Ryan Spann says he's eager to prove that he belongs among the MMA world's elite light heavyweights, and he'll get that opportunity on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann against former title challenger Anthony Smith. Their battle tops the main UFC fight card (7 p.m. ET ) from Las Vegas. The No. 11-ranked Spann is a former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion who has won five of six fights in the UFC but has yet to headline a UFC card or face a decorated opponent. He gets both when he squares off against the No. 6-ranked Smith, who hopes to dispel any notions that he is past his prime by winning his third straight and halting the momentum of another rising prospect.
Smith is a -165 favorite (risk $165 to win $100), while Spann is a +145 underdog in the latest UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann odds from Caesars Sportsbook. In the co-main event, Ion Cutelaba (-140) meets Devin Clark (+120) in another light heavyweight matchup. Before locking in any UFC Fight Night selections of your own, make sure you see the picks and betting advice from SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley.
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 professional MMA card and does extensive research before each event.
Over the past 31 months, $100 bettors who have followed Marley's picks are up more than $14,000. The accomplished MMA analyst has now connected on 35 of his last UFC 59 main-event selections, a stretch that includes a streak of five straight underdogs in 2020.
Two weeks ago at UFC Fight Night, Marley told SportsLine members to back veteran contender Derek Brunson (+145) against Darren Till (-165) in the middleweight main event. Brunson dominated from the outset and locked up a third-round submission to provide an easy underdog winner. Anyone who has followed Marley is way up.
Now, he's locked in on Spann vs. Smith and just entered his UFC picks. Go here to see them.
UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann preview
Marley knows the main event represents a major turning point in the careers of both fighters. Although Smith (35-16) is still just 33, he has been a professional MMA fighter for more than 13 years. The Nebraska resident is a fan favorite because of his resilience and propensity for action-packed fights. He is also respected for his charismatic demeanor outside of the Octagon and has built a reputation as a solid MMA analyst when he's not training for his own fights.
However, many observers believe his career peaked in the loss to Jones in which he offered little resistance. He was also on the short end of a brutal beatdown by veteran Glover Teixeira last May that went down as one of the most lopsided main events in UFC history.
Smith fended off the role as gatekeeper by stopping rising prospects Clark and Jimmy Crute in his last two fights, but questions remain as to whether he can compete against upper-tier competition.
Spann (19-6) should help provide that answer, as he is looking for a signature win that will help propel him into the conversation of potential title-contenders. Three of UFC wins have come inside the distance, but he has faced mostly journeymen-level opposition. His lone defeat came against fellow prospect Johnny Walker by first-round knockout last September. The 30-year-old Memphis native responded with a first-round stoppage of Misha Cirkunov in March. See who to back here.
UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann predictions
We'll share one of Marley's UFC Fight Night selections here: He is backing Mandy Bohm (+100) to prevail against Ariane Lipski (-120) in a matchup of women's flyweight prospects.
Lipski (13-7) came to the UFC as a celebrated prospect following a 5-0 run through the KSW promotion that saw her become its flyweight champion. But the 27-year-old Brazilian fighter has struggled to gain traction in the UFC while facing a gauntlet of world-class opponents. She is 2-4 in sic appearances and is looking to snap a two-fight losing streak following a second-round stoppage defeat to Montana De La Rosa in June.
Bohm (7-0-1) is making her UFC debut with an unblemished record that includes seeing four of her seven professional victories come inside the distance. The 32-year-old German's last performance resulted in a decision win against Griet Eeckhout at Bellator 247 last October.
"Lipski is a good striker, but she really struggles off her back and Bohm looks like she could have a lot of success on the mat. I am going to take her to get the win," Marley told SportsLine.
How to make UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann picks
Marley also has strong picks for Smith vs. Spann and every other bout on the UFC Fight Night card. He's also backing one fighter who is the "better striker with more power." Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Smith vs. Spann? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC Fight Night, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $14,000 on MMA in the past 31 months, and find out.
UFC Fight Night odds, card
Anthony Smith (-165) vs. Ryan Spann (+145)
Ion Cutelaba (-140) vs. Devin Clark (+120)
Ariane Lipski (-120) vs. Mandy Bohm (+100)
Nikolas Motta (-300) vs. Cameron VanCamp (+250)
Raquel Pennington (-130) vs. Pannie Kianzad (+110)
Montel Jackson (-600) vs. JP Buys (+450)
Tony Gravely (-200) vs. Nate Maness (+175)
Tafon Nchuwki (-130) vs. Mike Rodriguez (+110)
Arman Tsarukyan (-700) vs. Christos Giagos (+500)
Dakota Bush (-130) vs. Zhu Rong (+110)
Emily Whitmire (-120) vs. Hannah Goldy (+100)
Joaquin Buckley (-210) vs. Antonio Arroyo (+180)
Heili Alateng (-125) vs. Gustavo Lopez (+105)
Impa Kasanganay (-125) vs. Carlston Harris (+105)
Erin Blanchfield (-310) vs. Sarah Alpar (+255)