Saturday, May 21, 2022

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya Staff Predictions

This Saturday at UFC 259, middleweight champ Israel Adesanya will look to join the double-champion club when he challenges Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight championship in the main event. There will be two other title fights on this stacked card. Amanda Nunes will defend her featherweight championship against Megan Anderson in the co-main event, and the long-anticipated bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling will also go down. 

The other two bouts on the main card also features top-tier talent, with former title challenger Thiago Santos fighting Aleksandar Rakić to kick off the main card followed by Islam Makhachev looking to make it seven consecutive wins when he faces Drew Dober.

UFC 259 Blachowicz vs Adesanya Main PPV Card

Here is a look at the main fight card for Saturday’s PPV from UFC APEX Las Vegas:

  • UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya
  • UFC Featherweight Champion Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson
  • UFC Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling
  • Drew Dober vs. Islam Makhachev
  • Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakić

UFC 259 Blachowicz vs Adesanya Predictions

MMA News is the place to be for all the latest UFC 259 updates. Myself, Ed Carbajal, and Andrew Ravens have provided predictions for the card, which you can find below.

Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakić
Aleksandar Rakic, Thiago Santos

Clyde Aidoo: If you want to wager on a fight to have a performance bonus, this is the one you want to go with. If you want a fight to wager on the outcome, stay far, far away from this one. These are two heavy hitters who will no doubt bring the heat during this light heavyweight battle. Thiago Santos is more than just a KO artist or an unsung highlight reel star. He is a legitimate championship-level fighter. As such, he is capable of beating anyone, not just with a KO but throughout the course of three rounds. 

But the Aleksandar that we last saw in August of 2020 is a guy that I just cannot pick against, maybe against anyone at light heavyweight. Thiago Santos has two surgically repaired legs, and the leg kicks Rakic unleashed on Anthony Smith in his last fight could send Santos right back to the operating table. Rakic’s leg-kick game is excruciating for anyone, let alone for someone who admitted to being anxious and nervous in his last fight after having surgery on his knees. Plus, Rakic is younger than Santos by eight years, and I think his momentum and confidence level are both higher than Santos coming into this fight. So all things considered, Rakic has a bit more reasons to side with in what is arguably a coin-flip of a fight. (Prediction: Rakic)

Andrew Ravens: Santos has dropped his last two, granted it was to Jon Jones and Glover Teixeria, while Rakić is fresh off a win after having his undefeated streak broken. This is likely one of, if not the second hardest fight to pick, but I have Santos getting a win to prevent him from going on a three-fight losing streak. It will be a conserved performance to get the decision win. (Prediction: Santos)

Ed Carbazel: Santos was a wrecking ball before having to take time off due to injury to both legs. So, the loss he suffered in his return might just be part of the process. That might be motivation to get back to his old self against Rakic. However, Rakic’s win over Anthony Smith is likely a tide he wants to keep riding. The first round will say a lot about both men, but it’s hard not to pick Rakic here. (Prediction: Rakić)

Consensus: 2-1 Aleksandar Rakic

Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober

Islam Makhachev, Drew Dober
Islam Makhachev, Drew Dober

Clyde Aidoo: I think even Drew Dober with all of his improvements is still, on his best day, strides behind Makhachev. Makhachev slipped on the banana peel in his second UFC fight six years ago, but has been impenetrable ever since. It’s going to take either a very special talent or a pronounced KO artist to make him lose anytime soon in my opinion. With all due respect to Dober, I don’t think he’s special enough or dangerous enough to knock off a fighter the caliber of Islam Makhachev (Prediction: Makhachev)

Andrew Ravens: An interesting fight with Dober being on a three-fight winning streak while Islam looks to be an elite fighter of the future with an overall 18-1 record. On paper, the guys that Dober has beaten is more impressive, but I think his winning ways end here thanks to a decision victory for Islam. (Prediction: Makhachev)

Ed Carbazel: This is an interesting match with two fighters that have been collecting victories in the UFC. One, a very mean grappler in Makhachev that brings that Dagestani pedigree of exhaustive grappling into the UFC. The other, a heavy handed Dober that knocked out his last three opponents. Makhachev could drag Dober for three rounds, but his one loss was by knockout. Dober might have more than a puncher’s chance. (Prediction: Dober)

Consensus: 2-1 Makhachev

Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling

Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan
Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan

Clyde Aidoo: This is my most anticipated fight on the card. It’s a highly competitive fight stylistically, and the odds reflect that. Petr Yan is primarily a boxer. And though he is a very, very talented boxer who has shown an ability to throw powerful kicks as well, I do not think he has quite enough a variety of strikes to answer for Sterling’s funky style, superior fight IQ, and experience advantage, all of which Sterling has to fall back on if Yan is able to stifle Sterling’s grappling. In a close fight like this, it’s logical to side with the fighter who has more to fall back on. I believe that to be Sterling here. (Prediction: Sterling)

