Following a bizarre turn of events, it appears the main event of UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori on Saturday between Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori will happen after all. The ranked middleweight contenders (185 pounds) agreed to move the fight to light heavyweight (205 pounds) following a strange timeline. Costa, the No. 2-ranked middleweight, arrived approximately 30 pounds over the middleweight limit. The No. 5-ranked Vettori vowed to take the fight under any circumstances, and the UFC announced late Thursday that the combatants agreed to a fight at the 205-pound limit.
Vettori is a -140 favorite (risk $140 to win $100), while Costa is priced at +120 in the latest UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori odds from Caesars Sportsbook. In the co-main event, Grant Dawson (-325) faces Rick Glenn (+265) in a matchup of lightweight prospects. Before making any picks of your own for UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori, make sure you check out the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Andrew Gombas.
Gombas is a former NCAA wrestler who taps into his experience on the mat to dissect the X's and O's of MMA matchups in a manner that sets him apart from other MMA analysts. He started the MMA handicapping service MMA Knockout Bets in 2018 and has shown a profit every year since.
With more than 1,200 selections tracked by the third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, he has shown a 10 percent return on investment for his followers. In 2020, $100 bettors who tailed his picks were up $9,200. Last week at UFC Fight Night, Gombas told SportsLine members to back veteran Andre Arlovski (-110) against rising prospect Carlos Felipe (-110) in the heavyweight co-main event. Arlovski registered a unanimous decision to give his followers another winner. Anyone who has followed Gombas is already way up.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori looming, Gombas has studied the UFC card from top to bottom and released his top MMA picks and predictions. A successful parlay of those picks would pay 7-1. You can head to SportsLine now to see all of Gombas' UFC picks.
UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori preview
Vettori and Costa are known for their brash trash-talking, which could make for entertaining press conferences ahead of their fight. Both engaged in heated verbal warfare with Adesanya ahead of their title fights, only to come out on the short end of the combat in the cage.
Costa (13-1) later said he was sluggish for the title fight because he consumed too much alcohol as a sleep aid the night before the bout. Vettori (17-5-1) dismissed the champ as unimpressive after his loss, aside from the lone concession that Adesanya had a "smart" strategy.
Costa is a rugged power puncher who has seen 12 of his 13 professional MMA victories come by stoppage. He was seen as a serious threat to Adesanya as the opening odds were nearly even, but the confident Brazilian appeared outclassed by the champion from the outset.
Vettori uses a blend of wrestling, striking and constant pressure to wear down his opponents. He has just two career knockouts but has recorded seven victories by submission.
The Italian also likely has the more impressive resume, as he has defeated ranked fighters such as Jack Hermansson (currently No. 6) and Kevin Holland (No. 14). Costa's win over Uriah Hall (No. 10) is his sole victory over a currently ranked middleweight. You can only see who to back here.
UFC Fight Night picks
We'll reveal one of Gombas' UFC Fight Night selections here: He is backing Ike Villanueva (+185) to pull the upset of Nicolae Negumereanu (-215) in a matchup of light heavyweight prospects.
Negumereanu (10-1) came to the UFC as a decorated prospect behind a 9-0 start to his MMA career, with all the victories coming by finish. The Romanian fighter came to the promotion on the heels of an 8-0 run through the Real Xtreme Fighting promotion. He lost his UFC debut in March 2019 before returning in June following a more than two-year layoff. The 27-year-old picked up his first UFC victory with a split decision over fellow prospect Aleksa Camur.
Villanueva (18-12) has been a professional MMA fighter for more than 13 years and competed at every division from middleweight to heavyweight. He made his UFC debut as a heavyweight last June against prospect Chase Sherman and suffered a second-round stoppage loss. The power puncher has gone 1-3 in four UFC outings.
"Villanueva brings a boxing advantage and should be the cleaner overall striker. Villanueva has had difficulty dealing with leg kicks, but that is something Negumereanu hasn't shown an ability to take advantage of," Gombas told SportsLine.
How to make UFC Fight Night selections
Gombas also has strong picks for Costa vs. Vettori and other fights on the UFC Fight Night card. He's also backing one fighter to "impose his will" on his opponent. Those UFC picks and MMA predictions are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Costa vs. Vettori? And which picks should you parlay for a payout of 7-1? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the insider who's up nearly $9,200 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out.
UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori odds, fight card:
Paulo Costa (+120) vs. Marvin Vettori (-140)
Grant Dawson (-325) vs. Rick Glenn (+265)
Alex Caceres (+240) vs. Seung Woo Choi (-280)
Dwight Grant (+100) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (-120)
Nicolae Negumereanu (-215) vs. Ike Villanueva (+185)
Jun Yong Park (-115) vs. Gregory Rodrigues (-105)
Alan Patrick (+210) vs. Mason Jones (-250)
Tabatha Ricci (-220) vs. Maria de Oliveira Neta (+190)
Jamie Pickett (+205) vs. Laureano Staropoli (-245)
Khama Worthy (+155) vs. Jai Herbert (-175)
Jeff Molina (-165) vs. Daniel Lacerda (+145)
Livia Renata Souza (-130) vs. Randa Markos (+110)
Jessica-Rose Clark (-140) vs. Joselyne Edwards (+120)