UFC 298 Main Card Best Bets: No Knockouts Here, These Fights Will Go the Distance   


The UFC arrives in The Golden State this weekend, as the second pay-per-view event of 2024 is already upon us.

Middleweight brutes Rob Whittaker and Paulo Costa go to war in the co-main event, while Ian Garry attempts to continue his undefeated streak when he welcomes Geoff Neal to the octagon.

Let’s waste no more time and dive right into the most noteworthy betting picks for the UFC 298 main card.

Picks Summary

  • Rob Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa Over 2.5 Rounds (-160)
  • Geoff Neal vs. Ian Garry Over 2.5 Rounds (-125)

*All odds from Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)

Rob Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa

UFC 298 Middleweight Co-Main Event Bout

Saturday, February 17, 2024 – 06:30 PM ET at Honda Centre

Rob Whittaker

Bobby Knuckles, where do we start?

He was the former middleweight king before Israel Adesanya spoilt his reign and, for the past 11 years, he’s entertained fans with a diverse skillset and elite-level offensive striking.

Despite owning such a decorated career, he isn’t done yet. Aged just 33, with such a long resume, it’s easy to assume Whittaker is older than meets the eye, but this weekend could be a turning point in his career as he aims to return to the no.1 contender position.

  • Whittaker Pro MMA Record: 24-7-0
  • Whittaker KOs: 9
  • Whittaker Submissions: 5

Paulo Costa

Paulo Costa, when he isn’t bashing heads in the octagon, he’s making us laugh out loud via social media. One thing that isn’t a joke, though, is the brute force and athleticism that he’s unleashed during his UFC tenure.

Unfortunately, a lack of activity has recently plagued Costa and we’ve only seen him compete thrice in the last three years. Hopefully, we will see more of the Brazilian funnyman in 2024, and a victory this weekend will propel him back into the title picture where he once was.

  • Costa Pro MMA Record: 14-2-0
  • Costa KOs: 11
  • Costa Submissions: 1

Whittaker vs. Costa: Fight Tape Analysis

Many have speculated that Whittaker is suffering from father time, and this shouldn’t come as a shock; the man has been through countless wars, including a recent KO loss to the current champ, Dricus Du Plessis. This, however, doesn’t remove the slick kickboxing offense and almost unstoppable takedown defense that ushered him into the top rankings.

When the cage door closed, Costa was initially a wrecking ball, but his recent bouts have displayed a different fighter. He’s never managed to defeat a top-level opponent during the prime of their career and it isn’t easy to configure a game plan that will overcome Whittaker’s volume and tactical approach.

UFC 298 Main Card Odds & Prediction

The UFC pricing with OddsTrader’s top betting sites has Whittaker as the betting favorite, but a -250 price tag is far from desirable.

Skill for skill, Whittaker is undoubtedly the greater fighter of the two but, at the same time, I’m unwilling to lay the juice when there’s a more probable outcome in the form of the over 2.5 rounds.

Whittaker’s six recent victories were obtained via the scorecards and Costa has seen the judge’s scorecards in 3 of his most recent 4 bouts. In addition, durability has favored both men and I expect to see a third round this Saturday.

UFC Pick: Over 2.5 Rounds (-160) [1.60u returns 1u profit] at Bet365

Geoff Neal vs. Ian Garry

UFC 298 Welterweight Main Card Bout

Saturday, February 17, 2024 – 06:30 PM ET at Honda Centre

Ian Garry

The escapades of Ian Garry have resulted in widespread hatred from MMA fans. Still, the Irishman has undeniably earned his position as a top-15-ranked fighter with a 6-fight win streak since joining the promotion in 2021.

Love him or hate him; you have to admire Garry’s hunger. If it weren’t for back-to-back canceled bouts in Q4 2023, he would’ve competed five times and, at the age of just 26, we can expect many more high-profile bouts to come in 2024.

  • Garry Pro MMA Record: 13-0-0
  • Garry KOs: 7
  • Garry Submissions: 1

Geoff Neal

“Hands of Steel,” Geoff Neal, obliterated his welterweight opponents until reaching the top 10 of the division, and since 2020, he’s gone 2-3 with losses to Neil Magny, Stephen Thompson and Shavkat Rakhmonov.

That said, styles make fights, and he’s stopped Vicente Luque and unanimously smashed Belal Muhammad during his UFC tenure, thus making him a live underdog for any of the division’s top-ranked fighters.

  • Neal Pro MMA Record: 15-5-0
  • Neal KOs: 9
  • Neal Submissions: 2

Neal vs. Garry: Fight Tape Analysis

We’ve watched Garry give up effortless takedowns versus the likes of Darian Weeks, a much lower-level opponent than Neal. However, fortunately for the Irishman, he’ll receive the kickboxing war he desires this weekend with what seems to be a tailor-made opponent.

Neal likes to stand and bang, nothing more and nothing less. He’s capable of wrestling, but he’d much rather face an opponent that will exchange strikes for 15 minutes. Unfortunately, those steel hands have been solved and the likes of “Wonderboy” Thompson displayed a path to victory and that’s through footwork and long shots at a distance that caused frustration.

It’s simple for Garry: he’s longer, he’ll have the higher output and the smart path to victory, as previously mentioned, is a style he’s already used to.

UFC 298 Main Card Odds & Prediction

The UFC prices at OddsTrader have placed a juice moneyline on Garry, and much like the Whittaker betting situation, we aren’t going to touch it.

Instead, look to the over 2.5 rounds again. Should this fight play out with Garry at range, popping jabs behind a point-fighting style, we can expect minimum aggression and a high chance of this contest going all three rounds.

UFC Pick: Over 2.5 Rounds (-125) [1.25u returns 1u profit] at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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