Veteran bantamweight contender Marlon Vera will likely have the crowd on his side Saturday in the main event of UFC 299 when he takes on Sean O'Malley for the title. Their five-round battle tops the main UFC 299 fight  card starting at 10 p.m. ET from the Kaseya Center in Miami. Although O'Malley has seen his popularity surge since becoming champion last August, the fan sentiment was overwhelmingly on the side of the veteran brawler Vera at multiple public appearances this week. Vera knocked out O'Malley when they first met nearly four years ago. 

O'Malley is a -280 favorite (risk $280 to win $100), while Vera is a +230 underdog in the latest UFC 299: O'Malley vs. Vera 2 odds. The co-main event features former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier (+190) taking on rising prospect Benoit Saint Denis (-230). Before locking in your UFC 299 picks, make sure you check out 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 last January of last year and swept the main card for UFC 283 with a 5-0 record and has been a consistent winner ever since. At UFC 292 in August, he called the upset for O'Malley (+210) against the reigning champion Sterling (-250) in the main event. Anyone who has followed Vithlani already has seen massive returns. 

Now, with UFC 299: O'Malley vs. Vera 2 on deck, Vithlani has studied the card from top to bottom and released his top selections. You can only see those picks at SportsLine

UFC 299: O'Malley vs. Vera 2 preview 

O'Malley (17-1-1) is perhaps the most polarizing current champion on the UFC roster. Once dubbed a "permanent prospect" by a prominent MMA analyst, he has been criticized for both a risk-averse style and taking on a long slate of meager opposition before stepping up to tougher competition.  

His first fight against a ranked opponent resulted in the loss to Vera, and his second resulted in a no-contest against durable veteran Pedro Munhoz because of an eye poke from O'Malley. Somehow, he was paired against former champion Petr Yan, who was ranked No. 1 at the time, in his next appearance and won a disputed split decision at UFC 280 in October 2022. 

Even so, the 29-year-old Montana native, who is known for his massive following on social media, made the most of his subsequent title fight against Sterling by landing an overhand right to counter a Sterling takedown attempt and finished the fight with a flurry of punches. 

A rematch with Vera, 31, was long anticipated, though few MMA observers expected it to come in a title fight. 

Vera (23-8-1) is a 10-year UFC veteran known for his sinister disposition in the cage and relentless brawling style. The Ecuador-born fighter has had memorable battles against numerous top-tier opponents, and his resume includes knockout wins over former champions Dominick Cruz and Frankie Edgar. 

Following his win over O'Malley, Vera lost a five-round decision to former champion Jose Aldo but has since embarked on a run to win five of six and emerge as a title contender. You can see more UFC 299 picks at SportsLine.

UFC 299 predictions 

We'll share one of Vithlani's UFC 299 selections here: He is backing Michael Page (+115) to get his hand raised in his anticipated UFC debut against veteran stalwart Kevin Holland (-135) in a welterweight battle on the main card.

Page (21-2) spent the past 10 years of his career in Bellator, where he was one of the promotion's biggest stars despite failing to win a title. The 36-year-old London native is known for his acrobatic maneuvers in the cage as well as a polished trash-talk game. He recently signed with the UFC following one appearance in bare-knuckle boxing in which he lost to former UFC brawler Mike Perry.

Holland (25-10-1) is a lethal and precise striker who is fan favorite because of his penchant for accepting fights against all suggested opponents, action-packed fights and his dry sense of humor. The 31-year-old Texan is 4-3 in his past seven appearances.

"Holland can utilize his long straight punches from distance, or crash forward throwing violent right hands. Page has similar long-range weapons but throws a lot more kicks than Holland. I feel Page is likely to shine in UFC debut," Vithlani told SportsLine. You can see more UFC 299 picks at SportsLine.

How to make UFC 299 picks 

Vithlani has strong picks for O'Malley vs. Vera and other bouts on the UFC 299 fight card. He's also backing a fighter who "has crisp boxing and championship-level experience" to emerge with a dominant victory. Those picks are only available at SportsLine

Who wins UFC 299: O'Malley vs. Vera 2, and how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on UFC 299, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $6,200, and find out. 

UFC 299 odds, fight card

See full UFC 299 picks, predictions, best bets here.
Sean O'Malley (-280) vs. Marlon Vera (+230)
Benoit Saint Denis (-230) vs. Dustin Poirier (+190)
Gilbert Burns (+130) vs. Jack Della Maddalena (-160)
Kevin Holland (-135) vs. Michael Page (+115)
Song Yadong (+100) vs. Petr Yan (-120)
Katyln Cerminara (+170) vs. Maycee Barber (-205)
Mateusz Gamrot (-460) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (+340)
Curtis Blaydes (-110) vs. Jailton Almeida (-110)
Michal Oleksiejczuk (+120) vs. Michel Pereira (-140)
Robelis Despaigne (-330) vs. Josh Parisian (+240)
Ion Cutelaba (-135) vs. Phillipe Lins (+110)