Asu Almabaev vs. Jose Johnson prediction, pick, start time, odds for UFC on ESPN 58

Asu Almabaev and Jose Johnson meet Saturday on the main card of UFC on ESPN 58 from UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Check out this quick breakdown of the matchup from MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom.  

Asu Almabaev vs. Jose Johnson UFC on ESPN 58 preview

Almabaev (19-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has won 15 straight fights, having not suffered defeat since 2017. He made his UFC debut in August 2023, where he submitted Ode Osbourne. In his second appearance, Almabaev won a decision against CJ Vergara. … Johnson (16-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC) enters on the heels of his first UFC victory, which was a submission of Chad Anheliger in November. After dropping his promotional debut last August, Johnson will look to stop Almabaev’s lengthy streak and get above .500 in the UFC.

Asu Almabaev vs. Jose Johnson UFC on ESPN 58 expert pick, prediction

Filling out the main card is an interesting flyweight affair between Almabayev and Johnson.

Despite standing 6-foot tall, Johnson will be looking for a change of scenery as he drops down to 125 pounds for the first time in his career. That said, the Michigan native will have a tough hurdle to get past this Saturday.

Unbeaten in the last 7 years, Almabayev is a well-rounded fighter with a solid wrestling base.

Although Almabayev appears talented enough to stand with Johnson, I suspect that the American’s height and the smaller octagon of the Apex force Almabayev into another grapple-heavy affair.

For that reason, I’ll side with the Kazak fighter to wear down Johnson by the third frame for a submission win.

Asu Almabaev vs. Jose Johnson UFC on ESPN 58 odds

The oddsmakers and the public are heavily favoring the more natural flyweight, listing Almabayev as a heavy -650 favorite, with Johnson a big underdog at +440, via FanDuel.

Asu Almabaev vs. Jose Johnson UFC on ESPN 58 start time, how to watch

As the second main card bout, Almabaev and Johnson are expected to make their walks to the octagon at approximately 10:35 p.m. ET. The fight broadcasts live on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 58.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie