UFC 259 is delivering an absolute monster of a fight card for fans Saturday night. It consists of 15(!!!) fights, only the third time in the promotion’s history with that many, three of which are title fights.Championship fights include: Yan vs Sterling for the bantamweight title, which is arguably the deepest division in the UFC. Nunes vs Anderson, which has the greatest female fighter of all time defending one of her two belts. Blachowicz vs Adesanya, which has the Middleweight champ looking to become the fifth “double champ” in UFC history taking on the Light Heavyweight belt holder. If that’s not enough for you, the prelims are loaded with both former champions and young prospects. It’s going to be an incredible event for fight fans.
Let’s take a look at the fights – I’ll give my picks for each, including odds for those I’d bet on. Follow along with my bets on Vigit — Eggy 10k. Use promo code 10K when you sign up and get 2,500 FREE Coins that can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards or a PS5!
Early Prelim Fights
Trevin Jones (+190) vs Mario Bautista (-240)Bautista is a 8-1 bantamweight with his only loss coming to top contender Cory Sandhagen. He can win on the feet or on the mat, he should have the advantage over Jones wherever the fight goes. Jones, however, isn’t one to bet against. In his last fight, which happened to be his UFC debut, he entered the fight as a longer than +400 underdog. After surviving an initial onslaught, Jones recovered and knocked his opponent out in the second round, cashing big for his backers. After the fact, the fight was overturned to a ‘No Contest’ after a positive marijuana test.
Insane that these fighters who are being locked in a cage and putting their bodies on the line are being punished for a non-performance enhancing substance. The UFC has recently agreed and as of January have all but eliminated marijuana from the Anti-Doping policy. The Diaz brothers and many other fighters must be rejoicing!
Bet: Under 2.5 +146
Uros Medic (-177) vs Aalon Cruz (+144)Medic is an undefeated prospect who is making his UFC debut, coming off of Dana White’s Contender Series. Medic is 6-0, with all of his wins coming by finish, five in the first round. Sheesh! Kid is a killer with the ability to win by KO (4) or submission (2). He takes on Aalon Cruz who is 8-3 and been finished for all three of his losses. Without any statistical evidence and purely on what I’ve seen, it seems like highly touted prospects have been losing more often than not lately when they run into guys with UFC experience. Looks like the Vegas line is taking that into consideration, but I’d lean with Medic and to do so by finish.
Bet: Medic -177
Livia Souza (+190) vs Amanda Lemos (-240)
A clash between two Brazilian women with very impressive weapons. Also the classic stylistic matchup – striker vs grappler. Souza is 14-2 with eight wins by submission. Across the octagon will be an 8-1 striker in Amanda Lemos. Five of her eight wins have come by KO and she’s finished five in the first round. The striker vs grappler matchup is always a fascinating one, who will be able to dictate where the fight takes place? Always starts on the feet, so I usually lean striker, especially when the striker is Brazilian and more than likely can hold her own if it hits the mat.
Sean Brady (-255) vs Jake Matthews (+170)Another undefeated fighter putting his 0 on the line, Sean Brady will enter the octagon with a 13-0 record. He is taking on Jake Matthews, who is a mind-blowing only 26 years old. Feels like this kid has been around forever, and that’s because he has! Matthews made his UFC debut in Junes 2014 at only 19 years old. He has an incredible amount of experience for someone his age and has fought some of the bigger names in the UFC. This is one where I can see the step up in competition for Brady being too much.
Bet: Matthews +170
Carlos Ulberg (-250) vs Kennedy Nzechukwu (+200)
Don’t blink. This one could be over in an instant. Two absolute killers that finish their fights and aren’t shy to do it early. Ulberg is a City Kickboxing teammate of Adesanya and Kai Kara France who are both on the card. Twice CKB has had a trio of teammates on a card and both times they’ve had a clean sweep. Ulberg will be looking to keep that pretty face, that almost had him on The Bachelor, intact and walk out with a win. Adesanya claims that the undefeated Ulberg will be a future UFC champion and I’ll listen to whatever he says.
Tim Elliott (-110) vs Jordan Espinosa (-110)
This fight will be chaos. Elliott is as weird, awkward, and unconventional as you’ll find in the UFC. Two guys that have both won a lot and lost a lot. Who the hell knows with this one.
Pick: Flip a coin….. Elliott.
Kai Kara France (-136) vs Rogerio Bontorin (+110)
Kara France is the second leg of the Kiwi Trifecta. He is coming off of two losses in his last three fights, but they’ve come against two of the top flyweights in the world. He’s taking on Bontorin who is 16-2 with 11 wins by submission. If Kara France can keep it on the feet, he will have a huge advantage and I think he will be able to. Bonotorin’s only opponent of value was Ray Borg, who he lost to by decision.
Bet: Kara France -136
Joseph Benavidez (+110) vs Askar Askarov (-143)
Askarov is yet another (and still not the last) undefeated fighter making the walk at UFC 259. He is taking on long time UFC veteran Benavidez who for the first time in three fights will not have a championship belt on the line. Joe B had two cracks at Figueiredo for the flyweight title, but came up short and was finished both times. He has 28 career wins, but at 36 years old finds himself in a pivotal matchup.
If Askarov wins, he launches himself into title contention and Benavidez will have sufferd three straight losses as he approaches 40 years of age. That would be a night mare scenario for him as he fights to keep his career alive. Lucky for him though, even with a loss.. he’s winning outside the octagon as he’s married to the amazing Megan Olivi, who will get more screen time than her husband as the UFC’s “sideline” reporter.
