UFC 299 Odds, Predictions: O’Malley A Sizable Favourite To Retain Bantamweight Title

The more competitive a UFC card is, the better it is. Whether you’re watching as a fan or a bettor, there’s nothing worse than a night full of predictable blowouts. Luckily, it looks like UFC 299 could be one of the most tightly contested cards in recent memory. From the first fight of the main card – Petr Yan vs. Song Yadong – through the main event of Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera, it could be anybody’s night.

This five-fight main card has a lot of people talking. In this preview, we’ll give you a preview of all the fights, and our expert picks on who will walk out of the Octagon victorious.

Sean O’Malley to win fight vs. Marlon Vera


Petr Yan (-125) vs. Song Yadong (+100)

To really underscore just how strong of a card this is, consider that the opening fight between Yan and Yadong could be a Fight Night headliner. Like the rest of the card, it should be a competitive bout between two seriously tough fighters.

Though Yan has lost his last three fights, there is more than meets the eye. Two of those fights were split-decision losses to Aljamain Sterling and Sean O’Malley. His last was to Merab Dvalishvili. He’s losing, but it isn’t like he’s being dealt with by scrubs.

Yadong, meanwhile, has a lot of promise. His two losses came against high-volume strikers Kyler Phillips and Cory Sandhagen. Against a guy like Yan, who can be considered something of a devastating puncher, it spells trouble. Both have good grappling and boxing backgrounds, but the experience may be the difference-maker.

Both sides should land some big shots over the course of the opening bout. In the end, Song has struggled with fighters of a higher calibre while Yan has gone toe-to-toe with some of the best fighters in the bantamweight division. At the end of the day, this should be an opportunity for Yan to get things back on track against a beatable fighter.

Prediction: Yan by unanimous decision

Gilbert Burns (+130) vs. Jack Della Maddalena (-160)

This is one of the more intriguing fights because both fighters look like they are trending in different directions. Della Maddalena is riding a two-fight win streak (including over one of the next fighters, Kevin Holland) but didn’t look particularly dominant in either of those split-decision wins. Still, he’s shown enough promise at 27 years old to earn this shot to get into the lightweight title scene.

Gilbert Burns will be the best fighter Della Maddalena has seen so far. Burns is diverse in his skillset and has the experience needed to make things tough for the Aussie. Della Maddalena has the kind of hands that can end things in no time, but hasn’t been quite so convincing of late.

The key will be whether Burns decides to stand up and have at it, or take things to the canvas instead. If he does the latter, he will have a clear advantage. If Della Maddalena can keep him upright and swinging, the advantage definitely tilts in the other direction.

For now, it is hard to bet against Della Maddalena, given the fact that he hasn’t lost a fight in eight years. Burns is 3-2 since getting crushed by Kamaru Usman in their 2021 title fight, though one of those involved retiring Jorge Masvidal. The 37-year-old Burns is no pushover but may not have the legs to take out the rising Della Maddalena.

Prediction: Della Maddalena by split decision

Kevin Holland (-138) vs. Michael Page (+110)

This will be the UFC debut of Michael “Venom” Page. He has spent the last decade with Bellator, and has a chance to kick things off on the right foot against an interesting opponent in Holland. It is a compelling battle of two sluggers who can go toe-to-toe with virtually anyone.

Both have great hands, but distinctly different styles. Page has more of a calculated striking style, which you might call sharpshooting, where he picks his spots in an effort to land the crushing blow. Holland, meanwhile, is much more unpredictable and wild.

Page needs to be careful not to get overzealous heading into this fight. Holland was a rising star during the pandemic days, winning a whopping five fights in eight months. He has cooled since then but has the ability to catch Page with a knee or elbow and end things in a moment.

All of that said, Holland has been decidedly average since. He’s 4-5 with a no contest over his last 10 fights. He’s been fed to guys like Della Maddalena and Khamzat Chimaev, and doesn’t show signs that he’s breaking out of the funk. Look for Page to come out hot and kick off his UFC career on the right foot.

Prediction: Page by unanimous decision

Dustin Poirier (+175) vs. Benoit Saint-Denis (-200)

Poirier may have the brand name in this fight, but this feels like a “changing of the guard” fight in many ways. For the better part of the last 10 years, Poirier has been one of the best fighters in the lightweight division, with a number of very memorable bouts on his resume.

With that being said, Poirier hasn’t faced this kind of competition in years. Sure, Saint-Denis is ranked 12th in the lightweight division, but he is the kind of up-and-coming fighter that Poirier has not faced in a long time. It should tell you something that a fighter ranked where Saint-Denis is ranked is joining a legend like Poirier in the co-main event.

Saint-Denis, nicknamed “The God of War,” feels like a juggernaut. He is an aggressive, complete fighter who has shown his ability to eat punches to ratchet up the pressure. And while many fighters would get intimidated by Poirier’s list of accomplishments, we don’t anticipate Saint-Denis folding under pressure.

It would be overstepping the mark to say that Poirier is “over the hill” or “washed up.” He is still a great fighter and has a lot more left in him. But it is hard to see him going against the buzzsaw that dropped Matt Revola in dominant fashion and walking away with his hand raised. Poirier, if anything, will be a sentimental pick for those who back him.

Prediction: Saint-Denis by KO

Benoit Saint-Denis to win via KO


UFC Bantamweight Championship: (C) Sean O’Malley (-275) vs. Marlon Vera (+225)

This could be the fight that solidifies O’Malley not only as a legitimate champion, but as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in all of MMA. Doubters have counted him out previously only to find themselves shocked, especially when he knocked out Aljamain Sterling on his way to becoming the UFC bantamweight champion.

Vera is the lone blemish on O’Malley’s otherwise perfect UFC career. That said, a lot has changed since then. O’Malley has grown into an altogether different fighter since they met at UFC 252. Meanwhile, Vera is still a slow starter, and there’s no guarantee that his previous strategy — going for O’Malley’s legs — will work again.

It’s not like Vera is a shocking pick, however. If he can successfully make O’Malley’s legs a target again, especially early, it could be enough to keep “Suga” Sean at bay. And while O’Malley will be favoured at any sportsbook, many fans will be hoping the 31-year old Ecuadorian can pull off an upset.

The champion is the best 135-pound fighter in the game now. Vera has lost some edge to him since the two fought in 2020, and this feels like O’Malley’s chance to make a statement. It may not end with a lightning bolt strike, but O’Malley should walk out as the champion once again.

Prediction: O’Malley by unanimous decision