An all-star lineup helms the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view (PPV) when three undisputed champions put their titles on the line this Saturday evening (March 6, 2021) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC 259’s main event sees Israel Adesanya attempt to become the promotion’s latest “double champ” at the expense of Light Heavyweight kingpin, Jan Blachowicz, while the co-feature pits women’s G.O.A.T. Amanda Nunes against dangerous kickboxer Megan Anderson. In addition, Petr Yan puts his Bantamweight belt on the line against Aljamain Sterling in what could be 2021’s most compelling match up to date.
It’s a smorgasbord of entertainment and — if you know where to look — a money-making opportunity. Let’s dig in ...
What Went Wrong at UFC Vegas 20?
A genuinely fun bit of self-analysis is figuring out whether I overestimated a failed pick or underestimated their opponent. This time around was definitely the latter — Thiago Moises’ striking looked worlds better than normal, especially on the back foot, and Pedro Munhoz impressed with his ability to get his calf kicks working against an elite striker. Luckily, Ronnie Lawrence, Dustin Jacoby, Magomed Ankalaev and Ciryl Gane were there to ensure a small profit, though some were less entertaining than others.
UFC 259 Odds For The Under Card:
Casey Kenney (-130) vs. Dominick Cruz (+110)
Song Yadong (-155) vs. Kyler Phillips (+135)
Askar Askarov (-120) vs. Joseph Benavidez (EVEN)
Kai Kara-France (-135) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (+115)
Jordan Espinosa (-130) vs. Tim Elliott (+110)
Carlos Ulberg (-245) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (+205)
Sean Brady (-220) vs. Jake Matthews (+180)
Amanda Lemos (-230) vs. Livinha Souza (+190)
Uros Medic (-165) vs. Aalon Cruz (+145)
Mario Bautista (-240) vs. Trevin Jones (+200)
Thoughts: If they’re going to give us this many fights to choose from, we may as well make the most of it. Rogerio Bontorin, Jordan Espinosa, Carlos Ulberg and Sean Brady all look like quality investments.
Though I’m fond of Kai Kara-France, he’s had his fair share of issues with grapplers despite an extraordinary 90 percent takedown defense. Bontorin — though less pathologically aggressive than Brandon Royval — can definitely put the pressure on Kara-France and exploit his tendency to load up on haymakers. He also looked strong against another strong sprawl-and-brawler in Raulian Paiva, so he’s worth a slight underdog investment (at least).
Espinosa is quite a bit more skilled than his lackluster Octagon record would imply, and his matador striking style looks like a major headache for the lumbering Tim Elliott. Elliott will have major difficulties trying to walk down Espinosa and get his grappling going, especially since the latter boasts some solid wrestling chops on his own.
Indeed, even with his penchant for self-destruction, Espinosa’s too tempting to pass up.
There are very few active Light Heavyweights who could hang with Carlos Ulberg in a pure stand up match ... and Kennedy Nzechukwu is not among them. Without any sort of takedown threat with which to shut down Ulberg’s offense, Nzechukwu’s kickboxing in four-ounce gloves against a much more polished and powerful striker. It’s not exactly a recipe for success.
Brady has passed every UFC test thus far with flying colors, including a man in Ismail Naurdiev whom I really believed would give him issues. Impressive as Jake Matthews’ current 6-1 run is, he’s had to rely heavily on his wrestling, which doesn’t figure to be effective against a grappler like Brady. In addition, Brady is at least his equal on the feet, so I feel confident recommending a bet on him.
UFC 259 Odds For The Main Card:
Israel Adesanya (-230) vs. Jan Blachowicz (+190)
Amanda Nunes (-1050) vs. Megan Anderson (+675)
Petr Yan (-110) vs. Aljamain Sterling (-110)
Islam Makhachev (-350) vs. Drew Dober (+290)
Aleksandar Rakic (-155) vs. Thiago Santos (+135)
Thoughts: My hot take: nobody without a top-flight takedown attack is going to beat Israel Adesanya in UFC. Blachowicz is almost certainly going to give Adesanya the stand up battle he wants, and considering the Pole’s continued reliance on the sorts of punching blitzes that the counter-savvy “Stylebender” feasts on, it’ll end extremely poorly for him. I absolutely expect Adesanya to leave the Octagon with two belts around his waist come Saturday, so be sure you’re in position to benefit.
UFC 259 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Rogerio Bontorin and Sean Brady: $40 to make $85.20
- Parlay — Carlos Ulberg and Jordan Espinosa: $50 to make $74.50
- Parlay — Carlos Ulberg and Israel Adesanya: $40 to make $40.80
This is a card you just can’t afford to miss. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 259 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 259: “Blachowicz vs. Adesanya” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.