UFC on ESPN 23 predictions: It’s a close one between Dominick Reyes, Jiri Prochazka

MMA news

After an event in Florida, the UFC is back on its home turf with a former light heavyweight title challenger at the top of the bill.

UFC on ESPN 23 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card airs on ESPN2 and streams on ESPN+.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, former 205-pound title challenger Dominick Reyes (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) meets Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC). Prochazka is a slight favorite at -135 at BetMGM, but it’s Reyes with a slight 7-5 lead in the picks from our 12 editors, writers, videographers and radio hosts.

In the co-feature, Giga Chikadze (12-2 MMA, 5-0 UFC) is a -175 favorite against Cub Swanson (27-11 MMA, 12-7 UFC) at featherweight. Chikadze doubled up on Swanson in our picks at 8-4.

Our most contentious fight from a picking standpoint is at light heavyweight between Ion Cutelaba (15-6 MMA, 4-5 UFC) and Dustin Jacoby (14-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC). Cutelaba is a mild favorite at -120, and the picks are dead even at 6-6.

Sean Strickland (22-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) and Krzysztof Jotko (22-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) have similar records going into their middleweight bout. But Strickland is a big favorite at -275, and he’s got a 9-3 lead in the picks.

Merab Dvalishvili (12-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is a big favorite, too, at -250 in his bantamweight bout against Cody Stamann (19-3-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC), and only two pickers are taking Stamann in an upset.

And to open the main card, we have our only unanimous pick at 12-0. Poliana Botelho (8-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) pitched a picks shutout in her women’s flyweight bout against Luana Carolina (6-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC).

In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Prochazka (69 percent), Chikadze (59 percent), Cutelaba (59 percent), Strickland (69 percent), Dvalishvili (70 percent) and Botelho (81 percent) are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

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