The main event at UFC 259 this coming weekend sees three different titles on the line across the three main event contests. First up, in the Bantamweight division, Petr Yan will defend his title against Aljamain Sterling.
Then in the women’s featherweight division, the “Baddest Woman on the Planet” Amanda Nunes will make her second defense of the featherweight title against her Australian challenger Megan Anderson.
Both those fights promise to be cracking bouts with plenty on the line in each, but it is the headline pay-per-view bout between two champions that has got most people excited for this weekend.
Adesanya V Blachowitz
In 2019, Israel Adesanya (20-0-0) completed his journey to the pinnacle of the sport at middleweight. His win in February of that year over Anderson Silva saw him earn a shot at the interim title against Kevin Gastelum in a bout that was one of the best of the year.
Another victory in that fight saw Adesanya then go on to beat Robert Whittaker in October unifying the titles. He has since gone on to beat Yoel Romerto and Paulo Costa relatively comfortably in his first two defenses of the title.
Adesanya also revealed this week that he would be motivated to return to defend his middleweight belt if Liverpool-born Darren Till can keep winning to put himself into a position as a contender.
With little left to prove at middleweight and with no sign of a fight with Till on the horizon, Adesanya has instead turned his attention to Jan Blachowitz light heavyweight title. In doing so he could become the next multiple-weight world champion in the UFC.
Blachowitz Perseveres After Slow Start
The fact that Blachowitz (27-8-0) is the current light heavyweight champion is testament to the Polish fighters resolve and durability. Blachowitz didn’t make a great start to his career in the UFC, losing four of his first six bouts.
The 38-year-old has bounced back from that inauspicious beginning to register four straight wins since, three by stoppage. In his last nine fights, he has been victorious in eight of them.
His two wins that put him atop the rankings at light heavyweight came last year when in February he landed a stunning blow on Corey Anderson’s chin to earn a big victory. He then followed up that win with a similar big hitting win over Dominick Reyes to land the vacant light heavyweight title.
What Are The Odds On The Fight?
Usually when a fighter moves up to face an opponent, especially a current champion, at a heavier weight,the odds favor the bigger man. However, given Adesanya’s special skill set and his unblemished record, he is the strong 21/50 favourite to land his 21st career victory.
Despite being the bigger man and having a knockout punch, Blachowitz is rated only as a 19/10 chance with BetMGM in the fight.
In the other two headline bouts, Amanda Nunes is heavily favored to win her bout at 1/11, with her Australian opponent Megan Anderson a 7/1 outsider to end Nunes eleven fight winning run.
Finally, Aljamain Sterling is the very tight second favourite to beat Petr Yan in at bantamweight with the American fighter 19/20 and Champion Yan the 20/23 favourite to land the win. Although at those odds, it does look like a coin toss as to who could land the win there.
Our Picks For The Big Three Fights?
The Yan v Sterling fight is the toughest one to call of the three main event bouts. This really is a coin toss but having viewed the two fighters at close quarters, I just feel Sterling’s hunger for victory could be the decisive factor, although I would expect this one to go to the judges scorecards.
I don’t think the cards will be required in the second bout where I am with the sportsbooks odds setters here and think Amanda Nunes will land her twelfth victory in a row.
For the big fight, while Blachowitz has a punchers chance (and wouldn’t it be interesting to see how Adesanya could cope with that if he caught one?) I still feel Adesanya’s skill set is much the stronger of the two and I’d expect him to prevail.