UFC expert picks, best bets: Will Perez win on short notice?

Alex Perez stepped in on short notice to face Matheus Nicolau in the main event at UFC Fight Night on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

After a rare off week, the UFC returns to action this weekend with a card on Saturday that will be headlined by men's flyweight contenders Matheus Nicolau and Alex Perez (7 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+, with prelims at 4 p.m. on ESPN2/ESPN+).

Nicolau (19-4-1) has won four of his past five fights. He is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Brandon Royval. Perez (24-8) is currently riding a three-fight losing streak, and a win on Saturday would be his first since June 2020. Perez stepped in to take this fight on short notice after Nicolau's initial opponent, Manel Kape, withdrew.

Brett Okamoto spoke to Syndicate MMA coach John Wood to get his perspective on the main event. ESPN's betting experts Reed Kuhn and Ian Parker add their insights and analysis on the main event and other intriguing bets they like on the card.

Editor's note: Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Men's flyweight: Matheus Nicolau vs. Alex Perez