UFC Fight Night prediction — Derrick Lewis vs. Rodrigo Nascimento: Fight card,

The heavyweights take center stage at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in St. Louis. Longtime fan-favorite Derrick Lewis looks to build on his record-high UFC knockouts against rising prospect Rodrigo Nascimento.

Lewis (27-12) pursues a 15th UFC KO on Saturday to build on his legend as the company’s most prolific KO artist. “The Black Beast” has exchanged blows with four UFC heavyweight champions (including interim) but seems to be declining competitively. Lewis hasn’t notched consecutive wins since 2021 and is 2-5 in his last seven fights. Most recently, Lewis was overwhelmed by Jailton Almeida’s grappling for five rounds. Lewis, 39, insists he feels better than ever despite the rough stretch of performances.

“My coaches and other people say once you get to 40 everything starts to slow down but this is the best I’ve felt,” Lewis told CBS Sports. “These last two fights are the best I’ve felt leading up to a fight in the training camp. I just feel great.”

Nascimento (11-1) has the mindset of the younger fighter on a winning streak. Nascimento headlines his first UFC card following three consecutive decision wins. The “Contender Series” alum is primarily a submission finisher but anticipates he’ll have the advantage in every avenue of the fight. It’s a lot of confidence for a fighter who has never gone more than three rounds facing his most accomplished opponent yet.

“I have many ways to beat him,” Nascimento 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.

“He has a good name and good hype on him, but after this Saturday, everyone is going to know my name because I will beat him.”

The undercard is not the deepest UFC has put out in recent months, but it should provide an intriguing moment or two. The co-main event brings back entertaining knockout artist Joaquin Buckley as the veteran gets a homecoming moment against Nursulton Ruziboev. Buckley is coming off a destructive TKO of Vicente Luque in March and has two in his last three fights. Plus, Carlos Ulberg and Alonzo Menifield are sure to pack some heat when they collide at light heavyweight. Ulberg has yet to reach the judges’ scorecards in his UFC career while Menifield is on a five-fight unbeaten streak that has featured three stoppage wins.

Check out the full interview with Derrick Lewis below.

Below is the rest of the fight card for Saturday with the latest odds before we get to a prediction and pick on the main event.

UFC Fight Night card, odds

Derrick Lewis -155 Rodrigo Nascimento +130 Heavyweight
Joaquin Buckley -135 Nursultan Ruziboev +115 Welterweight
Carlos Ulberg -270 Alonzo Menifield +220 Light heavyweight
Mateusz Rebecki -420 Diego Ferreira -320 Lightweight
Sean Woodson -205 Alex Caceres +175 Featherweight
Robelis Despaigne -235 Waldo Cortes-Acosta +195 Heavyweight

UFC Fight Night viewing information

Date: May 11 | Start time: 7 p.m. ET (main card)
Location: Enterprise Center — St. Louis
TV channel: ESPN+

Prediction

Derrick Lewis vs. Rodrigo Nascimento: It’s always a risk picking Lewis at this stage. The man obviously has record-setting KO power but his durability has diminished. The two-time title challenger has been stopped in four of his last seven appearances. Nascimento would be wise to take the fight into the later rounds to reduce what KO threat remains. The problem is I’m unimpressed with Nascimento. He’s coming off three consecutive decision wins, including split decisions against former light heavyweight fighters Ilir Latifi and Tanner Boser. They weren’t inspiring performances. Nascimento started his UFC run well enough — ignoring a quick KO loss to Chris Daukus — but his inability to win emphatically hurt his stock. Lewis can still thump. Despite his technical limitations, he has tons of experience fighting better skill sets than Nascimento. I see KO number 15 en route. Lewis via KO2

Who wins UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Nascimento, and how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $1,500 on his UFC main-card picks in 2023, and find out.

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