Expert picks and best bets: Intel on Bader-Fedor and Lewis-Spivac in heavyweight clashes

Serghei Spivac will fight Derrick Lewis in a UFC Fight Night main event on Saturday night. Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Bellator MMA returns to action this weekend with its first fight card of the year as the promotion hosts Bellator 290 at Kia Forum in Los Angeles on Saturday (9 p.m. ET on CBS, with prelims at 6 p.m. ET on the Bellator and Showtime YouTube channels). The main event will feature MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko challenging reigning heavyweight champion Ryan Bader in a title fight rematch. After a long and successful run in the sport, Emelianenko announced this would be the last fight of his MMA career.

Bader, ranked No. 10 in ESPN's divisional rankings, successfully defended his title against Cheick Kongo in his last bout. Emelianenko, unranked by ESPN, earned a first-round TKO over Tim Johnson most recently.

In the co-main event, middleweight champion Johnny Eblen will go for his first title defense as he takes on Anatoly Tokov. Eblen, ranked No. 8, beat Gegard Mousasi by unanimous decision to claim the title last June. Tokov, unranked by ESPN, has been undefeated since joining Bellator in 2017.

Later that night, UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis looks to get back in the win column as he faces Serghei Spivac at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas (1 a.m. ET on ESPN+, with prelims at 10 p.m. on ESPN+).

Lewis, ranked No. 8 in ESPN's divisional rankings, is coming off back-to-back losses. Most recently, Lewis lost to Sergei Pavlovich by first-round knockout in July. Spivac is unranked in ESPN's rankings and has won two fights in a row via knockout.

Brett Okamoto spoke to MMA coach Din Thomas to get his perspective on the matchup in the UFC main event. ESPN's betting experts Ian Parker and Reed Kuhn add their insights and analysis for the main events of both fight cards and other intriguing bets for this weekend.

Editor's note: Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

UFC heavyweights: Derrick Lewis vs. Serghei Spivac