The UFC’s middleweight title is on the line Saturday night from Las Vegas as champion Israel Adesanya brings an unbeaten record into the Octagon against Cuban challenger Yoel Romero at UFC 248. Here’s a look at the two title fights on the card overall and Mybookie MMA odds for the UFC 248.
UFC 248: Adesanya vs. Romero
- When: Saturday, 10 PM ET (main card)
- Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
- TV/stream: Pay-per-view ESPN+
- UFC 248 Opening Odds: Yoel Romero +230 / Israel Adesanya -290 / Total Rounds 3.5
Israel Adesanya (18-0) vs. Yoel Romero (13-4)
The champion Adesanya is a -280 favorite for this middleweight title fight and Romero is +230. Adesanya, who has only been in the UFC a bit more than two years, won the interim middleweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 in April 2019 and then the undisputed title with a very impressive second-round knockout of champion Robert Whittaker in October 2019.
Adesanya finished Whittaker with a right hook-left hook combination at 3 minutes, 33 seconds of the second round in Melbourne, Australia. Whittaker blitzed in with punches, Adesanya evaded and then landed two quick hooks in succession. Whittaker hit the ground, and Adesanya followed with punches on the ground to make it academic. Adesanya also dropped Whittaker right at the first-round bell.
“He threw everything we expected,” Adesanya said. “We had everything planned for plan A to Z. It’s unreal. They said I have no knockout power.”
Adesanya is one of 13 fighters in UFC history to win an undisputed title with an undefeated record. He is one of 11 undisputed middleweight champions in UFC history. Adesanya’s 18-fight winning streak is third longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (28) and Weili Zhang (20). Adesanya’s 10 knockdowns landed in UFC middleweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history
In kickboxing, Adesanya is a former King in the Ring two-time cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, which is the most titles in King in the Ring history.
Romero is a 42-year-old from Cuba who now lives in Miami. As a freestyle wrestler, Romero is a former world gold medalist and an Olympic silver medalist for Team Cuba in the 2000 Olympics. He won six world and Olympic medals in total.
This is probably the last title shot for Romero due to his age and the fact he has lost three of his past four. He took on Paulo Costa – likely Adesanya’s next foe with a win – in August 2019 and lost by unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 29-28 in favor of Costa. Romero’s bout against Costa does show a path to victory for Adesanya. Costa showed no fear and constantly brought the offense to Romero, and while Costa got hit a bunch of times in wild exchanges it also clearly made Romero uncomfortable.
Romero’s 10 knockdowns landed in UFC middleweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Anderson Silva (13) and Nate Marquardt (12). Romero’s seven knockout victories in UFC middleweight competition are also tied for third most in divisional history.
Zhang Weili (20-1) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-3)
The champion Weili is a -190 favorite for this women’s strawweight title fight with Jedrzejczyk at +160. Weili is the first-ever UFC champion from China, which of course is where the coronavirus originated and is spreading like wildfire. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Weili was forced to abruptly move her training camp, traveling to Abu Dhabi and Thailand before finally arriving in the United States. Weili said her preparation wasn’t hindered during her time in China.
Weili won the title with a first-round KO of Jessica Andrade in August 2019 in China. Weili was a +145 underdog, but from the beginning she was prepared for Andrade’s blitz. Weili hurt her with a counter right hand, and then engaged the powerful Andrade in a clinch and did damage with knees to the midsection. As Andrade retreated from a well-placed knee, Weili landed a lunging right hand that put the Brazilian down.
Weili’s 20-fight winning streak is the second longest among all fighters on the UFC roster behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (28). She hasn’t suffered a defeat since her MMA debut in November 2013.
Jedrzejczyk was a long-time strawweight champion who lost the belt with back-to-back defeats to Rose Namajunas. Carla Esparza was the first strawweight champion for the UFC, but Jedrzejczyk demolished her shortly thereafter and continued on to a dominant reign.
Jedrzejczyk’s six victories in UFC title fights are tied with Ronda Rousey for second most of any female in company history behind Amanda Nunes (seven). Jedrzejczyk has earned 11 of her 16 career victories by decision. That includes seven of her 10 UFC wins.
UFC 248 Expert Picks
Adesanya by KO/TKO and Jedrzejczyk by decision.
UFC 248 Full Card
Early Prelims (Airing on ESPN+, starting at 6:15 p.m. ET)
- Emily Whitmire vs Polyana Viana
- Douglas Silva De Andrade vs Movsar Evloev
- Danaa Batgerel vs Guido Cannetti
Prelims (Airing on ESPN, starting at 8 p.m. ET)
- Sean O’Malley vs Jose Quinonez
- Mark Madsen vs Austin Hubbard
- Rodolfo Vieira vs Saparbeg Safarov
- Gerald Meerschaert vs Deron Winn
Main Card (Airing on ESPN+, starting at 10 p.m. ET)
- Israel Adesanya vs Yoel Romero
- Weili Zhang vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
- Beneil Dariush vs Drakkar Klose
- Neil Magny vs Li Jingliang
- Alex Oliveira vs Max Griffin