Jhonata Diniz vs. Austen Lane prediction, pick, start time, odds for UFC on ESPN 55

Jhonata Diniz and Austen Lane meet Saturday on the UFC on ESPN 55 main card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Check out this quick breakdown of the matchup from MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom.

Jhonata Diniz vs. Austen Lane UFC on ESPN 55 preview

Diniz (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Lane (12-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) serve as the lone heavyweight bout on the UFC on ESPN 55 main card. … The undefeated Diniz makes his UFC debut following a first-round finish of Eduardo Neves in his Dana White’s Contender Series appearance in September. … Lane, a fellow DWCS veteran, steps into the octagon for the third time, looking for his first victory. His debut against Justin Tafa was ruled a no contest due to an eye poke, and Lane went on to lose the rebooking less than three months later.

Jhonata Diniz vs. Austen Lane expert pick, prediction

Last event’s results: 4-1

Overall picks for UFC main cards in 2024: 28-29-2

Death, taxes, and the current UFC matchmakers force-feeding us low-level heavyweights on Fight Night main cards.

Despite having solid bangers like Gabriel Benitez vs. Hayisaer Maheshate serving as the curtain-jerker on the prelims, Mick Maynard and Sean Shelby seem to be continuing their trend of sullying Joe Silva’s memory with main-card bookings like Diniz and Lane (a fight that would’ve served as a dark match if the diminutive former matchmaker were still in charge).

Given the cult-like status that professional football holds in the North American sports space, I’m guessing that Lane is continually getting featured fights for the cup of coffee he had in the NFL.

Don’t get me wrong: Lane is a talented athlete and seems like a nice guy; I just find it funny that – at least promotionally – we keep treating former football players as some sort of ‘great white hope’ in MMA despite Brendan Schaub arguably being the best of that crop. But I digress.

I’m actually hoping that Lane has continued to improve and can extend this fight into deeper rounds in order to see more from both men. However, it’s hard not to give a decent edge to the former kickboxer in Diniz on the feet.

I definitely wouldn’t mind being wrong, but I’ll pick Diniz by first-round knockout.

Jhonata Diniz vs. Austen Lane odds

The oddsmakers and the public are favoring the Brazilian fighter this weekend, listing Diniz -265 and Lane +200 via FanDuel.

Jhonata Diniz vs. Austen Lane start time, how to watch

As the third fight on the main card, Diniz and Lane are expected to make their walk to the octagon around 8:20 p.m. ET (5:20 p.m. local time in Las Vegas). The fight airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 55.

For more detailed analysis from Dan Tom, check out his weekly show, “The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie