Saturday marks the second major UFC event of the year. Not only that, it marks the return of one of the UFC’s biggest stars as Israel Adesanya – the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC rankings – is back in the Octagon, defending his Middleweight Championship belt against Robert Whittaker. It’s a rematch between the two and in the first meeting back at UFC 243, Adesanya knocked out Whittaker in the second round. Check out the betting odds below and if you want to place your bets you can go here.
Can Whittaker get revenge? We’re taking a closer look at that bout and two other big ones from Saturday’s card.
Robert Whittaker vs Israel Adesanya
Odds: Adesanya -270
UFC 243 was the coronation of Adesanya. Less than two years into his UFC career, he knocked out Whittaker and cemented himself as the Middleweight Champion. Whittaker fought valiantly but Adesanya was a marksman in that bout – as he almost always is – and picked his spots to perfection. The question now is what can Whittaker do to make amends?
Whittaker might still be in his prime as he’s just 31 years old and has rebounded with three straight wins to get back on track. The loss to Adesanya is his only one in his last 13 fights. However, it does feel like Izzy is a cut above. Whittaker will probably hang tough but he’s not on the same level.
Pick: Adesanya -270
Derrick Brunson vs Jared Cannonier
Odds: Cannonier -155
The top of the Middleweight Division will be on full display at UFC 271. While Whittaker and Adesanya are the No. 1 and No. 2 fighters in the Middleweight Division, Cannonier and Brunson are No. 3 and No. 4. The winner of this fight could possibly be looking at a shot at the title. Brunson lost to Adesanya at UFC 230 but has since won five in a row. As for Cannonier, he lost to Whittaker at UFC 254 but has since picked up a win by edging Kelvin Gastelum in his last time out.
This matchup is a battle of styles as Brunson will look to take this to the ground while Cannonier will look to keep it standing. That means betting some props like Cannonier via knockout (+125) or Brunson via decision could make a lot of sense. Four of Cannonier’s last five wins were via knockout, so that looks like a good value play here.
Derrick Lewis vs Tai Tuivasa
Odds: Lewis -180
Speaking of knockouts, it’s hard to imagine this fight ending in anything but a KO. Lewis, the Black Beast, is No. 3 in the heavyweight rankings and has won 21 of his 26 fights by knockout. As for Tuivasa, he has 13 wins in his UFC career and 12 were via knockout. For Tuivasa, none of his last five fights have made it out of the second round while seven of Lewis’ last 10 bouts have ended before the judges got a chance to score it.
Lewis tends to thrive as long as he’s not taken to the ground and Tuivasa is not one to take it there. Look for Lewis to come away with the win.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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