Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Robelis Despaigne prediction, pick, start time, odds for UFC on ESPN 56

Waldo Cortes-Acosta and Robelis Despaigne meet Saturday in the main card opener of UFC on ESPN 56 from Enterprise Center in St. Louis. Check out this quick breakdown of the matchup from MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom.  

Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Robelis Despaigne UFC on ESPN 56 preview

Cortes-Acosta (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Despaigne (19-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) get the main card started with a heavyweight bout that might not make it out of the first round. … Cortes-Acosta has won his last two fights, stopping Lukas Brzeski in the first round with punches and winning a unanimous decision over former champion Andrei Arlovski in his first fight of the year in January. … Despaigne brings his undefeated record to the UFC’s octagon for the second time, following an impressive debut that he won by knockout in just 18 seconds. The Cuban Olympian has not seen Round 2 in his young professional MMA career.

Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Robelis Despaigne expert pick, prediction

Even though we have surefire action fights like Terrance McKinney and Esteban Ribovics stuck on the prelims (not to mention a continually underserved men’s flyweight division), the powers that be continue to double down on the big boys by force-feeding us unproven heavyweights on Fight Night main cards.

In defense of the UFC matchmakers, both Cortes-Acosta and Despaigne are considered prospects – at least by heavyweight standards.

Despaigne, who appears to be the new hotness in the division, is an undeniable athletic force who comes from an Olympic-level taekwondo background. The Cuban fighter is still green with a small sample size, but that’s not stopping tumescent MMA gamblers from backing Despaigne at the betting window, hand over fist.

Cortes-Acosta, on the other hand, might be the most hated fighter since Ihot Potieria did his ‘duelist dance’ over the lifeless body of Mauricio Rua in Brazil.

Already possessing a style that arguably shoots itself in the foot with its flash-to-function ratio, Cortes-Acosta decided to double down on his unlikeability by blatantly disrespecting UFC legend Andrei Arlovski in his last outing.

I hope we get to see more of Despaigne regardless of the result here, but I’ll take the bait by making the cathartic prediction of picking “The Big Boy” to emphatically knock Cortes-Acosta out at the end of Round 1.

Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Robelis Despaigne odds

The odds makers and the public favor the less-proven heavyweight, listing Despaigne a healthy -250, with Cortes-Acosta a +198 underdog via FanDuel. Cortes-Acosta only has one loss in five UFC fights, and it was the only other time he was listed as an underdog; he lost a unanimous decision to Marcos Rogerio de Lima. The undefeated Despaigne’s UFC debut only lasted 18 seconds, and entered that bout against Josh Parisian as a -400 favorite.

Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Robelis Despaigne start time, how to watch

As the main card opener, Cortes-Acosta and Despaigne are expected to make their walk shortly after the main card begins, around 7:05 p.m. ET (4:05 p.m. PT). 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 56.

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

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie