) against Mauricio Rua (+190)
Donald Cerrone (-175) vs. Joe Lauzon (+150)
Khaos Williams (-120) vs. Randy Brown (+100)
Norma Dumont (-220) against Macy Chiasson (+180)
Blagoy Ivanov (-150) against Marcos Rogerio De Lima (+125)
Brandon Royval (-260) vs. Matt Schnell (+210)
Francisco Trinaldo (-110) against Danny Roberts (-110)
Tracy Cortez (-175) vs. Melissa Gatto (+150)
Kleidison Rodrigues (-300) against CJ Vergara (+240)
Loopy Godinez (-170) against Ariane Carnelossi (+145)
Journey Newson (-160) vs. Fernie Garcia (+135)
André Fiahlo (-360) against Cameron Vancamp (+280)