It wasn't until late Thursday night that UFC president Dana White publicly emerged and confirmed reports that most fight fans hoped were true: UFC Fight Night 170 in Brazil on Saturday will go on a scheduled. The 12-bout card will be one of the few sporting events to avoid cancellation amid the coronavirus outbreak and will have an isolated sporting stage on national television. The main card is set for 6 p.m. ET. But spectators will not be allowed at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia as a safety precaution.
Ranked lightweights Kevin Lee (18-5) and Charles Oliveira (28-8) will meet in the main event on a card stacked with Brazilian fighters who will miss out on a chance to perform before adoring fans. Lee is a -135 favorite (risk $135 to win $100), while Oliveira is offered at +115 in the latest Lee vs. Oliveira odds. In the co-main event, budding prospect Gilbert Burns (-185) takes on submission specialist Demian Maia (+165) in a welterweight clash. Before finalizing your UFC Fight Night 170 picks, make sure you check out the predictions from SportsLine MMA expert Kyle Marley.
Marley won the first-ever "ToutMaster" UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and also appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and DFS shows. Over the past year, $100 bettors who have followed Marley's picks are up more than $18,000.
Just last week at UFC 248, Marley accurately predicted a unanimous-decision victory for middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (-275) against third-ranked challenger Yoel Romero (+235). He reasoned that the titleholder's edge in reach and Octagon control would allow him to control the fight from the outside while limiting risk, and that's precisely how Adesanya operated.
Marley also called the successful strawweight title defense for Weili Zhang (-180) against Joanna Jedrzejczyk (+160) in the co-main event. Anyone who has consistently followed him is way up.
Now, with UFC Fight Night 170 fast approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the UFC odds and released his MMA picks for every single fight. He's only sharing those selections right here.
Lee vs. Oliveira expert preview
Assuming it goes on as planned, the winner of Saturday's main event could enter the picture for a title bid down the line. Nicknamed "The Motown Phenom," Lee, 27, was considered one of the UFC's rising stars during a stretch in which he won nine of 10 fights. The Michigan native also gave a respectable showing in a short-notice bout against Ferguson for the interim title in October 2017.
But his stock dropped amid a two-fight losing streak to Al Iaquinta and Rafael dos Anjos. Lee was in jeopardy of falling out of the rankings, but reversed the slide with a stunning head-kick knockout of Gillespie in a bout in which he was the underdog.
Oliveira, 30, made his UFC debut in August 2010 with an arm-bar submission of Darren Elkins. He has gone 16-8 with the promotion while sharing the Octagon with some of the sport's biggest names. However, inconsistency has prevented him from positioning for a title shot.
The Brazilian appears to be peaking at the right time. He has stopped his last six opponents and is coming off back-to-back knockouts of Nik Lentz and Jared Gordon last year. Marley is giving out his Lee vs. Oliveira picks and MMA predictions here.
Top UFC Fight Night 170 predictions
Marley is backing Renato Moicano (-330) to get his hand raised against Damir Hadzovic (+270) in a lightweight clash on the main card.
Hadzovic (13-5) has gone 3-3 with the UFC since joining the promotion in April 2016. The 33-year-old Bosnian fighter saw a two-fight win streak come to a halt with a decision loss against Christos Giagos in June. Moicano (13-3-1), 30, has gone 5-3 in the UFC against a convoy of notable opponents. He has lost his past two bouts, but they came against former titleholder Jose Aldo and rising star Chan Sun Jung, aka The Korean Zombie.
"I think Moicano is the better fighter everywhere," Marley told SportsLine."If Moicano can get this fight to the mat, he should have a huge edge and can pick up the submission in any round."
How to make UFC Brasilia picks
Marley also has strong picks for Lee vs. Oliveira, Burns vs. Maia and every other bout on the UFC Brasilia card. He's backing one combatant who's "the better fighter everywhere" and will have a "huge edge." Get every pick here.
Who wins Lee vs. Oliveira? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC Fight Night 170, all from the expert who's up more than $18,000 on MMA in the past year, and find out.
Kevin Lee (-135) vs. Charles Oliveira (+115)
Gilbert Burns (-185) vs. Demian Maia (+160)
Renato Moicano (-330) vs. Damir Hadzovic (+270)
Johnny Walker (-150) vs. Nikita Krylov (+130)
Francisco Trinaldo (-165) vs. John Makdessi (+145)
Jussier Formiga (-165) vs. Brandon Moreno (+145)
Amanda Ribas (-320) vs. Randa Markos (+260)
Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (-130) vs. Aleksei Kunchenko (+110)
Enrique Barzola (-170) vs. Rani Yahya (+150)
Mayra Bueno Silva (-140) vs. Maryna Moroz (+120)
Bruno Silva (-120) vs. David Dvorak (+100)
Veronica Macedo (-185) vs. Bae Malecki (+160)