**Something to note — Askarov is the only one of the 30 fighters on the card to miss weight. A weight cutting issue could be an obstacle for him to need to overcome
Kyler Phillips (+125) vs Song Yadong (-152)
A couple of hard hitting bantamweights face off as another Chinese prospect is surging. Yadong is unbeaten in his last nine fights and Phillips holds an 8-1 record. Someone’s train is about to get derailed. I’m leaning on Yadong who is a little more battle tested and has been inside the cage with stronger competition. Someone will get a big win to help boost them inside a loaded division.
Dominick Cruz (+110) vs Casey Kenney (-137)
The former bantamweight king who has won the belt twice, with five total defenses takes another shot inside the octagon after back to back losses. Kenney, who will be across from him, is a monster. Both men combine for a 38-5 record with neither man used to losing. Kenney is 29, in his prime, and has looked great in recent fights. Cruz is 35 and is great as a commentator and has a future behind the desk and on the mic. He refuses to give up the competition and make the transition to the other side of the cage, maybe this third loss in a row will finally lock him outside for good.
Main Fight Card
Thiago Santos (+120) vs Aleksandar Rakic (-157)
If you don’t like violence, don’t watch this fight. Two massive light heavyweights that are awfully familiar with putting their opponent’s lights out. Santos has 15 of his 21 career wins via KO/TKO; similarly, Rakic has 13 of his 15 career wins by KO/TKO. Someone’s going out. On the UFC’s biggest stage, Santos fought toe to toe with the GOAT Jon Jones, who narrowly defended his belt. Despite the impressive effort, Santos tore his ACL in the fight, spent 16 months outside of the cage rehabbing and returned to lose once again. It’s been a difficult couple of years for the 37 year old. He still has the speed and power, but Rakic has all of that and more. The Austrian “Rocket” is a name being talked about as one of the next up and coming LHW contenders.
Islam Makhachev (-360) vs Drew Dober (+275)
Finally, after numerous bouts for Makhachev were called of in 2020, he makes his return to the octagon. Most famously know for being Khabib Nurmagomedov’s teammate, Makhachev has been talked about extremely highly as the next lightweight champion from Dagestan. Those that regularly work with him, including former double champ Daniel Cormier, are convinced he will launch himself into the conversation amongst the top lightweights in the world.
Drew Dober has won three in a row and is a UFC veteran, but if everything we hear about Makhachev is true, he’s really just in here as a sacrificial lamb. Luckily for him, it’s a fight and anybody locked in that cage has a puncher’s chance. Looking forward to this one.
Bet: Makhachev by finish +225; by submission +325
Bantamweight Title Fight
Petr Yan (-125) vs Aljamain Sterling (+102)
Here we go. Of all the fights on this card, this is the one with the most bad blood and animosity mixed into the story line. Both of these guys are extremely confident and neither are afraid to let their opponent know they’re coming for them.
Yan has devastating kicks and punches which have lead him to his 7-0 record inside the UFC (15-1 overall) and the title. Sterling on the other hand is looking to take this fight to the mat, drag his Russian opponent into the deep end and drown him. The atmosphere surrounding this fight is electric, maybe the fight I’m looking forward to the most on the entire card. Two incredible fighters with different styles, deciding who will be king of arguably the best division in the UFC.
Pick: So difficult…. I’m going Yan.
Women’s Featherweight Title Fight
Amanda Nunes (-1000) vs Megan Anderson (+650)
The GOAT. Amanda Nunes is unanimously the greatest female fighter of all time. A two division champ that has won 11 straight fights dating back to 2015. It’s been a struggle to find Nunes opponents due to the lack of fighters in the featherweight division and lack of fighters she hasn’t beat in general, but Megan Anderson is the next one with a shot. If there’s any advantage the Aussie has, it’s size. She has towered over Nunes in their faceoffs and will carry a significant height and reach advantage into the fight. She has been known to have some power with six wins by KO/TKO so it’s possible she can turn that reach and power combo into a massive upset.
Like I mentioned in the Dober fight, a puncher’s chance exists. You’d be crazy to predict a Nunes loss at this point, but betting-wise… the value is there.
Bet: Anderson +650
Light Heavyweight Title Fight
Jan Blachowicz (+187) vs Israel Adesanya (-235)
And Here. We. Go!
Israel Adesanya makes the move up from middleweight on his journey to become the fifth double champ in the history of the UFC. He takes on a Polish powerhouse in Jan Blachowicz who has knocked out three of his last four opponents in devastating fashion on his way to the title. The LHW belt came available when Jon Jones gave it up in his move to heavyweight, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Blachowicz was the best of those remaining in the division.
Izzy has cleared out the MW’s and looks to put his stamp on history by moving up. He weighed in at 200.5 pounds, well below the LHW limit and with the expectation that Blachowicz will add 15+ pounds before he makes the walk, Adesanya will be at a big weight “disadvantage.” Izzy doesn’t see the weight discrepancy as such, however, he will fight at what is most comfortable to him and use his speed, precision, and mental toughness to outlast the bigger fighter.
Outside of Conor McGregor, there hasn’t been anyone in the UFC better than Adesanya at talking the talk, then walking the walk. He’s one of the biggest stars in the sport and will look to add even more shine at 259. Hopefully he gets a good night sleep and doesn’t have to hit the bottle to help tonight before the fight.
If Izzy is able to use his movement, keep his distance, and stay out of range of the Polish power inside the smaller octagon, he will win the fight. The gameplan for Blachowicz has to be to get inside the clench, up against the cage, or on the mat and use his weight to tire the lighter Adesanya out or land one of his devastating blows. Will Izzy leave with two belts? Will it set up the fight with Jon Jones? Man.. I sure hope so.
Pick: Adesanya -235