Julia Budd and Olga Rubin have something to prove when they meet Friday night for the Bellator women’s bantamweight title. Budd is eager to prove she is a world-class champion who belongs in the same conversation and octagon with the likes of icons such as Cris Cyborg. Rubin, the challenger, is hoping to silence critics who question whether she is ready for the big stage. Budd and Rubin battle in the main event of Bellator 224 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The four-fight main card is set for 9 p.m. ET. Budd is a -350 favorite (risk $350 to win $100), while Rubin is priced at +250 in the latest Budd vs. Rubin odds. In the co-main event of Bellator 224, Chidi Njokuani (-120) meets Rafael Carvalho (-120) in a clash of upstart middleweight prospects. Before you lock in your Bellator 224 picks and predictions, make sure you listen to what SportsLine MMA expert Kyle Marley has to say.

Marley has been massively profitable in 2019. Over the past three weeks, he has compiled a record of 28-7, netting his followers a profit of more than $1,400. Last week at UFC 239, he accurately predicted that Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes would be successful in their title defenses. He also correctly called Michael Chiesa’s dominant unanimous-decision victory over veteran Diego Sanchez in their welterweight clash on the main card.

Moreover, Marley’s recent Bellator selections include picking Rory MacDonald to defeat Neiman Gracie in a Welterweight Grand Prix bout at Bellator 222. He also accurately called Lyoto Machida knocking out Chael Sonnen in the co-main event on the same card. All told, Marley is up nearly $23,000 on MMA picks in the past year, and anyone who has followed his advice is also up huge.

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Now, with Bellator 224 fast approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the MMA odds and released his MMA picks for every main-card bout. He’s sharing those selections only over at SportsLine. 

Marley knows the Bellator 224 main event could be a defining moment in the careers of both fighters, who could use it as a steppingstone to other major opportunities with a victory.

Budd (12-2), 36, won the inaugural Bellator women’s featherweight championship with a knockout over Marloes Coenen in March 2017. She has since defended it twice, with her last bout ending in a technical knockout of Talita Nogueira one year ago.

Budd’s only MMA losses came in 2011 to UFC icons Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes when she was a member of the Strikeforce promotion. A victory Friday could set up a potential bout with Cris Cyborg, who reportedly is considering becoming a free agent and could possibly join Bellator.

Rubin (6-0), 29, seeks to remain undefeated in her MMA career and pick up her first championship belt in the process. Her four Bellator victories include a pair of knockouts, and she is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over Iony Razafiarison in February.

The Israel-born fighter will be the first to represent her country in a Bellator title fight and she also will be making her debut in the United States. She told the media this week she expects the main event to be “a clash of the titans” that won’t go to the distance. You can only see Marley’s Budd vs. Rubin prediction at SportsLine.

We’ll share one of Marley’s Bellator 224 selections here: He is backing Juliana Velasquez (-245) to defeat Kristina Williams (+175) in a flyweight showdown. 

Velasquez is a former member of the Brazilian judo team who holds a perfect 8-0 record since moving to mixed martial arts in 2014. Williams (3-1) has a win over boxing star heather Hardy to her credit.

“Williams looks too green, and I don’t think she is ready for Velasquez,” Marley told SportsLine. “I think a head-kick win or overwhelming Velasquez with volume would be Williams’ best shot. Velasquez will land the harder shots, backing her down on the feet.”

Marley also has strong picks for Budd vs. Rubin and every other bout on the Bellator 224 main card. You can only see them at SportsLine.

Who wins Budd vs. Rubin? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks for Bellator 224, all from the incomparable expert who’s up nearly $23,000 on MMA in the past year, and find out. 

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