The UFC Fight Night Main Card is finally here as we bring you a prediction and pick for the opening fight of Saturday's action from The Apex. Welterweight contenders Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos will square off for a possible spot in the rankings. Check out our UFC odds series for our Nurmagomedov-dos Santos prediction and pick.

Abubakar Nurmagomedov is 17-3-1 as a professional fighter and has gone 2-1 since joining the UFC in 2021. While he was stunned in his debut and lost by decision, Nurmagomedov bounced back and won his last two fights by unanimous decision. He'll look for a similar result as he takes on an equally dangerous prospect in dos Santos. Nurmagomedov stands 5'11” with a 73-inch reach.

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is 23-7 inside of the octagon and has gone 9-3 during his UFC career. Following a loss in his debut, dos Santos won seven fights in a row, including a win over Sean Strickland. He dropped two fights intermittently, but will be coming into this one fresh off a win over Benoit Saint-Denis. Dos Santos stands 5'11” and has a 73-inch reach.

Here are the UFC Odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

UFC Las Vegas Odds: Abubakar Nurmagomedov-Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos Odds

Abubakar Nurmagomedov: -113

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos: -113

Over (2.5) rounds: -215

Under (2.5) rounds: +164

How to Watch Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos


Stream: ESPN App, UFC Fight Pass, fuboTV

Time: 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT (Main Card)

*Watch sports LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*

Why Abubakar Nurmagomedov Will Win

Abubakar Nurmagomedov is the first cousin to UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov. He's been a part of Khabib's fight camp for his entire career and is seen as one of the tougher members of the Dagestani fight team. While he was stunned in his debut, Nurmagomedov came back with dominant wins behind his suffocating wrestling and notched typical unanimous-decision victories. He doesn't have the same level of wrestling as his cousins, but he's shaping up to a be a future problem in this division. If Nurmagomedov can control dos Santos on the ground, he'll cruise to a win.

To win this fight, Nurmagomedov will have to secure the first takedown and steal a round of control. Dos Santos will be the more dangerous striker, so it's be crucial for Nurmagomedov to be patient and defensive on the feet. He'll have to be careful of knees up the middle when shooting, so look for Nurmagomedov to pick his shot carefully. The clearest path for him will be to control the wrestling exchanges en route to a win.

Why Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos Will Win

Elizeu Dos Santos has been known for his all-out wars and warrior spirit inside of the octagon. He fights with a capoeira background and has a number of flashy strikes he can throw. His last fight against Benoit Saint-Denis was a battle for three rounds, seeing dos Santos come out on top. At 36 years old, there's got to be a question of how much he has left in the tank in terms of his chin. Against Nurmagomedov, having a good gas tank could pay dividends as the fight goes into the later rounds.

Dos Santos will have the significant striking advantage in this one. His best bet would be to stay defensive through the takedowns and wait for openings on the feet. In the clinch, dos Santos should look to land shots as Nurmagomedov tries to finish the takedown. Getting up from his back will be a huge focus for dos Santos as he avoids the wrestling. If dos Santos can keep this one standing, he should be able to get the win on the near-even betting line.

Final Abubakar Nurmagomedov-Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos Prediction & Pick

Nurmagomedov will likely be the fighter controlling the wrestling exchanges in this one. The problem, however, is that he fails to land significant ground-and-pound when he's down there. With the new rules taking affect, referees could begin to stand fights up off the ground if they don't see any significant work being done. This could harm Nurmagomedov's game plan as he focuses on controlling the fight. This one may be too close to call – let's instead go with the fight to go the distance with our prediction. Conventional wisdom would be to take the Dagestani for the solid price.

Final Abubakar Nurmagomedov-Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos Prediction & Pick: Abubakar Nurmagomedov (-113); Fight Will Go The Distance (-185)