Tom Aspinall maintains that he wanted to take a deliberate and cautious approach to his UFC career. Instead, the heavyweight prospect’s meteoric rise has him on the doorstep of a title shot that he could secure with a win on Saturday over veteran Curtis Blaydes in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Aspinall. The battle of ranked contenders will close the main UFC London fight card (2 p.m. ET) from the 02 Arena. Although the No. 6-ranked Aspinall vowed to take his time in working towards the top, he ended up becoming the fastest fighter to reach five UFC wins in the promotion’s history, besting the mark held by Ronda Rousey. He could possibly enter the title conversation with a win over the No. 4-ranked Blaydes, who hopes to improve his own stock by notching another victory against a quality opponent at UFC London.
Aspinall is a -130 favorite (risk $130 to win $100), while Blaydes is a +110 underdog in the latest UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Aspinall odds from Caesars Sportsbook. In the co-main event, light heavyweight contenders collide when Jack Hermansson (-110) meets Chris Curtis (-110). Before locking in any picks of your own for UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Aspinall, make sure you check out the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Andrew Gombas.
Gombas is a former NCAA wrestler who taps into his experience on the mat to help understand and dissect the X’s and O’s of MMA matchups in a manner that sets him apart from other MMA analysts. He started the MMA handicapping service MMA Knockout Bets in 2018 and has shown a profit every year since.
With more than 1,400 selections tracked by the third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, he has shown a 6 percent return on investment for his followers. Over the past two years, his followers have netted a profit of more than $10,000.
Just last month at UFC 275, Gombas swept the board with his main-card picks and the five-fight sweep included encouraging SportsLine members to back Jake Matthews (+125) against Andre Fialho (-145) in a matchup of welterweight prospects. Matthews dominated from the outset and scored a second-round stoppage to give Gombas’ backers another easy winner. Anyone who has followed Gombas already has seen massive returns.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Aspinall in sight, Gombas has studied the card from every angle and released his top MMA picks. Those UFC picks are only available at SportsLine.
UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Aspinall preview
The winner of Saturday’s main event could potentially be in line for the next title shot against champion Francis Ngannou, who currently doesn’t have a fight booked in large part because he is sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a knee injury.
Ngannou has already defeated top-ranked contender Ciryl Gane, who was his last opponent, and won a rematch with second-ranked Stipe Miocic. The champion is believed to be interested in a big-money fight with former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but the timetable for the return of the mercurial Jones remains uncertain.
Thus, it’s possible either Aspinall (12-2) or Blaydes (16-3-1) could get the next title chance or possibly be selected to fight for an interim title if Ngannou remains inactive.
Coincidentally, two of Blaydes’ three UFC losses have come to the champion, though neither has come in a title bout. He was stopped in the first round of their November 2018 encounter. His only other UFC loss came in an upset against two-time title challenger Derrick Lewis in February of last year.
The 31-year-old Blaydes is a dominant wrestler who also carries power in his hands. He faces a litmus test in the surging Aspinall, who has shown speed, versatility and durability while running through his first five UFC opponents.
The 29-year-old English fighter faced a step forward in competition in his last outing against veteran contender Alexander Volkov but finished him with a first-round submission. The dominant showing earned him his third consecutive performance bonus. You can only see who to pick at UFC Fight Night here.
UFC Fight Night predictions
We’ll share one of Gombas’ UFC Fight Night picks here: He is siding with Nikita Krylov (-190) to get his hand raised against Alexander Gustafsson (+170) in a matchup of light heavyweight veterans.
Gustafsson (18-7) is a 13-year UFC veteran who famously pushed former champions Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier to the brink in title fights but came up short in both. The 35-year-old Swedish fighter hasn’t entered the Octagon in more than two years and hasn’t notched a UFC victory since May 2015.
Krylov (27-9) has had two separate stints in the UFC spanning nearly 10 years and has spent most of that time in the upper half of the UFC rankings, though he has never competed for a title. The versatile 30-year-old Ukrainian has dropped two straight against surging prospects and is coming off a submission loss to Paul Craig in March.
“I believe Krylov is a better grappler than Gustafsson and think his striking is underrated. It’s not the prettiest, but it is effective. Gustafsson has not won a fight in more than five years, and I believe that trend continues,” Gombas told SportsLine. See who else to pick here.
How to make UFC Fight Night selections
Gombas also has strong picks for Blaydes vs. Aspinall and other fights on the UFC Fight Night card. He’s also backing a fighter who “has a serious grappling edge” to emerge with a dominant victory. Those UFC Fight Night picks are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Blaydes vs. Aspinall? And what other picks do you need to see? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the insider who’s up more than $10,000 on MMA picks the past two years, and find out.
UFC Fight Night odds, fight card
See full UFC Fight Night picks, predictions, best bets at SportsLine
Tom Aspinall (-130) vs. Curtis Blaydes (+110)
Chris Curtis (-110) vs. Jack Hermannson (-110)
Paddy Pimblett (-250) vs. Jordan Leavitt (+210)
Nikita Krylov (-190) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (+170)
Molly McCain (-380) vs. Hannah Goldy (+310)
Volkan Oezdemir (-160) vs. Paul Craig (+140)
Mason Jones (-335) vs. Ludovit Klein (+275)
Marc Diakiese (-340) vs. Damir Hadzovic (+280)
Nathaniel Wood (-500) vs. Charles Rosa (+400)
Jonathan Pearce (-215) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (+185)
Muhammad Mokaev (-500) vs. Charles Johnson (+400)
Jai Herbert (-270) vs. Kyle Nelson (+230)
Mandy Bohm (-130) vs. Victoria Leonardo (+110)
Nicolas Dalby (-250) vs. Claudio Silva (+210)