UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya (TV: ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN+ PPV)
Saturday, March 6th, Early Prelims 6:00 PM ET (ESPN2/ESPN+), Prelims 8:00 ET (ESPN/ESPN+) Main Card 10:00 PM ET (ESPN+ PPV), UFC APEX, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bantamweight Title Fight: Petr Yan (15-1) vs. Aljamain Sterling (19-3)
Fight odds: Petr Yan -130 Aljamain Sterling +110
Women’s Featherweight Title Fight: Amanda Nunes (20-4) vs. Megan Anderson (11-4)
Fight odds: Amanda Nunes -900 Megan Anderson +600
Light Heavyweight Title Fight: Jan Blachowicz (27-8) vs. Israel Adesanya (20-0)
Fight odds: Israel Adesanya -240 Jan Blachowicz +200
UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya
UFC 259 is upon us and it is the most stacked fight card of the year thus far. With 3 Title fights and great fighters like Thiago Santos, Dominick Cruz and Joseph Benavidez also on the card, UFC fans are in for a real treat come Saturday night. Benavidez, Cruz and Santos all have to prove they are still relevant since they are all coming off losses in their previous fights. With former heavyweight greats Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem getting released from the UFC its clear that aging stars can’t hang onto their past successes and need to evolve as their opponents get better.
Thiago Santos was on the verge of becoming the UFC Light Heavyweight champion after nearly beating Jon Jones, unfortunately he suffered a significant leg injury during that fight. Santos is coming off a submission loss to Glover Teixeira in his first return fight and faces a tough challenge against Aleksandar Rakic.
The third fight on the card is the Bantamweight Title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling. Yan looked strong and forceful during his knockout win over Jose Aldo to earn the vacant Bantamweight Title and is facing a different type of opponent in Sterling. Yan can take a punch or kick to land his own damaging shots. Yan also has great stamina which is partly why he beat Aldo. Aldo started out strong, but as the rounds wore on he started to fade and Yan got stronger and overwhelmed a tired Aldo to earn the emphatic win.
Sterling is an explosive athlete capable of getting a submission or knockout win and absolutely impressed against a fellow top bantamweight, Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen has since went on to get two knockout wins over Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar after getting submitted by Sterling in the 1st Round. Sterling quickly took care of Sandhagen with a rear naked choke to put himself in prime position to challenge for the Bantamweight Title.
However, Yan is a different kind of opponent with a strong, stalky build, while Sterling is tall, thin and muscular. Yan is also getting better every fight and doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses with 7 wins by knockout and 7 by decision. Sterling will need to use his range to keep this fight at a distance and his speed to make Yan think twice before trying to fight at close range. Yan has better knockout power and great stamina. Yan will most likely be too strong for Sterling in the later rounds and get the win by 4th Round knockout. This fight could change in an instant if Sterling lands the right shot, but Yan tends to overwhelm his opponents with his striking volume as the fight progresses.
The Co-Main Event features the GOAT in women’s MMA in Amanda Nunes against Megan Anderson for Nunes’ Featherweight Title. Nunes is the double champion because she also holds the Bantamweight Title at 135 lbs. This fight is at 145 lbs. meaning that Nunes can come in strong and hydrated without having to cut too much weight. This is a chance for Nunes to add to her legacy and a chance for Anderson to pull off a huge upset. Nunes is the most dominant athlete, man or woman in their respective sport. Not only is Nunes undefeated since 2015, she also has barely lost a round in those fights. Nunes is elite on the feet and on the ground and can mix up her takedowns with her striking to really make it difficult for her opponent.
Anderson is a long and tall opponent that will attempt to use her height and reach advantages to keep Nunes on the outside. Nunes has excellent timing and combination striking making it difficult for her opponents to adequately prepare for. Whenever Nunes steps into the octagon it is another chance to witness greatness and this fight should be no different. Nunes should get the win by 3rd Round knockout against an opponent who does pose some challenges, but Nunes should figure out how to mitigate them and get her timing down to achieve success in this fight. Nunes combines great power with timing which leads to devastating consequences for her opponents. Nunes has some of the best boxing in MMA and continues to cement her legacy as the GOAT with each successive fight.
UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya
The Main Event features two fighters with different body types, one is tall, thin and long in Israel Adesanya and the other is short, stalky and strong in Jan Blachowicz. This is similar to the fight between Yan and Sterling since Yan is short and strong like Blachowicz and Adesanya is tall and explosive like Sterling. However, Adesanya may just be the best striker in the sport. Adesanya has become one of the best fighters in the sport because of his striking versatility, timing and his precision power. Adesanya also has great takedown defense making him a difficult fighter to take to the ground and rough up.
Adesanya is a slick fighter with elite speed that makes great fighters look ordinary. Adesanya did this in his knockout wins against Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker. Adesanya is the UFC Middleweight champion at 185 lbs. and is attempting to become the double champion at 205 lbs. Blachowicz took full advantage of Jon Jones vacating his Light Heavyweight Title by beating Dominick Reyes by 2nd Round knockout to win the vacant Title. While Blachowicz isn’t facing Jon Jones in this fight he faces a similar opponent in Adesanya who has comparable length, striking versatility and takedown defense to Jones. Blachowicz has significant knockout power and can attack the body of his opponents with strong body kicks. Reyes felt the Polish power as there was apparent bruising on Reyes’ midsection from Blachowicz’s body attacks.
Adesanya will be difficult to hit because of his speed, head movement and defensive instincts. Blachowicz will need to rough this fight up and make it a challenge for Adesanya by mixing up his takedowns and attacking the long torso of his opponent. Adesanya should also come in fresh and not weight drained because he likely didn’t have to cut any weight to weigh in at the 205 lb. limit. Blachowicz will look to land that significant knockout punch, but Adesanya may be just too quick and counter with his own effective strikes to subdue Blachowicz. Expect this to be an entertaining fight in a matchup of power versus speed.
The speed and timing of Adesanya should dictate how the fight plays out as he wins by Unanimous Decision. If Blachowicz can’t get on the inside and fight at a closer range it will be a long night for him. Paulo Costa was unable to get on the inside because the leg kicks of Adesanya didn’t allow him to gain any advantage in the fight which is why he got knocked out in the 2nd Round. Blachowicz needs to study this fight and figure out how he can avoid those leg kicks and unleash his Polish power. Tune in for a great night of fights with UFC 259 promising an epic night of fights.