UFC Fight Night Nicolau vs Schnell Picks and Predictions: Nicolau Weathers the Storm

UFC Fight Night brings us a bantamweight tilt between Matheus Nicolau and Matt Schnell on Saturday night from Orlando. Read more to find out which fighter we're backing in our Nicolau vs. Schnell betting picks.

Last Updated: Dec 3, 2022 8:06 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Matheus Nicolau UFC
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Matheus Nicolau vs. Matt Schnell is scheduled for three rounds in the flyweight division as a featured undercard attraction of this weekend’s UFC Fight Night from the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.

These Top 10 flyweights are set for a critical clash that will greatly affect their title fight prospects. UFC odds firmly back Nicolau as the favorite at -380. The upset-minded Schnell is in a familiar position as an underdog at +310.

Here are my best UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs. Schnell picks and predictions for December 3 from Orlando.

Nicolau vs Schnell fight odds

Nicolau vs Schnell method of victory odds

Method of Victory Matheus Nicolau Matt Schnell
To win by KO/TKO +280 +1,300
To win by Points +155 +650
To win by Submission +340 +1,000
Draw +5,000 +5,000

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook on November 30, 2022.

Nicolau vs Schnell picks

Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Nicolau vs Schnell betting preview

Nicolau doesn’t do anything particularly great, but he’s creeping up the rankings under the cover of darkness. How he handles the tough but flawed Schnell will go a long way in determining how he’ll fare in the shockingly deep flyweight division. Schnell, who entered the UFC after his run on The Ultimate Fighter, also has a lot to gain in victory.

The methodical Nicolau works best as a striker, but his takedown game is also on point. He’s won his last five fights and has looked like a complete fighter during that stretch. We last saw Nicolau earlier this year, landing the heavier blows and a knockdown on his way to a decision win over David Dvorak.

Nicolau lands 3.64 significant strikes per minute at 52% accuracy and lands 1.46 takedown attempts per 15 minutes. More than half of his wins have come by submission or knockout. He’ll have to rely on that steely demeanor and his defense to weather the storm Schnell is going to put him through.

Schnell pulled off an upset win over Su Madaeji in a fight few expected him to win last July, and he’s being rewarded with another tough bout. The always-tough Schnell may not like the odds, but he possesses some physical advantages that could help him spring another upset.

“Danger” lands 4.34 significant strikes per minute at 39%, while also scoring 0.68 takedown attempts per 15 minutes at 44% accuracy and attempting 1.2 submission attempts during the same time frame. What Schnell does best is lull his opponents out of position before flurrying them with hard shots, and while not the most accurate striker or efficient grappler, he’s got a great heart and is willing to take damage to dish it out.

For Nicolau to win, he’ll need to loosen up with his attack and not let Schnell get the better of him during striking exchanges. Five of Schnell's six losses have been finishes, so Nicolau can turn a big offensive moment into a potentially fight-ending scenario.

Schnell needs to use his superior height and reach advantage to slow Nicolau down. Otherwise, he has to hope for another late-fight miracle. 

Nicolau vs Schnell tale of the tape

Matheus Nicolau   Matt Schnell
29 Age 32
5-foot-6 Height 5-foot-8
125 lbs Weight 125 lbs
66 inches Reach 72.5 inches
18-2-1 (4 KO) Record 16-6 (2 KO)

Nicolau vs Schnell UFC prediction and best bet

Our prediction is compiled from the analysis of the fighters and is an indication of who we are leaning with to win this bout.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this fight or where the most value lies, and is where we would put some of our bankroll behind.

Nicolau may not have spectacular technique, but he gets the job done and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. I see him taking the fight to the ground, getting the better of the overall exchanges, and landing the harder shots as he dictates the pace. Schnell is a better finisher, so Nicolau needs to be mindful of his desperate bursts.

There are more routes for Nicolau to take toward victory. Schnell really only has grit and strikes to get him through, and that type of style won’t work well when his striking game can be neutralized with efficient grappling and repeated submission attempts. 

There’s little doubt this could be entertaining, but expect the efficient Nicolau to come out on top.

Prediction: Nicolau moneyline (-380 at DraftKings)

We can’t dismiss Schnell’s knack for coming back from beatings to steal wins. At the same time, Schnell tends to get finished when he loses. The best way to cover all the bases here is to aim for the fight going the distance while being mindful of any late fight comebacks.

The best bet for this fight is taking it to go Over 2.5 rounds for a -125 score, making it a solid choice for a parlay with the rest of the weekend’s action.

Pick: Over 2.5 rounds (-125 at DraftKings)

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