UFC 294: Muhammad Mokaev vs. Tim Elliot prediction, odds 1

UFC prodigy Muhammad Mokaev returns to the UFC octagon this weekend to take on savvy veteran Tim Elliot. Mokaev, Russian-born but competing under England, made waves first in the IMMAF, becoming an amateur world champion, and then a successful pro in BRAVE CF. In 2022 he debuted in the UFC, starting what would become a four-fight win streak that continues to the current day.

In order to turn that four into a five, he must get past Elliot, an American wrestler who started his MMA career all the way back in 2009 and his UFC career in 2012. Along the way, Elliot has fought the who’s who of the lighter divisions, defeating former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver at RFA 1 as well as Louis Smolka, Tagir Ulanbekov and Jordan Espinosa in the UFC, among others. He has also competed with Demetrious Johnson for the UFC Flyweight title, as well as John Dodson in his UFC debut.

Betting Odds

The surging prospect Mokaev will come in as a huge favorite at -430 according to BetUS.

  • Tim Elliot: +330 (BetUS)
  • Muhammad Mokaev: -430 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Tim Elliot has one of the most awkward fighting styles you could see in MMA. He bombs and weaves on a sporadic rhyme, often lifting his leg and waiting a beat before extending a kick, or doubling and tripping up on the same strike. He will stand square in front of his opponent at times or completely turn away as he shoulder rolls to the point where he essentially turns his back on his opponent. However, this same unpredictability and a constant pressure allow him to get ahead of his opponents and often stay that step ahead for long stretches of fight.

He will box his way in with a flurry, dip off to the side, and then return on the same angle with a blast takedown. His takedowns, because offbeat, are difficult to time for his opponents, which he depends on as they are not always technically sound. He shoots in with his head down so as to drive to his forehead into the midsection, as he elevates the lag without completely changing levels. If one were to time this with a knee down the pipe it could cause major damage, but the odd rhythm or lack thereof from Elliot makes this a problem to solve.

The strange ways in which Elliot is able to dip and angle off with his boxing is very elusive. However, past opponents have found success targeting the body and legs , which are much more difficult to move than Elliot’s head. Mokaev is an excellent kicker. He may not be able to exchange inside the pocket with boxing as smooth as Elliot but from the outside, attacking the legs and the body is a solid gameplan. When targeting the head Mokaev has to use his kicks on the outside to set up his boxing, buckling the lead leg to set up his hands, or getting Elliot to block and freeze with a kick to the body or head. He also has to use his hands then to set up the head kick, because as Elliot dips off he does leave that angle free for a head kick to come behind the punch that Elliot slips.

Elliot can scramble with just about anyone in his weight class. He is exceptional at not only defending takedowns but riding the momentum and scrambling into top position. For Mokaev, he not only has to find a way to secure top control as quickly as possible but to settle as quickly as possible and force Elliot to work from his guard. That means, in positions where Mokaev has a position secured against the cage or in a clinch, the shortest route to a control position is best, if he has a rear waist lock, dragging straight back and getting hooks should be a priority. If he opts for a throw or a drag around, those are the situations where Elliot scrambles into better positions.

Mokaev is very intentional with his positioning once he does secure control. Often watch for him to elect for quarter mount or leg drag when he is working from side control, so that he can force his opponents to give up the back. This is where he needs to put Elliot, as those who scramble rapidly are more likely to roll into turtle to work their way up, and leg drag and quarter mount allow Mokaev to transition seamlessly onto the back.


This has all the making for a high-paced and very exciting fight. I do believe that whoever installs themselves as the hammer first and gets going quicker will win a large battle. Both these men like to get after it and be aggressive, and especially for Elliot his odd style works best when his opponents are trying to react to him rather than vice versa.

I do think that we will see a lot of scrambles, but the submission awareness will hold up for both men for the most part. I also think that although they are good strikers, neither are known are big one-shot punchers, so unless Mokaev hits a jumping knee or a flush headlock on Elliot’s slips the fight could definitely last some time.

Mokaev is the better pick, but at -430, it’s not massively appealing. Instead, I would go with the fight to go over 2.5 rounds at -185 on BetUS.

Pick: Fight to go over 2.5 rounds (-185 at BetUS)

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