Flyweights rarely get the spotlight on the UFC stage, much less a main event and co-main event on the same pay-per-view card. Champion Deiveson Figueiredo and fourth-rated challenger Alex Perez said this week they plan to make the most of the increased exposure when they close the show at UFC 255 in Las Vegas on Saturday. The main UFC 255 fight card is set for 10 p.m. ET. An impressive outing by Figueiredo would cement his status as one of the dominant current champions, while Perez could become an instant star should he pull the upset in his first title fight.
In order to stay there, he will have to defeat a rising contender in Perez, who has won six of his seven UFC bouts. Figueiredo is a -300 favorite (risk $300 to win $100), while Perez is a +250 underdog in the latest UFC 255 odds from William Hill Sportsbook. In the co-main event, women's flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko (-1,450) makes the fourth defense of her belt against third-ranked contender Jennifer Maia (+850). Before locking in your UFC 255 picks, make sure you see what SportsLine MMA expert Brandon Wise has to say.
Wise specializes in picking main-card fights for UFC, which has enabled him to be profitable for five consecutive years. In fact, Wise went a perfect 5-0 at UFC 239 and was 4-1 at both UFC 245 and UFC 249. He also nailed Nurmagomedov's destruction of Conor McGregor in 2018, Stipe Miocic's defeat of Daniel Cormier, Max Holloway's downfall in 2019 and Gaethje's TKO victory over Ferguson in May.
Since the UFC returned following a period of inactivity due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wise has gone 57-33-1 while nailing the method of victory 40 times. At UFC 254, Wise went 5-1 for SportsLine members, and his winners included calling a stoppage victory for Khabib Nurmagomedov (-330) in his lightweight title defense against Justin Gaethje in the main event. He also nailed a decision win for former middleweight champ Robert Whittaker (+100) against Jared Cannonier (-120) in the co-main event. Anyone who has consistently followed Wise is way up.
Now, with UFC 255 fast approaching, Wise has carefully studied every matchup on the main card, identified the best value in the UFC 255 odds and released his MMA picks for each fight. He's only sharing those selections here.
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Alex Perez expert preview
Wise knows both combatants will be eager to take advantage of the biggest stage they have appeared on thus far in their MMA careers. It will be the first pay-per-view main event for Figueiredo and the first UFC main event for Perez.
Figueiredo (19-1) has emerged as a relatively quiet but confident fighter whose skill set and sinister demeanor inside the Octagon are more than enough to support his growing bravado. The 32-year-old Brazilian earned the title with back-to-back dominant performances against top-ranked Joseph Benavidez, a longtime fan favorite whom many observers expected to be the heir apparent in the division upon the retirement of Henry Cejudo.
Figueiredo took criticism for missing weight in their first bout, which caused him to be ineligible to win the title. There was also blowback because of an incidental head butt that appeared to wobble Benavidez before the fight was stopped. But the champion left no doubt in the rematch, making weight and finishing Benavidez again in the first round to become the undisputed titleholder at flyweight.
Perez (24-5) also has flown somewhat under the radar in terms of widespread recognition, but that is starting to change following consecutive first-round finishes that showcased his polished skill set and earned him a pair of Performance of the Night accolades.
The 28-year-old central California native earned a submission against Jordan Espinosa in January before using leg kicks to force a stoppage against Jussier Formiga in June. You can see Wise's coveted Figueiredo vs. Perez picks here.
Top UFC 255 predictions
We'll share one of Wise's UFC 255 predictions here: He is backing Cynthia Calvillo (-240) to get her hand raised while going the distance against Katlyn Chookagian (+200) in a matchup of ranked women's flyweight contenders.
Calvillo (9-1-1), ranked fourth, appears to have found a home at flyweight after she had struggles making weight in numerous bouts at strawweight. She moved into the upper tier of the UFC rankings following an impressive five-round decision in June against Jessica Eye, who was ranked No. 1 at the time of their fight.
Calvillo's extensive ground game is thought to be a hurdle for the second-ranked Chookagian (14-4), a persistent striker who has been unafraid to step in the Octagon with the sport's biggest names. Chookagian already has fought three times in 2020 and is hoping to bounce back from a first-round stoppage loss at the hands of top-ranked Jessica Andrade just last month.
"If Calvillo is successful and able to get this fight to the ground, she could be dangerous with excellent submissions," Wise told SportsLine.
How to make UFC 255 picks
Wise also has strong picks for Figueiredo vs. Perez and every other bout on the main UFC 255 card. He's also backing one fighter "to get a TKO in a one-sided win." You can only see those selections here.
Who wins Figueiredo vs. Perez at UFC 255? And how exactly does each main-card fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight on the UFC 255 main card, all from the accomplished expert who has been profitable for five straight years, and find out.
UFC 255 odds
Deiveson Figueiredo (-300) vs. Alex Perez (+250)
Valentina Shevchenko (-1,450) vs. Jennifer Maia (+850)
Mike Perry (-145) vs. Tim Means (+125)
Cynthia Calvillo (-240) VS. Katlyn Chookagian (+200)
Paul Craig (-165) VS. Mauricio Rua (+145)