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UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez odds, predictions: MMA expert releases surprising fight card picks, bets

Fighters looking to get their edge back will clash when American Alex Perez meets Matheus Nicolau of Brazil on Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main card. Action at the UFC APEX gets underway at 7 p.m. ET. It’s been over a year since Nicolau last competed in the Octagon, when he was knocked out at 2:09 of the first round by Brandon Royval at UFC on ESPN: Holloway vs. Allen. Perez is coming off just over a month layoff, after stepping in as a replacement for Manel Kape. In his last bout, Perez lost a unanimous decision to Muhammad Mokaev at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Gaziev on March 2, his third loss in a row. 

Nicolau is a -185 favorite (risk $185 to win $100), while Perez comes back at +155 in the latest UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez odds. Also on the main card is a light heavyweight matchup between Ryan Spann (-195) and Bogdan Guskov (+165). Before locking in any UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez picks, make sure you see the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine analyst Daniel Vithlani

Vithlani is a highly analytical UFC bettor who has been a consistent winner for SportsLine members since making his debut in January 2023 with a 5-0 record for UFC 283. In the last eight UFC pay-per-view events, Vithlani has gone 6-2 on main-event picks and his main-card selections in that span have netted his followers a profit of more than $1,500.

His highlights include calling an upset for Sean O’Malley (+210) against Aljamain Sterling (-250) at UFC 292 as part of a 4-1 main card and his UFC 299 winners included underdog selections on Dustin Poirier (+190) against Benoit Saint Denis (-230) and Michael Page (+110) against Kevin Holland (-130). Anyone who has followed him is way up. Anyone who has followed him has seen massive returns. 

Now, with UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez on deck, Vithlani has studied the card from top to bottom and released his top picks. You can only see those picks at SportsLine

UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez preview

Nicolau, 31, has had a lot of success since turning pro in 2010, at the age of 17. He posted a record of 10-1-1 competing in regional competitions in Brazil, before trying out for The Ultimate Fighter. In March 2015, he was selected as one of the fighters for The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, and reached all the way to the semifinals where he lost by unanimous decision to Dileno Lopes. He debuted in UFC on Nov. 7, 2015, where he defeated Bruno Rodrigues by submission in the third round.

After a brief absence from UFC following a knock-out loss to Dustin Ortiz in 2018, but returned in January 2021. He has won four of five bouts since then. In 23 professional matches, Nicolau has gone 19-3-1, with five wins by knockout, five by submission and nine by decision. All three of his losses have been by knockout. He is currently the fifth-ranked fighter in the UFC flyweight rankings.

Perez, 32, began his professional fighting career in 2011 in the bantamweight division at TPF 9, earning a knockout win over Jesus Castro in the first round. He ended up compiling a 17-4 record, before joining Dana White’s Contender Series 5 in August 2017. He then defeated Kevin Gray by technical submission in a return to the flyweight division. On Dec. 9, 2017, he won another match by submission, defeating Carls John de Tomas in a bantamweight bout.

Since then, he has gone 5-4 and has compiled a 24-8 overall record. He has won five matches by knockout, seven by submission and 12 by decision. Despite losing his last three matches, two by submission and one by unanimous decision, he finds himself ranked No. 8 in the UFC flyweight rankings. You can only see who to pick at UFC Fight Night right here

UFC Fight Night predictions 

We’ll share one of Vithlani’s UFC Fight Night selections here: He is backing Karine Silva (-145) to defeat Ariane Lipski (+125) in a women’s flyweight bout.

Silva (17-4) has been dominant, moving up to No. 13 in the UFC women’s flyweight rankings. She had her way with Maryna Moroz in her last match at UFC 292 in August 2023, earning a win by submission at 4:59 of the first round. She has won nine of her bouts by knockout and eight by submission. She began her fighting career in 2013, before joining Dana White’s Contender Series 45 nearly three years ago.

Lipski (17-8) looks to be back on track after suffering three losses in a four-match span from 2020 to 2023. She has now won three bouts in a row. The last win was a second round submission win over Casey O’Neill at UFC 296 in December. That earned her Performance of the Night honors. Of her wins, six have been by knockout, four by submission and seven by decision. The “Queen of Violence” is ranked No. 12 by UFC in the women’s flyweight division.

Although leaning towards Silva, Vithlani said he sees this match being tight. “This is a good matchup between two skilled flyweight fighters. Silva is a dangerous grappler, with a lethal array of submission attacks. Silva’s last six wins have all come by submission, sporting finishes by heel hook, armbar, guillotine, D’arce choke, and kneebar in those wins. Silva’s striking is improving as well, which has only helped set up her strong takedowns even more. Lipski will certainly be Silva’s toughest test yet,” Vithlani told SportsLine. See who else to back here

How to make UFC Fight Night picks  

Vithlani has strong picks for Nicolau vs. Perez and other bouts on the UFC Fight Night card. He’s also backing a fighter who “will inflict damage with ground and pound” to emerge with a dominant victory. Those UFC picks and analysis are only available at SportsLine

Who wins UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez, and how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $1,500 on his UFC main-card picks in 2023, and find out. 

UFC Fight Night odds, fight card

See full UFC Fight Night picks, predictions, best bets here.

Matheus Nicolau (-185) vs. Alex Perez (+155)
Bogdan Guskov (+165) vs. Ryan Spann (-195)
Gabriel Benitez (+170) vs. Hayisaer Maheshate (-205)
Ivana Petrovic (-500) vs. Na Liang (+390)
Marnic Mann (+260) vs. Ketlen Souza (-325)
Don’Tale Mayes (+100) vs. Caio Machado (-125)
Austin Hubbard (+140) vs. Michal Figlak (-165)
Rani Yahya (+390) vs. Victory Henry (-500)
Tim Means (+250) vs. Uros Medic (-310)
Jonathan Pearce (-180) vs. David Onama (+150)
Austen Lane (+200) vs. Jhonata Diniz (-245)
Karine Silva (-145) vs. Ariane Lipski (+125)

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