The UFC returns to action on Saturday night for UFC 271 which will be held at the Toyota Center in Texas.

In the main event, the long-awaited rematch between UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will finally happen. Adesanya took the belt from Whittaker at UFC 243 more than three years ago and Whittaker has won three in a row to put himself in a position to challenge Adesanya on Saturday night.

In the co-main event, heavyweight contenders Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa face off in what is expected to be a firefight. Meanwhile, in the third fight of the evening middleweight contenders, Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson will try to make a case for the next middleweight title shot by beating the other.

Let’s take a look at the UFC 271 main card and make our predictions.

“Fighting" Israel Adesanya vs Robert Whittaker

Israel Adesanya is the current UFC middleweight champion. The Last Stylebender won the belt from Whittaker at UFC 243 in 2019. Since winning the belt, Adesanya has successfully defended it three times against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Marvin Vettori. In between those bouts, he moved up in weight to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the 205-pound title but at UFC 259 but was unsuccessful.

The 32-year old from Auckland, New Zealand is a former Hex Fighting Series and Australian Fighting Championship middleweight champion. Adesanya also fought as a professional kickboxer at the GLORY promotion. Now the no. 3 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, the Stylebender has a record of 21-1 with 16 knockouts. He is a switch hitter who stands 6-4 tall with a reach of 80 inches.

Robert Whittaker is the no. 1 ranked middleweight contender in the UFC. The Reaper is a former UFC middleweight champion who lost his belt to Adesanya in their first bout at UFC 243. Since that loss, he’s picked up impressive wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum to earn a second shot at Adesanya.

Prior to his loss at UFC 243, Whittaker won nine consecutive bouts en route to winning the middleweight belt. Overall, the Reaper has a record of 23-9 with nine knockouts and five submission wins. He stands six feet tall with a reach of 73 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 02/11/2022

You have to admire Robert Whittaker for getting back to the top of the rankings after getting knocked out by Izzy the first time out. The Reaper has won three in a row and has put himself in a situation where he can get his old belt back. But impressive as he has been, Adesanya has addressed the ‘weakness’ that led to his defeat against Jan Blachowicz.

In his last bout against Marvin Vettori, Adesanya stuffed 10 out of 14 takedown attempts by his opponent and when he got taken down, he didn’t stay on the ground too long as he did against Blachowicz. That said, I think Adesanya will be able to keep this fight on the feet, where he has one of the best striking in the business.

There’s no question that Whittaker is a better wrestler than both Blachowicz and Vettori. But if Adesanya can keep this fight on the feet like he did the first time out, it’s going to be a struggle for the Reaper all night long. I think Whittaker has learned from his mistakes in the first fight. And he will do better here. But as far as winning, I don’t think he can outstrike Adesanya for five rounds. The result may be different, but whether it’s a KO or decision, Adesanya wins this fight.

Prediction: Israel Adesanya

“Fighting" Derrick Lewis vs Tai Tuivasa

Derrick Lewis is the no. 3 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. The 37-year old from New Orleans, Louisiana is coming off a knockout win over Chris Daukaus last December 18, 2021. In that bout, Lewis set the UFC record for most wins via knockout with 13. The Black Beast challenged for the heavyweight belt at UFC 230 but was submitted by Daniel Cormier. He is 5-1 in his last six bouts with three KO wins.

A former Legacy FC heavyweight champion, Lewis joined the UFC in 2014 and opened his career with a modest 3-2 record. After that, the Black Beast won nine out of his next 10 bouts to earn a shot at the heavyweight belt. He has an overall record of 26-8 with 21 knockouts and one submission win. Lewis is 6-3 tall with a reach of 79 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Tai Tuivasa is the no 11 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. The 28-year old from Sydney, Australia is a former heavyweight champion at the Australian Fighting Championship. After one successful title defense, he joined the UFC in 2017. Tuivasa started his UFC career with a 3-3 record but has won his last four bouts.

The Aussie has knocked out his last four opponents with none of them reaching the sixth-minute mark of the fight. Three of those knockouts came inside the first round, including a 49-second stoppage of Harry Hansucker in March 2021. Tuivasa has a record of 13-3 with 12 knockouts. He is a southpaw who stands 6-2 tall and has a reach of 75 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 02/11/2022

This should be one of the fun fights of the night. And although we’ve seen matchups like end up way short of expectations like Lewis’ fight against Francis Ngannou, I am optimistic that we will see fireworks here.

Tuivasa has a solid chin and that should help him in a slugfest with the UFC’s all-time knockout leader. Lewis may be past his prime but if there’s something that Father Time won’t take away easily, it’s punching power. When it comes to knocking out opponents, no one is better than Derrick Lewis.

I like Tuivasa but against a veteran like Lewis who hits like a truck, you have to trust the more prolific knockout artist. This is a heavyweight bout where one punch can end it all. Tuivasa has knockout power. But Derrick Lewis has more pop in his punches.

Prediction: Derrick Lewis

“Fighting" Jared Cannonier vs Derek Brunson

Jared Cannonier is the no. 3 ranked middleweight in the UFC. The 37-year old from Dallas Texas is a former Alaska FC heavyweight champion who joined the UFC in 2015. Cannonier struggled to start his UFC career with a 3-4 record but since moving down to middleweight, he has lost just once in five bouts and is coming off a unanimous decision win over former TUF winner Kelvin Gastelum.

