The UFC is back in Las Vegas this week for the first time since March for the start of what could be many shows closed to fans at its own facility.
UFC on ESPN 9 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.
(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)
In the main event, former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (19-4-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC) takes on contender Gilbert Burns (18-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC). Woodley is the favorite in the fight at around -185, and he’s got a decent 9-5 edge in the picks from our 14 editors, writers, videographers and radio hosts.
In the co-main event, Blagoy Ivanov (18-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) meets Augusto Sakai (14-1-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in a heavyweight bout. It’s a pick’em fight with the oddsmakers, but a total blowout from our staff members, who are taking Ivanov at a heavy 12-2 clip.
Also on the main card, Spike Carlyle (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) meets Billy Quarantillo (13-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in a 150-pound catchweight bout. Quarantillo is the slight favorite, but Carlyle has a slim 8-6 edge in our picks.
Roosevelt Roberts (9-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) takes on Brok Weaver (15-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in a lightweight bout that has Roberts installed as a heavy favorite around -350. But in our staff picks, it’s a dead heat at 7-7.
And to open the main card, Hannah Cifers (10-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has a big challenger on her hands in Mackenzie Dern (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who is the biggest favorite at the event at more than 4-1. Only one of our pickers is taking the soft-spoken Cifers in an upset.
In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Woodley (60 percent), Ivanov (51 percent), Carlyle (57 percent), Roberts (62 percent) and Dern (86 percent) are the choices.
Check out all the picks above.
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