Just two months after defeating Ian Heinisch at UFC 258 in February, Kelvin Gastelum stepped into the Octagon against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in the main event as a replacement for an ill Paulo Costa. Despite participating in what was determined to be the "Fight of the Night," Gastelum came out on the wrong side of a unanimous decision. Gastelum fills in for Costa again when he takes on Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum on Saturday. The main UFC Fight Night card from the Apex facility in Las Vegas is set for 10 p.m. ET.
Cannonier is a -155 favorite (risk $155 to win $100), while Gastelum is a +130 underdog in the latest Cannonier vs. Gastelum odds from Caesars Sportsbook. In the co-main event, Mark Madsen (-155) takes on Clay Guida (+130) in a lightweight battle. Before making any UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum picks, make sure you see the expert MMA predictions from SportsLine analyst Ian Parker.
A former fighter who's been in the industry for 15 years, Parker has managed some of the world's best, including UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman, Costas Philippou and Gian Villante. Parker trained alongside UFC Hall-of-Famer Matt Serra. Now, Parker breaks down fights and makes betting picks for the Voice of the UFC, Jon Anik.
Parker is coming off a mind-boggling 2020 season. On the Anik & Florian Podcast, Parker went an astounding 58-14, returning $9,465 to $100 bettors who followed him. He hit 11 of his 17 underdog picks and 19 of 30 main events. Overall, Parker nailed an astonishing 81 percent of his plays.
The revered MMA analyst continues to build on a massively profitable 2021 campaign for SportsLine members. He managed a 10-1 mark at UFC 264 that netted his followers a profit of nearly $900. He's also posted a record of 22-8 on 2021 Bellator fights to bring his followers another $600 in profit. Anyone who has followed him has seen huge returns.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum in sight, Parker has carefully studied the MMA odds and matchups from every angle and released his expert picks and predictions. A successful parlay of these picks would result in a payout of well over 8-1. You can only see these expert UFC picks at SportsLine.
UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum preview
Parker knows Cannonier is fighting in his third different weight class since joining the UFC in October 2014. He made his debut as a heavyweight and split a pair of bouts before moving down to the light heavyweight division, where he went 2-3 before making the switch to middleweight.
Cannonier scored technical-knockout victories over David Branch, Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson before losing to Whittaker. The 37-year-old from Dallas earned Performance of the Night honors in his triumphs over Branch and Hermansson while delivering a first-round leg kick to Silva that rendered the former UFC middleweight champion unable to continue.
Gastelum also has switched weight classes several times during his UFC career, debuting as a middleweight in 2013 and quickly moving to welterweight before returning to his original division in 2016. The 29-year-old's first appearance in the promotion came in April 2013, when he won The Ultimate Fighter season 17 middleweight tournament with a split-decision victory over Uriah Hall.
A native of San Jose, Gastelum is looking to turn things around as he takes on Cannonier as a replacement for Paulo Costa, who withdrew from the bout on June 4. Gastelum has lost four of his last five fights, a stretch that began when he dropped a unanimous decision against Israel Adesanya for the interim middleweight title in April 2019. You can only see who to back here.
UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum predictions
We'll reveal one of Parker's UFC Fight Night picks here: He is backing Alexandre Pantoja (-175) to beat Brandon Royval (+150) in a battle of ranked flyweights.
No. 3 Pantoja (23-5) has won 16 of his last 19 fights, including a unanimous decision against Manel Kape in February. The 31-year-old Brazilian has yet to be on the wrong side of a stoppage in 28 professional bouts, as each of his five career losses were via decision.
Similarly, the first four career defeats suffered by the sixth-ranked Royval (12-5) were decisions before he lost to Brandon Moreno via technical knockout at UFC 255 last November. Conversely, the native of Denver, who is a former flyweight champion in the Legacy Fighting Alliance, has recorded 11 of his 12 victories by stoppage -- the last four via submission.
"The 29-year-old Royval is a talented fighter, but in the areas where he is good, Pantoja is better," Parker told SportsLine. "This is a very tough matchup for Royval, considering he is coming back from an extended layoff due to injury."
How to make UFC Fight Night: Gastelum vs. Cannonier picks
Parker also has strong picks for Cannonier vs. Gastelum and other fights on the UFC Fight Night card. He's also backing one fighter who "will be the more technical striker" to score a convincing win. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Cannonier vs. Gastelum? And what other picks do you need for a payout of well over 8-1? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the ultimate insider who's up nearly $9,200 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out.
UFC Fight Night odds, fight card
Jared Cannonier (-155) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (+130)
Mark Madsen (-170) vs. Clay Guida (+145)
Chase Sherman (-190) vs. Parker Porter (+160)
Vinc Pichel (-115) vs. Austin Hubbard (-105)
Alexandre Pantoja (-175) vs. Brandon Royval (+150)
Luis Saldana (-120) vs. Austin Lingo (+100)
Brian Kelleher (-175) vs. Domingo Pilarte (+150)
Bea Malecki (-150) vs. Josiane Nunes (+125)
William Knight (-180) vs. Fabio Cherant (+155)
Roosevelt Roberts (-150) vs. Ignacio Bahamones (+125)
Ramiz Brahimaj (-140) vs. Sasha Palatnikov (+120)