Lewis popular favourite against Nascimento

mma10 May 2024 18:40| © AFP
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Lewis Derrick © Gallo Images

UFC's return to St. Louis for the first time since 2018 on Saturday includes six fights on the main card, headlined by a showdown between heavyweight contender Derrick Lewis and 15th-ranked Rodrigo Nascimento.

The main card begins at 7pm ET at Enterprise Centre and will be broadcast by ESPN.

Lewis (27-12 MMA, 18-10 UFC) has recorded 14 knockouts, including finishes of Curtis Blaydes, Alexander Volkov and Marcos Rogerio de Lima.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian Nascimento (11-1, 4-1) emerged from Dana White's Contender Series and enters Saturday on a three-fight win streak.

It's the first headline fight in UFC for the confident Nascimento.

"I have many ways to beat him," he told reporters at Wednesday's media day.

"Putting him on the ground is just one more way. I can strike, I can knock him out. I can finish him, or I can fight all five rounds."

Lewis has held steady as the -165 favourite at BetMGM, where he has been backed by 77 per cent of the money wagered on the fight. Nascimento's odds have shortened slightly from +140 to +135.

Other fights on the main card:

Joaquin Buckley (18-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) v Nursulton Ruziboev (34-8-2, 2-0): This welterweight duel sees Buckley trying to build on a three-fight win streak, highlighted by a TKO of Vicente Luque in March. Ruziboev has won his two UFC fights by knockout and TKO to run his overall win streak to 10.

Buckley opened at -165, but has since his odds lengthen a bit to -135 with 80 per cent of the money backing Ruziboev at +110.

Alonzo Menifield (15-3-1, 8-3-1) v Carlos Ulberg (10-1, 4-1): Menifield has won five consecutive fights, beating the likes of Dustin Jacoby, Jimmy Crute and Misha Cirkunov.

He did have a majority draw against Crute. Ulberg is in his first UFC co-main event, and holds the record for the most strikes landed per minute in UFC light heavyweight history.

The former professional kickboxer has finished each of his past four victories, including over Da-un Jung, Ihor Potieria and Nicolae Negumereanu.

Ulberg opened as the -210 favourite and has since moved to -275 with 59 per cent of the money backing him to beat Menifield (+220)

Diego Ferreira (18-5, 9-5) v Mateusz Rebecki (19-1, 3-0): Rebecki is the biggest favourite on the main card, moving from -250 to -500 with 89 per cent of the money backing him.

Ferreira, 39, is coming off a win over Michael Johnson to snap a three-fight losing streak.

However, Rebecki is undefeated since joining the promotion, with his past two fights ending by submission.

Alex Caceres (21-14, 16-12) v Sean Woodson (11-1-1, 5-1-1): Caceras is the 15th-ranked featherweight, but is the +185 underdog with Woodson supported by 82 per cent of the money at -225 while fighting in his hometown.

Caceres has won four of his past six fights, although he is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Giga Chikadze.

Woodson has won two consecutive fights and has four win over his past five fights to go along with a split draw against Luis Saldana.

Waldo Cortes-Acosta (11-1, 4-1) v Robelis Despaigne (5-0, 1-0): Despaigne has moved from -175 to -250 while drawing 76 per cent of the money.

Cortes-Acosta, coming off a big win over former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, has been backed by 53 per cent of the total bets at +145.

Despaigne, 35, is an Olympic medalist in taekwondo from Cuba who beat Josh Parisian in his promotion debut at UFC 299 in Miami.