UFC Vegas 87 predictions & odds

  • Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Shamil Gaziev headline UFC Vegas 87
  • The card features several important fights
  • Here's everything you need to know in order to bet on Saturday night.
Dec 16, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Shamil Gaziev (blue gloves) during UFC 296 at T-Mobile Arena.
Dec 16, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Shamil Gaziev (blue gloves) during UFC 296 at T-Mobile Arena. / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 5

Eryk Anders (-470) vs. Jamie Pickett (+360)

A middleweight scrap is scheduled between veterans Eryk Anders (15-8) and Jamie Pickett (13-10). Anders has been a UFC mainstay since 2017. Despite losing three of his last four bouts, he remains scrappy.

The 36-year-old former collegiate football standout possesses rugged athleticism and extreme drive. His nine knockout wins demonstrate punching power that can't be taken lightly. DWCS contract winner

Pickett has had a rough UFC tenure, only 2-6 with the promotion. He must fight like a man with his job on the line. Unfortunately, Anders is one of the worst fighters to have to face in that sort of situation. This could be a close and technical battle.

Prediction: Anders by decision

Matt Schnell (+295) vs. Steve Erceg (-375)

The main card opens with a flyweight fight between submission ace Matt Schnell (16-7) and prospect Steve Erceg (11-1). 34-year-old Schnell has fought at bantamweight and flyweight throughout his UFC run since 2016. He has put on memorable performances with his reckless style and ability to keep fighting in the face of heavy damage.

Erceg is 28 years old and active in the UFC, earning two victories since joining in 2023. Both men have earned the majority of their finishes by submission, so there is potential for good scrambles and a technical BJJ display. Schnell has a habit of getting wobbled in almost all his fights, regardless of the outcome. This trend, coupled with his cut down to flyweight, is worrisome. Erceg can realistically damage the often-hurt Schnell and finish the fight from there.

Prediction: Erceg by round one knockout

Umar Nurmagomedov (-1200) vs. Bekzat Almakhan (+750)

The card's most daunting odds disparity is courtesy of the bantamweight contest between No. 13 contender Umar Nurmagomedov (16-0) and debuting fighter Bekzat Almakhan (17-1).

Nurmagomedov was on the verge of breaking through to bantamweight's upper echelon before injury sabotaged his 2023 main event spot opposite Cory Sandhagen. He has finished 14 fights, utilizing all aspects of a well-rounded MMA fighter's skill set. He is far from anyone's first choice for an opponent, so he faces an unranked albeit credentialed UFC rookie in Almakhan.

Almakhan is still very experienced and a capable striker with 13 career knockouts. He rides a nine-fight win streak with seven finishes. Almakhan's performance may surprise many people and showcase another fighter capable of contributing to bantamweight's bright future. However, it's historically not a wise strategy to bet against a surging Nurmagomedov.

Prediction: Nurmagomedov by round two submission