UFC 259 – Blachowicz vs. Adesanya - Preview
Rogerio Bontorin vs. Kai Kara-France: The prelims of this stacked card begin in the flyweight division with two promising up-and-comers that hold impressive records. Bontorin is a submission specialist, holding a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, with 11 of his 15 wins coming by submission and will look to fight with Kai Kara-France on the floor. Kara-France will need to need to keep to his game plan and use his superior striking skillset and frustrate Bontorin and keep the fight on the feet. Kara-France has shown his ability to go the distance and grind out decision wins although he will not be wanting the fight to go that far.
My Prediction: Kara-France by DEC
Joseph Benavidez vs. Askar Askarov: The #2 and #3 ranked flyweights are up next in a bout that is very much ‘old vs new’ with the veteran Benavidez looking to bounce back from back-to-back defeats against the current champion Deiveson Figueiredo. The undefeated Askar Askarov will be looking to continue his impressive run in the UFC with what would be his biggest win to date. Benavidez is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC who is comfortable on his feet and on the ground. With both fighters having very good ground game I expect a very heavy striking affair which will make for a very entertaining spectacle. I think that Benavidez will inflict Askarov’s first defeat as I don’t think he will be able to play to his strengths on the floor and Benavidez will have too much for him.
My prediction: Benavidez by DEC
Song Yadong vs. Kyler Phillips: A bout between two young, very promising bantamweights is up next. Song Yadong will be looking to extend his undefeated UFC run since his debut in 2017 with wins against notable opponents such as Marlon Vera and Alejandro Perez. Another well-rounded fighter, I expect Yadong to play to against Phillips’ strengths and look for an early takedown and dominate the fight on the floor. Phillips will need to use his 5-inch reach advantage to keep Yadong at distance to stuff the takedowns. If Phillips can frustrate Yadong and keep the fight standing up he will have a much better chance of getting his third UFC win here.
My prediction: Yadong by DEC
Dominick Cruz vs. Casey Kenney: The feature prelim sees the former two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz faceoff against the impressive newcomer Casey Kenney. Cruz will go into this fight with a point to prove having lost his previous two fights, both of which were for the bantamweight belt and he will be wanting to show that he is still a top contender in this division. Casey Kenney will be looking to add the biggest win of his career which will put him into the top 15 of the division. Cruz will need to back Kenney up to the cage and use his grappling to land his strikes. I can see this fight being very back and forth, but I still think Cruz will have too much and he will show in this fight that he is still a top bantamweight.
My prediction: Cruz by DEC
Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakic: The first fight on the main card showcases the #2 and #4 ranked light heavyweights in the UFC. This is a fight that looks to be a very striking heavy affair and therefore one that will be very entertaining. Thiago Santos will be wanting to get back to the number one contender spot after suffering two consecutive defeats, albeit losing only by split decision to Jon Jones. With an impressive 13-2 record, Rakic will be looking to continue his climb into the top of the rankings and look to set up a fight for the #1 contender spot with a win over Santos. Both of these fighters have over 70% KO/TKO win rate so I do not expect this to go the distance and I would even go as far to say I think it will be over in the first round. In a division that will be largely affected by what happens in the main event of this card both fighters will be looking to make a statement and show why they should be next in line to challenge for the belt.
My prediction: Santos by KO
Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober: Another difficult fight to call between two very well-rounded fighters. Islam Makhachev brings a very impressive 18-1 record into this fight and will look to continue his impressive run in the lightweight division. Makhachev trains with Khabib and is has a very similar style in that he will dominate his opponents on the ground and if he can’t find a submission finish he will continue to dominate for the full 3 rounds. Drew Dober has shown impressive knockout power in his last 3 fights, with 2 of these being over in the first round. If he starts quickly and lands an early power shot then he can finish the fight. If he loads up on his punches and doesn’t connect, he will likely tire himself out which will play into Islam’s gameplan.
My prediction: Makhachev by DEC
Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling: The first of three title fights on the main card starts with Petr Yan making his first title defence against the #1 contender, Aljamain Sterling. Yan is going to need to be aggressive in this fight and push Sterling forward, if he manages to keep his back off the fence then he will be confident that he can land the bigger shots and do more damage than he will receive. Sterling, on the other hand, will need to use his superior wrestling to close the distance on Yan and try to back him up against the cage. Sterling will look to do damage in the clinch and then go for takedowns to dominate the fight. If Yan can stuff these takedowns early he will grow in confidence as Sterling tires.
My prediction: Sterling by SUB
Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson: The second title fight of the night and co-main event features arguably the greatest female combat athlete of all time, Amanda Nunes, making her second defence of the woman’s featherweight title. Megan Anderson will be looking to end Nunes’ 11-fight win streak with what would be one of the biggest upsets in the UFC. Anderson poses a threat that Nunes has rarely faced in a fighter that is 4-inches taller and also weighs in at the weight limit. Anderson is going to have to be brave and take the fight to Nunes and force her backwards instead of letting her come forward, Nunes will be looking for a finish which is very difficult to do fighting backwards. I still expect Nunes to win as I believe she is levels above any other female mixed martial artist but Anderson does have the tools to be able to cause a problem which is why I think it will be a more even fight than the bookies are predicting.
My prediction: Nunes by DEC
Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya: The main event of the card sees Israel Adesanya make the jump up to light heavyweight where he will be looking to become fifth fighter in UFC history to hold the championship in two weight classes simultaneously. In order to do this he will need to overcome the Polish Powerhouse Jan Blachowicz who is making his first defence of the light heavyweight title. All it will take for Blachowicz to win is to land one clean punch and I can see him keeping his belt. Adesanya is going to need to use his speed and precision to continuously punch and move so he is evading the power counter shots of Blachowicz. If Adesanya can get through the first 3 rounds without taking too much damage he can use the 4th and 5th rounds to show his quality and I think that is where the fight will favour Adesanya. I expect that Adesanya will make history and win the light heavyweight belt here as his skillset will be too much.
My prediction: Adesanya by DEC
Written by Luke Penny