Derek Brunson has shared the Octagon with four former or current UFC champions. The No. 8-ranked middleweight plans to rely on his vast edge in experience when he takes on rising prospect Edmen Shahbazyan on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan. Their battle headlines the marquee from the Apex facility in Las Vegas, and the main UFC Fight Night card is slated for 9 p.m. ET. The No. 9-ranked Shahbazyan is undefeated and has three stoppage wins in the UFC.
However, Brunson will be his toughest test to date, and the veteran is determined to put himself in the title picture by pulling the upset. Shahbazyan is a -360 favorite (risk $360 to win $100), while Brunson is a +280 underdog in the latest Brunson vs. Shahbazyan odds from William Hill. In the co-main event, Joanne Calderwood (-155) takes on Jennifer Maia (+130) in a clash of ranked women's flyweights. Before making any UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan picks, make sure you see what SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley has to say, given the epic run he's on.
Marley won the first-ever "ToutMaster" UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and daily Fantasy shows. He watches every single fight for every single UFC card and does extensive research before each event.
Over the past 17 months, $100 bettors who have followed Marley's picks are up nearly $20,000. The accomplished MMA analyst has been on fire, as he has connected on 15 of his last 16 main event picks, a stretch that includes a streak of five straight underdogs. At UFC Fight Night last Saturday at Fight Island, Marley accurately predicted a decision victory for top-ranked middleweight Robert Whittaker (-135) against fifth-ranked Darren Till (+115). He also nailed his selection of Mauricio Rua (-200) against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+175) in the co-main event. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley is way up.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan 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 fight. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Brunson vs. Shahbazyan preview
Shahbazyan (11-0) is regarded as one of the promotion's most intriguing young prospects. The 22-year-old Californian quickly caught the attention of MMA observers by mowing down the competition in the California Xtreme Fighting promotion, where he posted a 5-0 mark, with all wins by stoppage. He has nine stoppages among his 11 victories.
Shahbazyan passed the UFC vetting tests without a hitch, notching victories on "Dana White's Contender Series" and "The Ultimate Fighter" to earn a roster spot. He made his debut last year and racked up three victories, the most recent a stoppage of veteran Brad Tavares.
He now steps up in competition to face another experienced UFC opponent in Brunson, who made his UFC debut in December 2012 with a win over stalwart Chris Leben. His tenure with the promotion includes back-to-back bouts against former champions Robert Whittaker and UFC icon Anderson Silva, both losses. He also came up short against current champion Israel Adesanya in November.
But the resilient 36-year-old returned to the rankings on the strength of two impressive victories. He defeated Elias Theodorou by decision in May of last year before doing the same in an upset over rising contender Ian Heinisch in August. You can only see Marley's coveted Brunson vs. Shahbazyan picks here.
Top UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan predictions
We'll share one of Marley's UFC Fight Night predictions here: He is backing Timur Valiev (-180) to manage a decision victory over Jamall Emmers (+160) in a matchup of flyweight prospects.
Emmers (17-5) spent the better part of the past decade paying his dues in a variety of promotions, including a 3-0 run in the Legacy Fighting Alliance. The 31-year-old Californian showed promise in his UFC debut, but dropped a split decision against Giga Chikadze at UFC 248 in February.
Valiev (16-2) will be making his UFC debut on the strength of a six-fight win streak. The 30-year-old Russian's accolades include a 5-1 mark in the World Series of Fighting, where he went 5-1 and split a pair of bouts against fellow UFC newcomer Chris Gutierrez.
"I have to lean with Valiev because he has more ways to win," Marley told SportsLine. "Emmers doesn't look to wrestle as much as he should, so Valiev will win with his striking."
How to make UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan picks
Marley also has strong picks for Brunson vs. Shahbazyan and every other bout on the UFC Fight Night card. He's also backing one fighter who "is better everywhere." You can see those UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan picks only at SportsLine.
Who wins Brunson vs. Shahbazyan at UFC Fight Night? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight on Saturday's UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan card, all from the accomplished expert who's up almost $20,000 and has nailed 15 of the last 16 main events, and find out.
UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan odds (via William Hill)
Edmen Shahbazyan (-360) vs. Derek Brunson (+280)
Joanne Calderwood (-155) vs. Jennifer Maia (+130)
Vicente Luque (-195) vs. Randy Brown (+165)
Lando Vannata (-155) vs. Bobby Green (+130)
Kevin Holland (-220) vs. Trevin Giles (+180)
Jonathan Martinez (-260) vs. Frankie Saenz (+210)
Gerald Meerschaert (-170) vs. Ed Herman (+145)
Ray Borg (-260) vs. Nathan Maness (+210)
Timur Valiev (-180) vs. Jamall Emmers (+160)
Chris Gutierrez (-340) vs. Cody Durden (+270)
Nathan Maness (-150) vs. Johnny Munoz Jr. (+120)
Jamall Emmers (-270) vs. Vincent Cachero (+210)