Yair Rodriguez insists he has improved on every aspect of his skill set since the last time he set foot in the octagon. His opponent insists it won’t be enough. Rodriguez faces rugged veteran Jeremy Stephens in the main event Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 159 in Mexico City. The 12-bout card from Mexico City Arena features the main card starting at 8 p.m. ET. Rodriguez (11-2), the seventh-ranked featherweight, is seen as a versatile prospect who should climb the rankings in the crowded division with a victory. But the No. 8-ranked Stephens (28-16), known for his high knockout rate, has told the media all week that he will overwhelm Rodriguez with his pressure and power. Rodriguez and Stephens are both priced at -110 (risk $110 to win $100) in the latest Rodriguez vs. Stephens odds. In the co-main event, Alexa Grasso (-120) faces Carla Esparza (+100) in a women’s strawweight fight. Before settling your UFC Fight Night 159 picks, make sure you see the predictions from SportsLine MMA expert Kyle Marley.

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 picks here: He is backing Ariane Carnelossi (+120) to take down Angela Hill (-140) in a women’s strawweight bout on the preliminary card.

Carnelossi (12-1) makes her UFC debut following 12 straight victories in a variety of other promotions. Hill (9-7) is a UFC veteran who has dropped three of her past four and is looking to rebound from a June decision loss to Yan Xiaonan.

“I like Carnelossi for the slight upset. She has real power and she will be throwing high volume while she is fresh. She has enough power to get a knockout,” Marley told SportsLine.

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. 

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