The UFC makes its long-awaited return to New York this week, and a pair of titles are on the line in rematches.
UFC 268 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews/ESPN+ and early prelims on ESPN+.
(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)
In the main event, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (19-1 MMA, 14-0 UFC) puts his title on the line in a rematch against Colby Covington (16-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC). Usman won their first fight with a fifth-round TKO. Usman is a -320 favorite at Tipico; the comeback on Covington is +235. But not a single one of our 13 editors, writers, radio hosts and videographers is picking Covington in an upset. Usman has a 13-0 shutout.
In the co-feature, women’s strawweight champ Rose Namajunas (10-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) puts her belt up against Zhang Weili (21-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC), whom she knocked out to win the title. Although Weili is a slight betting favorite at -125, it’s Namajunas who has a shutout in the picks, just like Usman.
Also on the main card, former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar (24-9-1 MMA, 18-9-1 UFC) fights Marlon Vera (19-7-1 MMA, 11-6 UFC) at bantamweight. Vera is the favorite from the oddsmakers at -160, but the bout is our closest from a picks standpoint. Edgar has the smallest possible lead at 7-6.
Shane Burgos (13-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) meets Billy Quarantillo (16-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) at featherweight. Burgos is more than a 2-1 favorite at the betting window, but Quarantillo has an 8-5 picks lead from our staff members.
And to open the main card, former Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler (22-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) takes on ex-UFC interim champ Justin Gaethje (22-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) in a bout that will keep the winner in title contention. Gaethje is the favorite at -220, and he’s also a big 10-3 favorite in the picks.
In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Usman (66 percent), Namajunas (67 percent), Vera (57 percent), Burgos (66 percent) and Gaethje (73 percent), are the choices.
Check out all the picks above.