The UFC’s biggest fight card of the year so far is set to go down this weekend in Las Vegas. UFC 259 on March 6th will be headlined by not one, not two, but three world title fights.

In the main event, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya moves up in weight to challenge light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz while double-champion Amanda Nunes looks to stay dominant against Megan Anderson in a UFC women’s featherweight title fight. The third title bout will feature bantamweight titleholder, Petr Yan, making his first defense of the belt against Aljamain Sterling.

“Fighting" Jan Blachowicz vs Israel Adesanya

Jan Blachowicz is the UFC light heavyweight champion. The 38-year old Polish fighter won the belt by knocking out Dominick Reyes at UFC 253. This former KSW light heavyweight champion lost four of his first five UFC bouts but has dropped just one fight since then, winning eight during that span including three knockouts in his last four bouts. Polish Power has a record of 27-8 with eight knockouts and 9 wins via submission. He is 6-2 tall with a reach of 78 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.

Israel Adesanya is the UFC middleweight champion. The 31-year old from Auckland, New Zealand is undefeated in 20 bouts with 15 knockouts. Adesanya captured middleweight by stopping Robert Whitaker at UFC 243 and has defended his belt twice. The Last Style Bender has earned a post-fight bonus in 7 out of his last nine bouts. He is a switch hitter who stands 6-4 tall with a reach of 80 inches. Although this is his first 205-pound bout in the UFC, he has fought at this weight class before.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/05/2021

Blachowicz enters this fight as a significant underdog. But don’t forget he was the same when he won the title from Dominick Reyes. He is a strong technical fighter who possesses power in both his punches and kicks. With nine submission wins, he is also an underrated grappler.

Adesanya is one of the most fluid strikers and is one of the UFC’s biggest stars. Despite moving up in weight, he still owns a two-inch reach advantage over Blachowicz. Adesanya has excellent fight IQ and he circles the cage really well. He has outstruck all of his nine UFC opponents including eight via double-digit strike difference.

Blachowicz’s disadvantages here are his speed and movement. Otherwise, he beats Adesanya in size, strength, and grappling. And Adesanya isn’t bulking up for this fight, which could turn out to be the wrong strategy against a solid grappler. Blachowicz imposes his size and puts Izzy on his back which is unfamiliar territory for him. I’ll take the plus money here.

Prediction: Jan Blachowicz

“Fighting" Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson

Amanda Nunes is the no. 1 female pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC and the one considered as the best female fighter of all-time. The 32-year old Lioness is the first female double-champion in the UFC, and she is the only double-champion to successfully defend both belts while holding them simultaneously. Nunes is 20-4 with 13 knockouts and three wins via submission. She is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-8 tall with a reach of 69 inches.

Megan Anderson is the former Invicta FC featherweight champion. The 31-year old Australian lost two of her first three UFC bouts but has won her previous two via first-round stoppage. Anderson is the first true featherweight that Nunes will be facing and she has the size and reach advantage over the champion. She is an orthodox fighter who stands six feet tall and has a reach of 72 inches. Anderson has a record of 11-4 with six knockouts and three wins via submission.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/05/2021

Amanda Nunes continues her reign as the most dominant female fighter in the UFC. The Lioness has looked invincible since becoming champion and she has shown no signs of slowing down. Nunes is one of the best technical strikers ever and not only does she have great technique, but she also has knockout power. She also has a very good takedown game and strong grappling skills which make her a complete fighter.

Anderson is coming off back-to-back first-round KO wins. She is the tallest fighter in the UFC’s female roster and she uses her size and length to her advantage with high-level kickboxing ability. Her takedown defense of 53% will be one of her biggest problems in this championship match.

Let’s face it. There’s a dearth of challengers at the women’s featherweight division and that’s one of the reasons why Anderson is fighting for the belt. Nunes looks too good for her here. And while I won’t discount the possibility of Anderson knocking out Nunes, that seems remote, given the Lioness’ skillset.

Prediction: Amanda Nunes

“Fighting" Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling

Petr Yan is the current UFC bantamweight champion and a former ACB bantamweight titleholder. The 28-year old Russian joined the UFC in 2018 and is undefeated inside the Octagon after seven bouts. Yan won the belt by defeating Jose Aldo at UFC 251 and will be making his first title defense against Sterling. No Mercy is a switch hitter who is 5-7 tall with a reach of 67 inches. His record stands at 15-1 with seven knockouts and one win via submission.

