It’s somewhat premature for Adesanya to be jumping weight classes to compete for the light heavyweight title. Not because he isn’t ready for a fighter like Blachowicz, but because his career would be best served staying at middleweight and defending the crown. Anderson Silva and GSP didn’t become the superstars they were from jumping weight classes after a couple of title defenses. With that being said, the contrast of styles between these two is plenty appealing to the fanbase. No matter what the outcome is, the main event is certain to deliver.
Jan Blachowicz (+184) v Israel Adesanya (-230)
You have the smaller, incredibly technical Muay Thai/Kickboxer in Adesanya going up against the lesser technical, heavy power punching Blachowicz. In terms of sheer strength, there is little doubt that Blachowicz is the bigger and stronger man. The more skilled individual when it comes to technique is Adesanya. From a pure striking standpoint, Adesanya has the edge. The way he moves is difficult to prepare for, whereas Blackhowicz’s style shouldn’t be overly difficult to replicate in the training room. If this turns into a kickboxing fight, it’s easy to envision Adesanya earning the win. He is a dynamic striker that does very well against guys like Blachowicz if he can weather the early storm.
But should Blachowicz take the approach of trying to push Adesanya up to the cage and use his physicality to wear on him, this fight could turn ugly. He’s had success with this in the past, especially when it comes to securing rounds.
At the end of the day
Despite being the smaller fighter of the two, Adesanya has the confidence to press forward from the very beginning of the contest. The array of weapons that he has in the striking realm is going to get Blachowicz off his game early, between low leg kicks, and knees and kicks to the body. Adesanya is poised to find his mark and end the fight.
Pick: Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya sees two potential outcomes for his fight against Jan Blachowicz at #UFC259
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 3, 2021
Amanda Nunes (-1300) v Megan Anderson (+730)
When you see the fanduel duel betting odds in a fight like this, you know it’s not going to be good for someone. Amanda Nunes is unquestionably the best female fight of all time and Megan Anderson is simply the next girl to fight her. With all due respect to Anderson, from a technical aspect, she’s outmatched in every position. Anderson is a tall rangy fight but doesn’t necessarily use that length very well. Nunes is a master of distance control and is a very powerful puncher who throws her strikes straight down the pipe, catching girls right on the very end of her fists. It also wouldn’t be shocking to see Nunes take this fight to the ground and control the fight.
At the end of the day
At those fanduel betting odds, Anderson is a solid underdog pick. This sport is insane, anything can happen. But aside from anything insane taking place, Nunes ends this fight in short order.
Pick: Amanda Nunes
Petr Yan (-110) v Aljamain Sterling (-110)
This is a very difficult fight to predict, as the fanduel odds would suggest. Yan is quite possibly the most intimidating individual on the roster right now and is fresh off a knockout victory over Jose Aldos to win the Bantamweight championship. Sterling has looked better than ever these days, with his most recent victory over Corey Sandhagen aging very well. For someone to go in there and get Sandhagen out of there as quick as Sterling did, it speaks volumes. Yan is a very powerful and a efficient striker. Every strike he throws is to end the fight, but he chooses his strikes very well. One of his best qualities is his killer instinct, if he smells blood, he aggressively pursues the finish until he gets it.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see Sterling out grappling Yan, and in all likelihood, we are going to see a close fight. On one hand, it’s easy to see Yan controlling the fight with his relentless forward pressure. On the other hand, Aljo is the type of fight to surprise the hell out of you. Perfectly capable of catching Yan and ending things early.
At the end of the day
It’s easy to imagine this fight ending any number of ways, but most of those have Petr Yan emerging as the victor. His punching power is both a threat when he is standing, and when he is a grounded opponent. There will be lots of opportunities for the champ to land significant damage, and that’ll be the difference-maker.
Pick: Petr Yan
Islam Makhachev (-355) v Drew Dober (+270)
The fanduel bettings odds heavily favor Makhachev to win this fight. The highly touted Russian hasn’t fought since 2019 but is coming into this fight on a 6 fight winning streak. Dober is on some sort of tare himself entering this fight on a 3 fight KO/TKO fight streak. Dober is tough as hell, and he’ll need to be against a guy like Makhachev. Being on the shelf for a long time generally isn’t good for anyone in the sport of MMA, but Makhachev is the type of fighter to take that time off and coming back not having lost a step.
At the end of the day
If we were talking about an active Makhachev, it’s understandable that he is such a heavy fanduel favorite to win. But for as good as Dober has looked lately, he is most certainly a live dog in this fight. The grappling advantage goes to Makhachev, but Dober is extremely tough and has good defense grappling-wise. The underdog is a good bet on this one.
Pick: Drew Dober
The talk is finally over 🗣
We're 5️⃣ days until 'No Mercy' vs 'Funkmaster'
— UFC (@ufc) March 2, 2021
Casey Kenney (-140) v Dominick Cruz (+144)
Dominick Cruz is an all-time great bantamweight, one of the best champions the division has ever had. His unconventional, groundbreaking style with his footwork and his angel earned him victories over some of the biggest names in the division. But he is just one of the unfortunate cases where he has battled injuries for such and has lost so much time because of it. But despite that, he has plenty left in the tank. He hasn’t shown any signs of diminished durability, he just fought two absolute killers he has 2 times out. Casey Kenney has made a name for himself winning 3 fights in a row and coming off of a fight of the night performance.
At The End of the day
Cruz still has the footwork, still has the angles, and still has the desire to compete. Kenneys grappling is very strong, but the wrestling of Cruz will be able to supersede it. The former champ will prove he still has it.
Pick: Dominick Cruz
UFC 259 is one hell of a card on paper. You have to think poor Megan Anderson is going to get worked, but crazy things happen in this sport way too often to completely disregard her. Nunes doesn’t often make mistakes, but it’s just when you think an outcome to a fight is a foregone conclusion that the MMA God’s put you right in your place with a shocking upset.