Andrew Ravens: Some thought the Jose Aldo fight was the true test for Yan, but I didn’t see that then nor now. Sterling is the fighter that will either crush Yan or prove that he is the future of the division. Of course, Cory Sandhagen, who lost to Sterling recently, is also that fighter, but that’s down the road. I see it being a pick-em, but due to the pure dominance that Yan has performed in the past, I have him retaining by decision. (Prediction: Yan)

Ed Carbazel: If ever there were a match that was long overdue this one is it. Sterling, as the challenger, has been waiting for this title shot for a long time, and Yan won only recently won the vacant title, so he has to show championship proof by defending the belt. He will have his hands full with Sterling, who not only has a black belt under Matt Serra but has proven he can take the fight into the later rounds to earn a win. (Prediction: Sterling)

Consensus: 2-1 Aljamain Sterling

Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson

Amanda Nunes, Megan Anderson
Amanda Nunes, Megan Anderson

Clyde Aidoo: OK, so here’s the thing, guys, I actually want to pick Megan Anderson to win this fight. Yes, I said it. I think that she has what it takes to out-alpha Nunes plus I think she has more recent experience in this weight class, and I believe she will enter the cage fearlessly, full of confidence, and with an ability to pose a very, very dangerous threat to Nunes.

So then why am I not picking her? Well, it’s not out of fear of being wrong or sounding like a lunatic. It’s simple, really. I cannot in good conscience predict that someone who could not stop Holly Holm from outgrappling her will be able to stop Nunes from outgrappling her. I’m sure Anderson has been putting in a lot of work in her grappling defense, which is part of the reason my gut says Anderson. But my mind just reminds me that sometimes MMA math is quite logical. If Fighter A was outgrappled by Holly Holm, I have to think the equation will be the same when Fighter A faces Nunes….that is, of course, if Nunes doesn’t just knock her out instead. (Prediction: Nunes)

Andrew Ravens: With all due respect to Anderson, I find it hard to believe that anyone is giving her a real chance to win. Sure, she has a chance, but it’s small. I see this playing out like the Felicia Spencer fight for Nunes, which was also at featherweight, where Nunes can’t put away the bigger fighter, but also wins in dominating fashion. Nunes retains by decision. (Prediction: Nunes)

Ed Carbazel: It will be hard to tell until they face off, but it seems like Anderson might be able to use her superior reach to her advantage. She is a former champion herself coming from Invicta FC, so she is no stranger to championship pressure. Still, Nunes has proven to be a force in two weight classes, and if she can counter Anderson’s reach, this fight is hers to win. (Prediction: Nunes)

Consensus: 3-0 Amanda Nunes

Israel Adesanya vs. Jan Blachowicz

Jan Blachowicz, Israel Adesanya
Blachowicz and Adesanya

Clyde Aidoo: Blachowicz is becoming one of the premiere “prove-wrongers” in the sport. But none of the opponents he has proven doubters wrong against have been an undefeated, 20-0 superstar who is getting better and better each fight out. Adesanya has the speed advantage and the technique advantage on the feet, which is where this fight is most likely to play out.

From what we’ve seen thus far, Adesanya’s takedown defense is very strong, and from the limited time we’ve seen him on the ground, he seems competent enough to at the very least survive if not pose a hidden danger for Blachowicz. Blachowicz has paths to victory, no doubt: outmuscle Adesanya in grappling or knock him out. But I see this fight dragging on and Adesanya picking him apart in a drawn-out fight before possibly getting the finish in the championship rounds. (Prediction: Adesanya)

Andrew Ravens:  A superfight! Yes, this is the true definition of one in the fight game. Some might take Jan here because he’s the bigger of the two fighters. And while yes Izzy will weigh less, he’s a tall rangy fighter who will have a reach advantage, which is just like his style at middleweight. He has to watch out for the power that Jan brings, but I side with the middleweight champion to go up and take the light heavyweight title here by decision. Let the trilogy begin. (Prediction: Adesanya)

Ed Carbazel: This fight is harder to call than it seems. One because this is Adesanya’s move up in weight and two, Blachowicz as the new champion is likely not willing to let his title go easily. The argument for the weight class favoring Blachowicz is sound, but Adesanya’s skills as a stiker might be more sound. It could be a coin toss on fight night, but it is hard to pick against “The Style Bender.” (Prediction: Adesanya)

Consensus: 3-0 Israel Adesanya

That’ll do it for the UFC 259 predictions. Do you agree with the MMA News staffers? Who do you think will emerge victorious on the main card? Give us your predictions in the comments below and be sure to stick with us for live coverage of UFC 259! from UFC Apex Las Vegas!

UFC 259 Undercard

  • Dominick Cruz vs. Casey Kenney
  • Song Yadong vs. Kyler Phillips
  • Joseph Benavidez vs. Askar Askarov
  • Livinha Souza vs. Amanda Lemos
  • Sean Brady vs. Jake Matthews
  • Tim Elliott vs. Jordan Espinosa
  • Kai Kara France vs. Rogerio Bontorin
  • Carlos Ulberg vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu
  • Uros Medic vs. Aalon Cruz
  • Mario Bautista vs Trevin Jones
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