Cannonier has a record of 14-5 with nine knockouts and two submission wins. He is 5-11 tall with a reach of 77 inches and fights as a switch hitter.

Derek Brunson is the no. 4 ranked middleweight in the UFC. The 38-year old from Wilmington, North Carolina is a former three-time NCAA Division II All-American wrestler at the University of Carolina at Pembroke. He started his career at Carolina’s Fight Series before moving on to fight for World Extreme Fighting and Strikeforce. Brunson joined the UFC in 2015, beating Chris Leben in his UFC debut.

From late 2016 to 2018, Brunson found himself struggling with just two wins in six bouts. He, however, has resurrected his career and won his last five bouts. His last three wins have been impressive as he beat Edmen Shahbazyan, Kevin Holland, and Darren Till in succession. In his most recent bout, Brunson submitted Till via rear-naked choke in only the 4th submission win of his career. Brunson is 23-7 with 12 knockouts and four submission wins. He is a southpaw who stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 77 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 02/11/2022

Cannonier is such a physical specimen and although he’s lost five times, four of those defeats were to former or current champions. He’s a knockout artist through and through but Brunson’s takedowns may be the difference in this fight.

Brunson will be at a disadvantage if he fights on the feet. Not only is Cannonier more powerful, but he also has the better striking technique. In his last fight, however, Brunson controlled Darren Till on the ground for seven out of 15 fight minutes while also landing 29 ground strikes.

I think Brunson has found his groove and with great wrestling and a measured approach in his striking, he looks poised to pull off the upset here.

Prediction: Derek Brunson

“Fighting" Kyler Phillips vs Marcelo Rojo

Kyler Phillips started his career in the regional circuits where he picked up a 4-0 record while fighting for CXF and LFA. For his fifth bout, he joined the Contender Series in 2017 and scored a knockout win over James Gray. Phillips then returned to CXF where he suffered his first career loss against Victory Henry. After one fight at LFA, he joined the UFC and won his first three UFC assignments.

In his last fight, Phillips lost a close decision to Raulian Paiva at UFC Vegas 32. Overall, he owns a record of 9-2 with five knockouts and one submission win. Phillips is 5-8 tall with a reach of 72 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Marcelo Rojo is a veteran who has been fighting since 2011. Rojo has fought for promotions like Combate Americas, Arena Tour, ACB, Ulta Elite Fighters, KOF, Conviction MMA, and Explosion Fight Night. The 33-year old from Cordoba, Argentina joined the UFC last year but suffered a third-round TKO loss against Charles Jourdain in his UFC debut.

Rojo is 5-8 tall with a reach of 71 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 16-7 with 8 knockouts and 6 submission wins.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 02/11/2022

Rojo arrived in the UFC with plenty of hype, a good reputation, and an impressive record. However, he failed to live up to the expectations during his UFC debut where he suffered a third-round finish against Charles Jourdain.

Despite his loss to Raulian Paiva, Phillips is the more skilled fighter here. Anywhere you look at it, he has the edge over Rojo. The loss to Paiva was a close one and he could easily get it back if they fought again. But he’s got to take care of business first.

I think Rojo’s style will make Phillips look good. I mean this is his chance to get back on track and I don’t think he will waste the opportunity. Phillips starches Rojo like he did Song Yadong last year.

Prediction: Kyler Phillips

“Fighting" Nasrat Haqparast vs Bobby Green

Nasrat Haqparast began his MMA career in his native Germany where he fought under promotions like We Love MMA, SFC, and Anatolia Fighting Championship. The 26-year old from Hamburg joined the UFC in 2017 and won his first three UFC assignments. Haqparast has since been just 2-2 and is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Dan Hooker at UFC 266 last September 25th.

He has a record of 13-4 with 9 knockouts. Haqparast is a southpaw who stands 5-10 tall and has a 72-inch reach.

Bobby Green is a former King of Cage lightweight and junior welterweight champion who has also fought under Tachi Palace Fights, Strikeforce, and Affliction. The 35-year old from San Bernardino, California joined the UFC in 2013 and won his first four Octagon assignments. Since then, Green is just 5-7-1 but is coming off a knockout win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 268.

Green is 28-12 with 10 knockouts and 8 submission wins. He is 5-10 tall with a reach of 71 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 02/11/2022

These fighters are at different stages of their careers. Haqparast is just starting while Green may be nearing the end of his. Both have been very inconsistent in the UFC. They win some, then lose some. I think that this is the fight that’s hardest to pick in this event. However, when I look at both fighters, I think the difference could be Green’s experience. He’s the guy who’s fought in the bright lights before and although he hasn’t won all his big fights, he’s always a live opponent.

Both fighters can bang and I think Haqparast will be able to touch up Green and land some big shots. However, I think Green’s experience will be the difference-maker here. Green survives the early onslaught and then launches his own attack. It could end in a KO but even if not, Green gets the decision.

Prediction: Bobby Green

Place Your Bets Now!

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *