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UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Perez Betting Preview & Picks | Johnny Covers

Jonathan Pearce (-170) vs. David Onama (+145)

Our main card gets underway Saturday with a pair of feathweights prone to striking, as Jonathan Pearce takes on David Onama. We last saw Onama in June get back into the winner’s column with a second-round win over Gabriel Santos. His third win in four fights, Onama will be looking to lean on his power again here, as he comes in with .87 knockdowns per 15 minutes. 

My attention is more on Pearce, however, as he’s looking to get back into the winner’s column himself following a November loss to Joanderson Brito via choke. With this one likely staying on the feet, that threat goes away, and I look for Pearce to take advantage of his significant strike advantage, absorbing 64% fewer strikes, and being the overall more well-rounded fighter.

Pick: Jonathan Pearcei (-170 at BetMGM Sportsbook)

Ryan Spann (-200) vs. Bogdan Guskov (+170)

Jumping up to the co-main event, Ryan Spann will look to stop a two-fight slide against one of the light heavyweight division’s newest additions Bogdan Guskov. Joining the UFC in September, Guskov started off with a first-round loss to Volkan Oezdemir, just the second loss of his career, before getting back on track against Zac Pauga in February.

As for Spann, his two losses as of late have come against certified killers Nikita Krylov and Anthony Smith, the latter of which he lost via a tight split decision. In this matchup, Spann should be able to lean on his experience fighting at the highest level of the sport, and if he sticks to his game plan, get Guskov out of there early. 

Pick: Ryan Spann (-200 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

Matheus Nicolau (-185) vs. Alex Perez (+155)

A top-10 flyweight matchup caps off our night Saturday, as #8 Alex Perez takes on #5 Matrheus Nicolau. Perez will come into this fight looking to halt a three-fight slide, but a closer look shows those three losses came against the top flyweights in the sport Deiveson Figueiredo, Alexandre Pantoja, and Muhammad Mokaev. It’s worth noting that the loss to Mokaev came after a near 18-month layoff, and was a result that came via decision after a back-and-forth affair. 

Nicolau also comes in off a loss, losing to Brandon Royval in April of 2023, halting a six-fight winning streak that saw him quickly ascend the ranks. In this matchup, Perez needs to rely on his advantages on the ground, as he comes in with 2x the takedowns and 20% more submissions per 15 minutes. 

The overall more well-rounded fighter, I have this fight much closer to a coin flip and will gladly take the plus money currently being offered on Perez. 

Pick: Alex Perez (+155  at Caesars Sportsbook)

Johnny Covers

Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping UFC for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as Oddschecker, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, Yardbarker, and many more. Johnny runs giving out free UFC analysis and picks on every card, going 56% in 2021, 65% in 2022, and trending at 60% for 2023. He has also made multiple appearances on UFC's official betting show "On the Line" along side head MMA oddsmaker at Circa Sportsbooks Nick Kalikas and professional sports bettor Gianni the Greek .