The UFC is back for the first of four consecutive events at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
UFC 259 kicks off Saturday, March 6, with the early prelims starting at 3 p.m. PT.
The main card starts at 7 p.m. PT, and it is easily the most loaded card of 2021. Three separate title fights are taking place, including the main event, which pits two current champions.
Let’s break down the three title fights and offer a prediction on a winner.
Peter Yan (15-1-0) vs. Aljamain Sterling (19-3-0)
We have a classic battle of skills here. Yan, a knockout striker and excellent takedown defender versus Sterling, a phenomenal wrestler and kick-heavy attacker.
The conflicting styles make it a tougher matchup for Yan to defend his title, but it has the qualities of a well-rounded fight. Oddsmakers agree, as the fighters both have -110 odds at most books.
Sterling’s likeliest path to victory lies on the ground. He is a high-level wrestler, and Yan’s only professional loss came against a similar type of fighter. Despite that, Yan boasts an 88% takedown defense rate, which showcases his overall growth as a fighter over the past few years.
I think Sterling is legit, his current five-fight win streak backs that up, but I like Yan to defend his title. The Russian’s takedown defense mitigates what Sterling is best at.
If Yan can keep this fight mainly off the mat, his boxing prowess should overwhelm “Funk Master.” I am siding with the more-polished striker at UFC 259.
Prediction: Yan to win within the distance.
Amanda Nunes (20-4-0) vs. Megan Anderson (11-4-0)
I will be concise here: I do not think Megan Anderson has much of a chance in this one. Nunes is so far above every other fighter in the featherweight division.
Is there a chance Anderson pulls off a miraculous upset? Of course, but the chances are about the same as me getting a date with Ariana Grande.
Being at a height disadvantage means nothing to Nunes. If anything, Anderson’s taller frame makes her more vulnerable to Nunes’ takedowns. This one should end relatively quick.
Prediction: Nunes by KO, TKO or DQ in Round 2.
Jan Blachowicz (27-8-0) vs. Israel Adesanya (20-0-0)
MMA fans are getting spoiled with this one.
Blachowicz enters this fight on the heels of four consecutive victories. He dominated Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 to claim the light heavyweight championship, so this will be his first title defense.
As for Adesanya, the current middleweight champion moved up a class to take this fight. He successfully defended his middleweight title twice in 2020 and is now looking to hold two belts simultaneously.
From a stylistic standpoint, Blachowicz holds an edge in terms of pure power and size. This is his weight class, after all.
The biggest discrepancy is in the athletic department, however. Adesanya holds significant edges in speed, technical striking and footwork. It will be interesting to see if “The Last Style Bender” can pick apart Blachowicz from a distance.
Like any fight, a well-timed punch can change a lot of things. Blachowicz possesses serious power and an above-average ground game. Despite that, I do not believe he has enough athleticism or technical skill to defeat Adesanya.
I think the Nigerian fighter will dissect Blachowicz over time with a multitude of kicks and shots to the body. Eventually, the sheer amount of blows will take their toll.
Prediction: Adesanya by KO, TKO or DQ in Round 4.