On the preliminary card of UFC 254, Joel Alvarez will meet Alexander Yakovlev in a lightweight bout this Saturday live from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and available on ESPN+.
Alvarez missed the lightweight non-title fight limit of 156 lbs. badly, tipping the scales at 159.5. He’ll forfeit 30% of his purse to Yakolev, and will be ineligible for any performance bonuses.
This will be the first fight of the event, with Alvarez opening as the slight favorite. He comes 17-2 MMA in his career with all 17 wins via stoppage, 15 of them by submission. With under a ten-minute average fight time, he’s averaged just 3.03 significant strikes per minute and landing just 36 percent of his attempts. He absorbs 3.67 per minute, defending 53 percent of them.
This will be a huge bout for the 26-year-old as he’ll be battling a much more experienced Yakovlev, also known as the Russian Thunder.
Yakolev did somehow manage to stay in the ring with current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman for all 15 minutes. While Usman took him down five times, Yakovlev is a solid grappler, landing 1.56 takedowns per 15 minutes. He delivers 1.79 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 2.44. This may be one of the closest fights of the preliminary card.
Here are the betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook for Joel Alvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev at UFC 254 on October 24th.
Money line odds
Joel Alvarez: -175
Alexander Yakovlev: +138
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