UFC 248 tips: Best bets for Adesanya v Romero
Jack Green makes his predictions for the top two fights on Saturday night's card, with two titles on the line.
ISRAEL ADESANYA V YOEL ROMERO
Adesanya is becoming one of the UFC’s biggest stars.
The Nigerian won the interim middleweight title against Kelvin Gastelum in April 2019 and then became the undisputed champion by knocking out Robert Whittaker last October.
As an unorthodox striker with a 6ft 4in frame, Adesanya is one of the most exciting fighters in the world. He will likely climb into the top five of the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings by beating Romero on Saturday night.
The Cuban has been one of the promotion’s best middleweights for years, but he’s coming off back-to-back defeats to Whittaker and Paulo Costa.
Romero is a former Olympic silver medallist wrestler and has incredible power in both hands, so he’s a danger to Adesanya despite his current two-fight skid.
There has been a power shift in this division over the past year, though, and it’s hard to look past the current king on Saturday.
While Romero has lost twice to Whittaker in the past, Adesanya beat the former champ comfortably. He just seems too long and too quick for every other middleweight at present.
He’ll have to fight intelligently to avoid Romero’s big bombs, but the 42-year-old has tired in the later rounds in previous fights so things should get easier for Adesanya as the bout goes on.
Romero hasn’t been knocked out since 2011, so it’s likely that this one goes the distance and Adesanya gets the nod from the judges.
Adesanya to win by decision
WEILI ZHANG V JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK
It took just 13 months for Zhang to go from her UFC debut to challenging for the strawweight title.
After only three UFC fights, the Chinese striker stepped up to fight Jessica Andrade in Shenzen and took her opportunity, finishing the then-champion in stunning fashion after just 42 seconds.
Zhang now defends the belt for the first time against arguably the greatest strawweight ever.
Jedrzejczyk ruled the division between March 2015 and November 2017, successfully defending the title five times as part of a 14-fight winning streak.
She then lost the belt to Rose Namajunas at UFC 217, lost again in the rematch and was also beaten by Valentina Shevchenko in a flyweight title fight at UFC 231 in December 2018.
Jedrzejcyzk bounced back with a decision win over Michelle Waterson last October and has still only lost to Namajunas at strawweight. The Pole is one of the most technical fighters in the UFC and there’s a chance her experience alone will be enough to beat Zhang.
The champion looks the real deal, though. Although she’s still raw, she showed incredible speed and power in her destruction of Andrade and can clearly knock out anyone at this weight.
Jedrzejcyzk will look to pick Zhang apart from range with her accurate kickboxing but she doesn’t have the power to stop the 30-year-old from coming forward, and her first defeat to Namajunas in 2017 proved she can be caught with big shots.
After a cagey start, Zhang should begin to wear the challenger down and secure the stoppage.
Zhang to win by KO/TKO/Disqualification
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