Las Vegas, Nevada, promises violence this Saturday (March 7, 2020) when champions Israel Adesanya and Zhang Weili put their belts on the line against destructive challengers Yoel Romero and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, respectively, at UFC 248. The stacked ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) main card also sees Beneil Dariush look to halt the rise of Drakkar Klose, Li Jingliang welcome Neil Magny back to the Octagon, and Alex Oliveira face Max Griffin in a potential “Fight of the Year.”
It’s the rare UFC PPV that’s worth every cent, so let’s make sure you have enough of those.
What Went Wrong at UFC Norfolk?
The worst kinds of busts are when your picks throw winnable fights away because of one dumb mistake. It might be a bit presumptive to say Aalon Cruz was on his way to victory against Spike Carlyle, especially since he got rocked, but his inexplicable decision to shoot on a decorated grappler cost him the fight. T.J. Brown, meanwhile, was absolutely in the driver’s seat against Jordan Griffin before leaving his neck out (watch it). Ugh ...
UFC 248 Odds For The Undercard:
Sean O’Malley (-380) vs. Jose Quinonez (+315)
Mark Madsen (-210) vs. Austin Hubbard (+175)
Rodolfo Vieira (-800) vs. Saparbeg Safarov (+550)
Deron Winn (-140) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+120)
Polyana Viana (-115) vs. Emily Whitmire (-105)
Jamall Emmers (-160) vs. Giga Chikadze (+140)
Danaa Batgerel (-135) vs. Guido Cannetti (+115)
Thoughts: Last year’s late success was predicated on a willingness to throw a torrent of picks at the wall to see what stuck. I’ve been playing it conservative thus far in 2020, but let’s go a little crazy. Sean O’Malley, Gerald Meerschaert, Jamall Emmers and Danaa Batgerel, come on down.
The O’Malley pick is fairly self-explanatory. The rust is a bit worrying, but he’s got so much going in his favor that you can’t afford to pass him up. Quinonez has been dropped several times in the past, doesn’t have the wrestling to take O’Malley out of his comfort zone, and is facing three-inch disadvantages in height and reach.
In short, “Sugar” is the anchor of choice.
I can’t pick a Meerschaert fight to save my life, so don’t invest too much in him, but he’s a damn tempting underdog. He’s got hilarious edges in height and reach, better cardio, and a far better submission game than anyone Deron Winn’s dealt with in the past. While there’s every chance that Winn’s loss to Darren Stewart served as a wake-up call, Meerschaert is dangerous enough to be worth a look.
Jamall Emmers is the star of the show this week. Giga Chikadze is a lethal striker, but he’s a lethal striker with nowhere near the wrestling necessary to utilize his skills to their fullest. Both of his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) losses were byproducts of his shoddy takedown defense and he couldn’t even shut down the wrestling of Brandon Davis, who once gave up 10 takedowns in a single fight. Emmers is a more decorated wrestler than any of Chikadze’s prior foes and will thoroughly dominate him on the ground.
Guido Cannetti is an entertaining fighter who has over-performed in the past. Guido Cannetti is also 40 years old, easy to hit, and coming off a 16-month layoff. Danaa’s more than his match in the wrestling and has the striking to punish the Argentinian’s bull-rushes.
UFC 248 Odds For The Main Card:
Israel Adesanya (-275) vs. Yoel Romero (+235)
Zhang Weili (-165) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (+145)
Beneil Dariush (-165) vs. Drakkar Klose (+145)
Li Jingliang (-170) vs. Neil Magny (+150)
Alex Oliveira (-140) vs. Max Griffin (+120)
Thoughts: Hot take: Joanna Jedrzejczyk gets her belt back.
Zhang is a genuine monster at close range, but that qualifier is critical. It’s incredibly difficult to get inside on Jedrzejczyk, as shown by her masterclass against Jessica Andrade. Indeed, her losses came against fighters in Namajunas and Shevchenko who could defuse her jab attack and, in Shevchenko’s case, keep her off-balance with constant wrestling. Zhang — who faces a reach disadvantage — will almost certainly find herself at the mercy of Jedrzajczyk’s range, volume and experience in five-round fights.
UFC 248 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Sean O’Malley and Gerald Meerschaert: Bet $30 to make $53.40
- Parlay — Jamall Emmers and Danaa Batgerel: Bet $50 to make $91.50
- Parlay — Sean O’Malley and Jamall Emmers: Bet $80 to make $84
- Single bet — Joanna Jedrzejczyk: Bet $40 to make $58
UFC 248 is must-watch television from top-to-bottom. See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 248 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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