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5 last-minute predictions for UFC 259

Jan Blachowicz (top left); Amanda Nunes (bottom left); Israel Adesanya (right)
Jan Blachowicz (top left); Amanda Nunes (bottom left); Israel Adesanya (right)
Johny Payne
ANALYST
Modified 06 Mar 2021
Feature

UFC 259 is undoubtedly one of the most stacked combat sports events of the 2021 calendar year. The UFC 259 fight card will feature not one, not two, but three amazing UFC title fights.

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is set to take on UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz for the latter’s title in the headlining bout of UFC 259. Meanwhile, the UFC 259 co-headlining bout will see UFC women’s featherweight and bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes put her featherweight title on the line against Megan Anderson.

On the other hand, the third title fight at UFC 259 will witness reigning UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan defend his title against challenger Aljamain Sterling. Additionally, several other exciting fights are set to transpire in the rest of the UFC 259 fight card. On that note, let us briefly examine some of the most notable matchups at UFC 259.


#5 UFC 259: Thiago Santos vs Aleksandar Rakic (Light Heavyweight)

This clash between two highly skilled UFC light heavyweight contenders is sure to produce fireworks. Thiago Santos is one of the most excellent finishers in MMA today and is well known for his terrifying KO power.

However, Thiago Santos’ opponent, Aleksandar Rakic, is a dangerous finisher in his own right, but he tends to take a more cautious approach to his fights. Fans can expect this fight to be either an early KO/TKO win for Thiago Santos or a dominant three-round decision win for Aleksandar Rakic.

If Santos can keep the fight on the feet, he’s likely to get the better of Aleksandar Rakic. However, Rakic seems likely to mix up his striking and grappling and outwork Santos en route to a decision win.

Winner – Aleksandar Rakic via unanimous decision.

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#4 UFC 259: Islam Makhachev vs Drew Dober (Lightweight)

Only time will tell whether or not Islam Makhachev is the next Khabib Nurmagomedov. But for the time being (no pun intended), the belief is that Makhachev is yet to break through into the upper echelons of the UFC lightweight division.

In simple terms, Makhachev still has a long way to go before he catches up with his legendary training partner and friend, Khabib Nurmagomedov. The UFC 259 matchup against Drew Dober is Makhachev’s moment to shine, though.

Dober is a great stylistic matchup for Islam Makhachev, who’s most definitely planning on utilising his wrestling to take this fight to the mat at the earliest. Expect Islam Makhachev to dominate this fight with takedowns and top control, earning a one-sided win across the judges’ scorecards.

Winner – Islam Makhachev via unanimous decision.

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#3 UFC 259: Petr Yan (c) vs Aljamain Sterling (UFC Bantamweight Championship)

Defending UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan is one of the best pressure fighters in MMA today. And when that octagon door slams shut at UFC 259, Yan would look to once again remind the world of the suffocating aggression he uses to break his foes.

However, that would be easier said than done against someone as brilliant as Aljamain Sterling. It’s rare for a fighter to make improvements in leaps and bounds the way Sterling has.

The Funk Master has improved his striking defence and has much better footwork than he did a few years back. That, coupled with his outstanding wrestling skills, could help Sterling keep Yan against the fence and score takedowns to outpoint his Russian foe and earn a decision win.

All things considered, Petr Yan is still a KO threat over the course of five rounds. Furthermore, Yan seems to have been working on his grappling, his takedown defence in particular, as of late. Although it’s entirely possible that Sterling could win this one on the judges’ scorecards, Yan overwhelming him with his volume punching and unrelenting pressure seems more likelier.

Winner – Petr Yan via fifth-round KO/TKO.

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#2 UFC 259: Amanda Nunes (c) vs Megan Anderson (UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship)

Amanda Nunes is one of the best fighters in all of combat sports today. However, as the old adage goes – no one is invincible. Nunes will be giving up a height and reach advantage in her UFC 259 co-headlining matchup against Megan Anderson.

Both fighters have exceptional striking skills. Amanda Nunes has a huge advantage in the grappling sphere against Megan Anderson. This fight should go Nunes’ way if she makes it a grappling-heavy affair or mixes in a healthy dose of both striking and grappling to present a multi-faceted challenge to Anderson.

Megan Anderson’s path to victory in this one is clear. She ought to keep this fight standing, stay behind the jab, find her range and then snipe her foe with her thunderous right straight/cross.

Although Anderson knocking out Amanda Nunes and winning the UFC women’s featherweight title isn’t out of the realm of possibility, Nunes has proven to be intelligent enough to mix things up. The Lioness could use her BJJ skills to submit an exhausted Anderson late in their fight.

Winner – Amanda Nunes via fourth-round submission.

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#1 UFC 259: Jan Blachowicz (c) vs Israel Adesanya (c) (UFC Light Heavyweight Championship)

UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz puts his belt on the line against UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 259.

Both fighters possess vicious KO power. Blachowicz has more of a one-punch knockout capability than his UFC 259 opponent, whereas Adesanya is the more technical striker who relies on timing and precision to KO his foes.

Israel Adesanya’s accuracy and technique help him pick apart his opponent and eventually score a spectacular knockout. Jan Blachowicz could catch Adesanya early with his legendary Polish power, but expect The Last Stylebender to stay on his bike throughout round one.

Adesanya is likely to open up with his boxing in round two, mixing it up with leg kicks while evading Jan Blachowicz’s blitzes. The majority of this fight could see Adesanya countering Blachowicz’s blitzes throughout rounds one to three. The accumulation of strikes could then help Adesanya stun and knock Blachowicz out late in round three.

Winner – Israel Adesanya via third-round KO/TKO.

Published 06 Mar 2021, 08:14 IST
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