UFC 259 is stacked with exciting matchups from the start till the end.
In the main event, light heavyweight king Jan Blachowicz puts his title on the line against Israel Adesanya, who eyes another feather in his cap. In the co-main event, featherweight champion Amanda Nunes defends her title against Megan Anderson, and bantamweight champion Petr Yan clashes with Aljamain Sterling in a battle for the ages.
The main card also features highly-rated lightweight prospect Islam Makhachev, who faces Drew Dober, and a light heavyweight showdown between Aleksandar Rakic and former title challenger Thiago Santos.
Jan Blachowicz vs Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya is moving up in weight to try and become a two-division UFC champion. Should he win, he will be the fifth fighter to hold two belts in the promotion at the same time, after Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, Daniel Cormier, and Henry Cejudo. The Wellington native certainly has the tools to improve his record to 21-0. He is one of the best – if not the best – strikers in the UFC. He’s fast, he’s precise and he’s a phenom when it comes to managing distance and range.
However, Jan Blachowicz is a very well-rounded and smart fighter. He’s very explosive and powerful on the feet, but he’s also an excellent grappler. There’s a reason why Adesanya’s coach believes Blachowicz will be his pupil’s toughest test.
The margins for error, for both fighters, are few and far between in this fight. Adesanya’s best chance of winning this fight is by adopting a kick-heavy approach, avoiding unnecessary exchanges with his opponent, and hurting the Polish sensation whenever he finds his openings. Blachowicz will have to mix things up. He’ll have to couple his striking with his wrestling to keep his opponent guessing.
While Adesanya is the favorite ahead of UFC 259, he shouldn’t make the mistake of taking his opponent for granted.
Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson
There aren’t many female fighters who can give Amanda Nunes a run for her money. She’s levels ahead of everybody else, with the exception of Valentina Shevchenko, and she’s a massive favorite against Megan Anderson for a reason. But the Australian presents a few tricky challenges to the Brazilian phenom.
Anderson is the tallest female fighter on the UFC roster and will have a four-inch height advantage against Nunes. She will also have a three-inch reach advantage, plus she is a hard puncher. Should she somehow manage to beat Nunes, it will be the biggest upset in UFC history. The big question, however, remains whether she will be able to withstand Nunes’ constant pressure and grappling.
Anderson’s best chance of winning this fight is an early knockout. But it is going to be a tough ask. Not only is Nunes the better striker, but she’s also far ahead in terms of grappling, and should she take the fight to the mat, she wouldn’t have a problem finishing her opponent. This is Amanda Nunes’ fight to lose.
Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling
This fight has the potential to be Fight Of The Night because both Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling are masters in their respective fields. Yan is predominantly a striker, while Sterling loves to smother people with his wrestling. Therefore, it’s a classic striker vs grappler fight. However, the two gentlemen are anything but one-dimensional.
Sterling is a kick-heavy fighter, but he’s very efficient on his feet. He starts at a very high pace, pressuring his opponents against the cage, before shooting for takedowns. The Russian also likes to pressure his opponents against the cage to land his shots. It’ll be interesting to see which of the two dictates the pace of the fight.
Sterling’s got a decent chance of winning this fight if he succeeds in taking his opponent down, but if he fails to do so, Yan’s gradually going to grow as the fight progresses. Yan would ease to victory if the fight stays in the center of the cage, whereas Sterling’s best chance is not allowing that to happen. At the end of the day, it’s an extremely close contest, and it all goes down to who implements his game plan better
Islam Makhachev vs Drew Dober
With Khabib Nurmagomedov bowing out of MMA, Islam Makhachev is attracting more eyeballs than ever. He’s 18-1 and is only a few wins away from getting a title shot. However, Drew Dober would be more than happy to ruin Islam’s plans.
On paper, Islam is the favorite and should win relatively easily, but fights are not won on paper. Dober is on a tear as of late, as he has won his last three fights via stoppage. He’s certainly got the power to shut the Dagestani’s lights out, and we have seen Makhachev get caught against Adriano Martins.
Dober is an aggressive fighter and will be gunning for a fourth consecutive stoppage win, but if Islam uses his superior grappling skills, he would ease past his opponent.
Thiago Santos vs Aleksandar Rakic
Aleksandar Rakic is relatively new to the UFC, whereas Thiago Santos has been there, and done it on a number of occasions. Experience-wise, Santos has the edge in this fight, but Rakic has the perfect style to beat the Brazilian.
Santos is a powerhouse, and he will be looking to take his opponent’s head on Saturday. Rakic on the other hand is a patient kickboxer, who picks his shots really well. For Rakic, leg kicks are going to be a key factor in this fight. If he manages to weather the early storm at UFC 259, his chances will grow exponentially because the longer the fighter goes, the better the chances of Aleksandar winning.
Other Fights On The Card
- Dominick Cruz vs Casey Kenney
- Song Yadong vs Kyler Phillips
- Joseph Benavidez vs Askar Askarov
- Rogério Bontorin vs Kai Kara-France
- Tim Elliott vs Jordan Espinosa
- Kennedy Nzechukwu vs Carlos Ulberg
- Sean Brady vs Jake Matthews
- Lívia Renata Souza vs Amanda Lemos
- Uroš Medić vs Aalon Cruz
- Mario Bautista vs Trevin Jones
What are your predictions for UFC 259?
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