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UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento odds, predictions: MMA expert releases surprising fight card picks

Former two-time title challenger Derrick Lewis will make his first appearance of 2024 in the Octagon on Saturday against rising contender Rodrigo Nascimento in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento. Their scheduled five-round showdown highlights the main UFC fight card starting at 7 p.m. ET from the Enterprise Center in St. Louis. Lewis is the heavyweight division’s all-time leader in knockouts with 14, which is also the top mark in the promotion’s history regardless of weight class. The No. 12-ranked Lewis has dropped four of his past fights but remains a fan favorite. He faces a grappling specialist in the No. 15-ranked Nascimento, who makes his headlining debut on the strength of a four-fight unbeaten streak.   

Lewis is a -145 favorite (risk $145 to win $100), while Nascimento is priced at +125 in the latest UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento odds. In the co-main event, Joaquin Buckley (-160) takes on Nursulton Ruziboev (+135) in a matchup of surging welterweight prospects. Before locking in your picks for UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento, make sure you see the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Daniel Vithlani.  

From breaking down film and following fighters and their camps closely, to tracking sharp action and betting market signals, Vithlani covers the breadth of the MMA betting landscape top to bottom. He also trains amateur boxers and speaks regularly with MMA fighters to understand the sport’s nuances. 

Vithlani made his SportsLine debut in January 2023 and swept the main card for UFC 283 with a 5-0 record and has been a consistent winner ever since. Over the past 11 UFC pay-per-view events, Vithlani has gone 7-4 on main-event picks and his main-card selections in that span have netted his followers a profit of more than $1,200. 

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 has seen massive returns. 

Now, with UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento in sight, Vithlani has studied the card from top to bottom and released his top selections. You can only see those picks at SportsLine

UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento preview

Lewis (27-12-1) is a 10-year UFC veteran who is arguably one of the most popular fighters in the history of the promotion. This is because of his vast highlight reels both inside and outside of the cage. Lewis is known for his devastating power that has flattened numerous opponents, but he is perhaps even better known for a dry, deadpan sense of humor that has led to more viral audio and video clips than perhaps any other fighter to don the UFC fight kit. 

Even so, the 39-year-old ‘s work inside the cage is no laughing matter. While once considered mostly a marketable journeyman with a limited ceiling, Lewis silenced his doubters by going on a stretch in which he won nine of 10 to earn his first title shot. He was submitted by former champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 230 in November 2018, a fight he took one month removed from his previous appearance. 

Lewis bounced back with a four-fight winning streak to earn his second title opportunity but was stopped by Ciryl Gane for the interim heavyweight belt at UFC 265 in August 2021. He has since gone 2-4 in six appearances to slip to the fringes of the top-15 rankings. 

Even so, Lewis presents a step forward in competition for Nascimento (11-1-1), who has yet to defeat or even face a ranked opponent in the UFC. What’s more, two of his four UFC victories have come by split decisions against marginal competition. The 31-year-old Brazilian’s last fight resulted in a decision win over Don’Tale Mayes last November. 

Nascimento is among a newer breed of heavyweights who have excelled behind a refined ground game, which was once a rarity in the division. Lewis was once reputed to struggle against strong wrestlers and grapplers but has improved in that area as his career evolved. In fact, one of Lewis’s most impressive victories came in a knockout in February 2021 of Curtis Blaydes, who is considered among the best wrestlers in the history of the heavyweight division. 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 picks here: He is picking Veronica Hardy (-135) to get her hand raised against JJ Aldrich (+115) in a women’s flyweight matchup on the preliminary card. 

Hardy (8-4-1) is the spouse of former UFC title challenger Dan Hardy, who is now a noted MMA analyst. Following a three-year layoff from competition, the versatile prospect returned to the cage and went 2-0 last year, including a split-decision win over Jamey-Lyn Horth in December of last year. 

Aldrich (13-6) is an eight-year UFC veteran who has amassed a record of 9-5 in 14 appearances while generally facing upper-tier competition. She has won two straight and is coming off a decision win against Montana De La Rosa last October. 

“Hardy has always had grappling skill, but her striking also has really come along. Her kickboxing technique is compact and her footwork is intelligent,” Vithlani told SportsLine. See who else to back here

How to make UFC Fight Night picks

Vithlani has strong picks for Lewis vs. Nascimento and other bouts on the UFC Fight Night card. He’s also backing a fighter who “has a ton of experience against a wide variety of styles” to emerge with a dominant victory. Those picks, and Vithlani’s full analysis, are only available at SportsLine

Who wins UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento, 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.
Derrick Lewis (-145) vs. Rodrigo Nascimento (+125)
Joaquin Buckley (-160) vs. Nursulton Ruziboev (+135)
Alonzo Menifield (+215) vs. Carlos Ulberg (-265)
Diego Ferreira (+260) vs. Mateusz Rebecki (-310)
Sean Woodson (-195) vs. Alex Caceres (+165)
Waldo Cortes-Acosta (+165) vs. Robelis Despaigne (-195)
Chase Hooper (+115) vs. Slava Borshchev (-135)
Esteban Ribovics (-180) vs. Terrance McKinney (+150)
Tabatha Ricci (-140) vs. Tecia Pennington (+120)
Billy Goff (+145) vs. Trey Waters (-175)
Veronica Hardy (-135) vs. JJ Aldrich (+115)

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