Petr Yan insists there will be no controversy on Saturday when the former bantamweight champion meets No. 3-ranked contender Merab Dvalishvili in the main event of UFC Fight Night. Their five-round battle anchors the main UFC fight card (6 p.m. ET) from the Virgins Hotel in Las Vegas. Yan has held the interim and unified belts, but his short reigns have been shrouded in controversy. He has lost three of his past four, but all three defeats came with some level of dispute, including back-to-back defeats by split decision. Yan vowed to erase all doubt by finishing Dvalishvili, an elusive grappler who could lock up his first UFC title shot should he notch his ninth consecutive victory.
Yan is a -240 favorite (risk $240 to win $200), while Dvalishvili comes back at +200 in the latest UFC Fight Night: Yan vs. Dvalishvili odds from Caesars Sportsbook. In the co-main event, versatile heavyweight prospects square off as Alexander Romanov (-155) faces Alexander Volkov (+130). Before locking in any UFC Fight Night: Yan vs. Dvalishvili picks, make sure you check out the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine analyst Daniel Vithlani.
Vithlani is a highly analytical UFC bettor who profited more than $6,200 for $100 bettors in 2022. This includes a documented 24-14 record on his well-respected, two-leg parlays. Every pick was documented on his public Instagram account.
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.
In his SportsLine debut at UFC 283 in January, Vithlani swept the main card, and his 5-0 mark included advising SportsLine members to support Jamahal Hill (-125) over Glover Teixeira (+105) for the vacant light heavyweight title in the main event. Anyone who has followed him has seen massive returns.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Yan vs. Dvalishvili in sight, Vithlani has scoured the card top to bottom for value and released his top MMA picks. Vithlani's UFC Fight Night picks are only available at SportsLine.
UFC Fight Night: Yan vs. Dvalishvili preview
Countless MMA observers believed Yan (16-4) would be a dominant and long-term champion once he captured the title. The 30-year-old Russian brawler won his first seven UFC fights and won the vacant title with a defeat of former champion Jose Aldo at UFC 251 in July 2020.
But his plight has been a rollercoaster ever since. In his first defense at UFC 259 in March 2021, Yan appeared to be on his way to a dominant victory against Sterling before he was disqualified for an illegal knee.
Sterling subsequently was out of action for the next 14 months because of injuries suffered in the fight and Yan won the interim title with a lopsided decision against Cory Sandhagen. The Russian eventually lost a rematch against Sterling last year before dropping a widely disputed split decision to polarizing prospect Sean O'Malley last October.
Even so, despite losses in three of his past four, Yan's No. 2 ranking shows that his stock with the UFC has hardly diminished and he will likely get another shot at the title with an impressive outing on Saturday.
Dvalishvili (15-4) has quietly moved up the UFC rankings in a jam-packed division where upward movement is difficult to come by. The 32-year-old Georgian fighter presents a nightmare stylistic matchup for most opponents, particularly traditional strikers such as Yan.
Dvalishvili uses a combination of speed wrestling and grappling to nullify his opponent's offense and win rounds with control time. Dvalishvili is capable of stoppages, but has just three knockouts and one submission on his record, while his other 11 wins have come by decision. You can only see who to pick at UFC Fight Night at SportsLine.
UFC Fight Night predictions
We'll share one of Vithlani's UFC Fight Night selections here: He is siding with Ryan Spann (+145) to get the better of Nikita Krylov (-165) in a matchup of surging light heavyweight contenders. This battle was set to be the main vent for a UFC Fight Night two weeks ago, but Krylov fell ill on the day of the fight and the match was rescheduled for Saturday.
Krylov (29-9) is a 10-year UFC veteran who is widely regarded as one of the most versatile fighters in the division. The 31-year-old has shared the cage with some of the biggest names, but has historically come up short against world-class competition. His resume includes losses to former champions such as Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira.
Spann (21-7) has seen his stock rise on the strength of wins in three of his past four, with finishes in all three victories. The 31-year-old Memphis native knocked out former title-challenger Dominick Reyes at UFC 281 in November.
"Spann's power on the feet is scary, and he's shown he's also a problem to grapple with. The veteran Krylov has looked in great form as of late and is a tricky, unorthodox striker. Krylov may be the better overall fighter, but Spann is the more dangerous fighter," Vithlani told SportsLine. See who else to back here.
How to make UFC Fight Night picks
Vithlani has locked in strong picks for Yan vs. Dvalishvili and other bouts on the UFC Fight Night card. He's also backing a fighter who is "a hot prospect and grappling phenom" to emerge with a dominant victory. Vithlani's picks and MMA analysis are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins UFC Fight Night: Yan vs. Dvalishvili? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC Fight Night, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $6,200 in 2022, and find out.
UFC Fight Night odds, fight card
See full UFC Fight Night picks, predictions, best bets here.
Petr Yan (-240) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (+200)
Alexander Romanov (-155) vs. Alexander Volkov (+130)
Nikita Krylov (-165) vs. Ryan Spann (+145)
Ricardo Ramos (-365) vs. Austin Lingo (+285)
Said Nurmagomedov (-235) vs. Jonathan Martinez (+195)
Davey Grant (-140) vs. Raphael Assuncao (+120)
Victory Henry (-140) vs. Tony Gravely
JJ Aldrich (-365) vs. Ariane Lipski (+285)
Sedriques Dumas (-205) vs. Josh Fremd (+175)
Bruno Silva (-190) vs. Tyson Nam (+160)
Karl Williams (-220) vs. Lukasz Brzeski (+180)
Mario Bautista (-1,000) vs. Guido Cannetti (+650)