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UFC Fight Night 159 odds, predictions: Top-rated MMA insider picks Rodriguez vs. Stephens, Grasso vs. Esparza

Yair Rodriguez hopes to prove he’s a legitimate featherweight contender in a UFC main event in his home country. Jeremy Stephens is out to prove his opponent is a fraud. One of the fighters will have their case proven after they meet on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 159 in Mexico City. The 12-bout UFC Fight Night 159 card from Mexico City Arena features the main card starting at 8 p.m. ET. The seventh-ranked Rodriguez (11-2), who is from Parral, Chihuahua, believes the bout will serve as a coronation to vault him into the top five in the division. But the No. 8-ranked Stephens (28-16) has repeatedly asserted that his strength and experience will be too much for Rodriguez to handle. Rodriguez and Stephens are both priced at pick’em odds of -110 (risk $110 to win $100) in the latest Rodriguez vs. Stephens odds. In the co-main event, Alexa Grasso (-120) squares off against Carla Esparza (+100) in a women’s strawweight bout. Before finalizing your UFC Fight Night 159 picks, make sure you hear what SportsLine MMA expert Kyle Marley has to say.

Marley won the first-ever “ToutMaster” UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and is in contention to win this year’s contest. He also appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and DFS shows. Over the past year, $100 bettors who have followed Marley’s picks are up more than $21,000.

Just last week at UFC Fight Night 158, Marley selected Glover Teixeira (+100) to defeat Nikita Krylov (-120) in the co-main event. He told SportsLine members that Teixeira’s edge in wrestling would be the difference, and he was proven correct when the veteran used a dominant third round on the ground to secure the decision victory.

The MMA analyst was also all over the co-main event at UFC 241 as he foresaw Nate Diaz (+110), returning from a three-year layoff, winning a unanimous decision against the dangerous Anthony Pettis. Marley predicted that Diaz’s length and nonstop pace would overwhelm Pettis, and that’s exactly what happened as the underdog dominated from the opening bell.  Anyone who followed his advice booked an easy winner and those who have followed him consistently are way up.

Now, with UFC Fight Night Mexico City fast approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the 12-bout card, identified the best value in the UFC odds and released his MMA picks for every single fight. He’s sharing those selections only over at SportsLine. 

Marley knows Rodriguez, 26, has been considered a rising UFC prospect ever since he joined the promotion in November 2014. But injuries and long bouts of inactivity have halted his progress. In fact, the latter nearly cost him his job. Last year, UFC president Dana White announced Rodriguez had been cut from the roster because of a repeated refusal to accept fights.

Rodriguez met with White and, a few weeks later, both parties announced he had been taken back by the UFC. He appeared to reward White’s faith in his last bout, when he engaged in an entertaining battle with Jung, aka “The Korean Zombie.”

Jung was getting the best of Rodriguez and appeared headed toward a clear decision. But with just one second left on the clock, Rodriguez landed a spinning elbow that knocked Jung out cold. Rodriguez received Performance of the Night and Knockout of the Night awards for his efforts.

The 33-year-old Stephens is a respected veteran who made his UFC debut in 2007. He is known for his willingness to take on any opponent and has been in the octagon with several of the sport’s luminaries. He also is noted for the devastating power that has led to 19 knockout victories.

We’ll reveal one of Marley’s UFC Fight Night 159 predictions here: He’s backing Martin Bravo (-110) to prevail against Steven Peterson (-110) in a bantamweight bout on the main card. It’s a UFC Mexico City fight that Vegas views as virtually even.

Bravo (11-2) looks to halt a two-fight losing streak and enters the octagon for the first time in 14 months. Peterson (17-9) also has dropped two straight and lost a decision to Alex Caceres in July. 

“Bravo is the better overall fighter and should land at a higher rate. With Bravo having the crowd behind him, I have to think the judges will lean his way,” Marley told SportsLine. Bravo will enjoy a 1.5-inch reach advantage on Peterson, who’s two inches taller.

Marley also has strong picks for Rodriguez vs. Stephens, Grasso vs. Esparza and every other bout on the UFC Fight Night 159 card. You can only see them at SportsLine.

Who wins Rodriguez vs. Stephens? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on all 12 fights at UFC Fight Night 159, all from the incomparable expert who’s up more than $21,000 on MMA in the past year, and find out.