Aljamain Sterling is the no. 1 ranked bantamweight contender in the UFC. Master Funk is a former ROC and CFFC bantamweight champion. Since losing to Marlon Moraes in 2017, he’s won five in a row to earn his first title shot. Sterling is 5-7 tall with a reach of 71 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 19-3 with two knockouts and eight submission victories.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/05/2021

Yan is an excellent striker who has out-landed all but one opponent in the UFC. He’s also a decent grappler and he averages at least one takedown per fight. But Yan’s best asset is his boxing and he likes to mix his head punches with body shots. He also has good kicks but he uses them primarily to set up his hands.

Sterling’s path to victory is to take this fight to the ground and he knows it. While he is a well-rounded fighter, Sterling’s takedown offense is a question mark. The challenger has a takedown accuracy of 29% and he has not landed a single takedown in his last three bouts. On his feet, Sterling is aggressive and he throws punches in bunches. He will try to use his 71-inch reach advantage to keep the champion off him.

If Yan can keep this fight on the feet, he should be able to punish Sterling in the stand-up. The challenger is an aggressive striker and he sometimes leaves himself wide open while trying to launch his own attack. Give me the champion here.

Prediction: Petr Yan

“Fighting" Islam Makhachev vs Drew Dober

Isam Makhachev is a former Combat Sambo world champion who trained with Khabib Nurmagomedov. The 29-year old from Dagestan joined the UFC in 2015 after fighting for M-1 Global. He is 7-1 in the UFC and has won his last six bouts. Overall, Makhachev has a record of 18-1 with three knockouts and seven wins via submission. He is a southpaw who stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 70 inches.

Drew Dober fought for Bellator and Titan FC. The 32-year old from Omaha, Nebraska joined the UFC in 2013. After going 3-4-1 in his first eight UFC bouts, Dober has won six out of his last seven bouts, including his last three. He has a record of 23-9 with 10 knockouts and six wins via submission. Dober is also a southpaw who is 5-8 tall with a reach of 70 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/05/2021

Makhachev has won six straight bouts but has not fought in the previous 18 months due to travel restrictions and a staph infection. He is known for training with Khabib and is an excellent wrestler with strong submission skills and a fearsome ground and pound attack.

 Dober is 6-1 in his last seven fights and has won three in a row. Although he hasn’t faced someone significant in the UFC, he slowly improved his game. Dober has strong boxing fundamentals and has very good scrambling skills.

Makhachev has displayed fluid offense as of late but it’s his strike defense that shuts down his opponents. I expect that Makhachev to control this fight on the ground and beat Dober by decision.

Prediction: Islam Makhachev

“Fighting" Thiago Santos vs Aleksandar Rakic

Thiago Santos is the no. 2 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 37-year old from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil challenged Jon Jones for the title at UFC 239 but lost in a close split decision. Santos has lost his last two bouts but the losses were to Jones and Glover Teixeira. Marreta has a record of 21-8 with 15 knockouts and one submission win. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-2 tall with a reach of 76 inches.

Aleksandar Rakic is the no. 4 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 29-year old from Vienna, Austria joined the UFC in 2017 and has an Octagon record of 5-1 with his only loss a disputable split decision against Volkan Oezdemir. Rakic is coming off a big win over Anthony Smith last August and he has a record of 13-2 with nine knockouts and one win via submission. He is 6-4 tall with a reach of 78 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 03/05/2021

Santos possesses freak power in his punches and he has knocked out 15 of 21 opponents. He likes to throw feints before he lets his hands go. Santos also has strong kicks that set up his punch combinations. An issue with Santos is his takedown defense which is just 64% and when he is taken down, his energy gets drained, making him less more explosive.

Rakic is a fantastic striker who has outstruck all but one of his UFC opponents. He keeps his opponents guessing by throwing kicks at different speeds. If he gets pressured, he backs up his opponents with a stiff jab or heavy straight punches.

Santos is coming off surgery on both knees and that could be a factor against a heavy kicker like Rakic. If Rakic is able to put Santos on his back, then this is an easier fight for him to win. If not, he still has the edge on the feet as Santos will rely heavily on his power while Rakic has many ways to win this fight.

Prediction: Aleksandar Rakic

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