UFC 290 Odds, Lines, Picks, Predictions Feature Bo Nickal As Historic Favorite

Written By Ben Fowlkes | Last Updated
ufc 290 odds

UFC betting is back home in Las Vegas for “international fight week,” and we have some interesting UFC 290 odds to examine for Saturday’s pay-per-view-event from T-Mobile Arena. Those odds include a replacement opponent that has made Bo Nickal the biggest favorite in UFC history (). However, the main event features featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski taking on interim champ Yair Rodriguez. 

The co-main event sees flyweight champion Brandon Moreno defend his belt against Alexandre Pantoja, a fighter who defeated him the last time they met in 2018. Early prelims are on ESPN+, beginning at 6 p.m. ET. Prelims will air on ABC/ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, with the main card on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET.

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UFC 290 Main Card

Alexander Volkanovski () vs. Yair Rodriguez ()

Brandon Moreno () vs. Alexandre Pantoja ()

Robert Whittaker () vs. Dricus du Plessis ()

Jalin Turner () vs. Dan Hooker ()

Bo Nickal () vs. Val Woodburn ()


Robbie Lawler () vs. Niko Price ()

Jack Della Maddalena () vs. Josiah Harrell ()

Yazmin Jauregui () vs. Denise Gomes ()

Jimmy Crute () vs. Alonzo Menifield ()

Early Prelims

Tatsuro Taira vs. Edgar Chairez

Vitor Petrino () vs. Marcin Prachnio ()

Cameron Saaiman () vs. Terrence Mitchell ()

Shannon Ross () vs. Jesus Santos Aguilar ()

Kamuela Kirk () vs. Esteban Ribovics ()


Alexander Volkanovski’s bid to become a two-division champion may not have worked out the way he hoped, but his narrow decision loss to 155-pound champ Islam Makhachev in February did help solidify some things we mostly already knew about him. The first is that Volkanovski is insanely durable. He may get clipped from time to time, maybe even stunned and staggered. He might get caught in the occasional choke. But there’s a big difference between hurting him and finishing him.

The other thing we learned is that Volkanovski is still a master of mid-fight adjustments. It’s not uncommon for him to lose the first round or even the first two before tweaking his plan of attack and then taking over a fight. This could be especially helpful against Yair Rodriguez, who’s a dynamic and creative striker but who has sometimes faded under relentless pressure later in fights.

What Rodriguez has going for him, aside from a significant height advantage, is the sheer unpredictability and diversity of his offense. He throws unexpected strikes from unusual angles, but can also latch onto a submission when his opponents switch to wrestling mode to get away from his attacks. What’s less clear is whether he can mount the kind of sustained, consistent offense necessary to win a five-round fight against a resilient champ who’s hard to finish.


The longer the fight goes, the more it would seem to favor Volkanovski. He’s gone to decision in six of his last seven bouts, and the lone exception was a late TKO in the championship rounds. Rodriguez is the more dangerous fighter early on, especially in the first two rounds. He always has the ability to pull out something crazy, even in the literal final seconds of a fight, but you don’t want to rely on a finish against Volkanovski. Tactically and technically, Volkanovski is the better fighter. If he gets a chance to settle in and figure Rodriguez over the course of five full rounds, he’ll likely find a way to win at least three of them.

Main Event Odds: To Win By Decision

Main Event Odds: Win by KO/TKO/DQ


Normally you wouldn’t expect a fighter to come in as an underdog against an opponent he’s beaten twice already, even if one of those wins was in an exhibition bout for a reality TV show. That’s a testament to the growth in Brandon Moreno’s game, especially over the last few years as he’s seized the 125-pound title and fended off some of the division’s scariest foes.

This version of Moreno is much better than the one Alexandre Pantoja beat in 2018. Not only is the champ more well-rounded now, but he’s also much more comfortable and patient inside the cage. His four title fights with Deiveson Figueiredo also gave him a lot more big fight experience, which is something Pantoja is still lacking. While Pantoja has proven to be a dangerous finisher against lesser competition, Moreno is a tough guy to put away at this point.


If Moreno is in the same form we’ve seen from him lately, he should win this. But don’t expect him to easily roll through someone like Pantoja. He has to be patient without retreating into a defensive shell. But one area of Moreno’s game that’s come a long way lately is the ability to control the pace of a fight without overextending himself. The longer the fight goes, the more his championship experience should take over.

Co-Main Event Odds: Winner and Round Of Win

Co-Main Event Odds: Method of Victory


Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus du Plessis

On paper, this seems like Whittaker all the way. He’s so good everywhere, but also such a smart fighter who makes very few mistakes. The one thing du Plessis has going for him is a ton of resiliency, even when it looks like he’s teetering on the edge of defeat. His current seven-fight winning streak is a testament to that, but also his ability to seize on the slightest opening to take over a fight. Unfortunately for him, Whittaker isn’t known for providing such openings, especially when he gets to fight guys his own size.

Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker

In some ways, Turner is a nightmare matchup for Hooker. He’s tall, lanky, and can make good use of the range in ways that Hooker typically excels at when he has those advantages on his side. Here, all Hooker’s favorite weapons are mostly on Turner’s side. That’s a tricky puzzle to solve and not a ton of evidence to suggest Hooker can get it done.

Bo Nickal vs. Val Woodburn

This would still be the biggest mismatch of the card even if Woodburn wasn’t taking it on extremely short notice, which he is. Nickal is the college wrestling champ who’s dominated all four of his previous MMA opponents. The UFC had already set him up for success with his original opponent, then had to scramble to find a replacement when that fighter pulled out injured this week. Nickal should roll through Woodburn. It would be surprising if it takes more than a round, and downright astounding if it sees the scorecards.

Prelim Prop Bet Options

We’re told this is the final fight of a storied and violent career for Robbie Lawler. Against the occasionally wild Niko Price, who’s been known to end up on the wrong side of a knockout before, Lawler might be one of the best underdog picks on this card. If he does get it done, it’ll almost certainly be via TKO/KO.

Elsewhere on the prelims, the second-best bet of the night is Jack Della Maddalena. He’s facing a late replacement in Josiah Harrell, and his chances of ending this one early with a finish due to strikes are extremely good.

Best of luck with handicapping UFC 290 odds.