UFC 259 Odds: Picks & Predictions for three title fights
The UFC holds returns with not one, not two but three title fights this Saturday and BetRivers.com is proud to provide a wide variety of UFC 259 odds, props, and specials for the biggest night of fights in 2021.
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Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya looks to become a two-division champion as he faces light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz in the main event. Speaking of two-division champs, Amanda Nunes defends her women’s featherweight title against Megan Anderson. In the third title fight, Petr Yan makes his first bantamweight title defense as he faces mercurial superstar Aljamain Sterling.
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Boosted Bets: UFC 259 Special
- Adesanya, Yan and Nunes all win. Was +195. NOW +225.
UFC 259 Odds: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya
In the main event of the evening, Jan Blachowicz (27-8, +187 ML) defends his UFC light heavyweight title for the very first time when he faces UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (20-0, -235 ML). Adesanya’s middleweight title will not be on the line in the main event as the fight will be contested at the light heavyweight limit of 205 pounds. If Adesanya is victorious, he will become just the eighth fighter in UFC history to win titles in multiple divisions, and the fifth fighter to hold championships in multiple divisions at the same time.
This is a wildly intriguing matchup because of the sizes and styles and odds. Adesanya, the undefeated middleweight champ, is a solid favorite at -230 ML according to the latest UFC 259 odds, which is surprising given how dominant Blachowicz has been and how much more physical strength he has compared to Adesanya. The public is backing “The Last Stylebender” with 80% of the total fight handle and 71% of total fight bets
But Adesanya will enter the fight with a two-inch height advantage and a two-inch reach advantage. “The Last Stylebender” is one of the three best fighters on the planet right now, and has faced opponents with similar physiques and heavy hands as Blachowicz. Adesanya decimated the hulking Paulo Costa via a second-round TKO, in September and holds wins over the physically impressive Yoel Romero and Kelvin Gastelum.
His wins over Romero and Gastelum are notable here because while not as tall as Blachowicz, both are as physically imposing as Blachowicz, and pushed Adesanya to his limit, going a full 25 minutes. While Adesanya is undefeated inside The Octagon, he is not untouchable. A decorated kickboxer with 75 professional wins, Adesanya suffered a KO in his final bout, a third-round loss to Alex Pereira in 2017. The reason this is notable because Pereira spent much of his career fighting a weight class above Adesanya, and has a similar build to his UFC 259 opponent. Blachowicz isn’t an elite kickboxer, but his size and strength is the ultimate key to victory.
Blachowicz is an interesting fighter because he went 1-4 in his first five UFC fights before winning eight of his next nine He’s won three of his last four fights via KO or TKO, and while his list of opponents isn’t as elite as Adesanya’s, it’s nothing to scoff at. Blachowicz knocked out former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, and hold wins over Dominick Reyes, Corey Anderson, and former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
This fight comes down to whether or not you think Blachowicz’s size and strength will be a difference-maker. But that’s not to say size always wins. Former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who many compare Adesanya to, dismantled former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin in a 2009 bout in which Silva danced circles around the larger Griffin and outclassed him en route to a magnificent first-round KO win.
I tend to believe this fight will go the distance, with Adesanya winning the light heavyweight championship. But I’m not terribly confident and think Blachowicz could clip Adesanya with a right hook. So as always, it’s important to have options.
There are several ways you could go in betting on the main event. These are the plus-money bets that pique my interest: Adesanya by Finish (+110), Fight to Go the Distance (+150), Blachowicz ML (+185), Adesanya by Decision (+240), and Blachowicz by KO/TKO/DQ (+450).
UFC 259 Odds: Nunes vs. Anderson
Hyperbole tends to run rampant in combat sports. But make no mistake about it: Amanda Nunes (20-4, -1000 ML) is the greatest and most dominant female fighter on the planet, and is the greatest, and most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport. But surprisingly enough, the public is currently backing “The Lioness” with just 70% of the total fight handle and 68% of the total fight bets.
Wagering money on Nunes -1000 ML to beat Megan Anderson (11-4, +650 ML) won’t net you a big win, but it will net you a win. Amanda Nunes is one of the rare fighters that you should bet on no matter the odds. Simply put, she is that much better than the rest of her competition.
The beautiful thing about MMA is that anything can happen. But to put things in perspective, a victory for Anderson over Nunes would go down as the biggest upset in UFC history. It would be a bigger shock than Matt Serra beating Georges St. Pierre, Chris Weidman beating Anderson Silva and Gabriel Gonzaga beating Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. The hyperbole is real.
The only real question to discuss is how this fight will finish? Of Nunes’ eight consecutive championship fights, only three have gone to a decision. But both of Nunes’ previous fights went the full 25 minutes. Anderson has never been knocked out in 15 professional fights, but she has never faced someone like Nunes.
If Nunes -1000 is simply too rich for your blood, consider these alternatives: Nunes by KO/TKO/DQ (+100), Fight to Go the Distance (+325), Nunes by Decision (+400).
UFC 249 Odds: Yan vs. Sterling
The third title fight of UFC 259 is a scintillating matchup between arguably the two most dynamic bantamweight fighters on the planet. Petr Yan (15-1, -115 ML) earned a shot at the vacant bantamweight title thanks to a beautiful head kick KO on MMA icon Urijah Faber, then won the belt by knocking out Jose Aldo, another icon of the sport, in July.
Of Yan’s seven UFC victories, four have come via KO or TKO. Although Yan is a finisher, he has just one first-round finish and one corner stoppage at the end of the second round. Five of his seven UFC victories have come in the third round or later. The current over/under is set at 3.5 rounds (-125/-106).
In his first title defense, Yan will face the mercurial Aljamain Sterling (19-3, -106 ML) who enters the fight having won five in a row, earning a shot by stopping Cory Sandhagen’s seven-fight win streak with a first-round submission in June. But like Blachowicz in the main event, Sterling’s UFC career has seen wild ebbs and flows.
Sterling entered the UFC in 2014 and shot to the top of the division with four straight victories. But back-to-back losses to top contenders sent Sterling back to the pack. He picked up victories over Augusto Mendes and former champ Renan Barao in 2017, but once again fell short of securing a title fight when he was knocked out by Marlon Moraes in December 2017.
When Sterling is on his game, he is as good as anyone in the division. I am a bit surprised to see the odds even at -110 ML for each fighter. It is true that Yan’s biggest wins have come against fighters no longer in their prime. Both fighters have one common opponent in Jimmie Rivera, who both fighters beat via unanimous decision in 2019. In the small divisions, I tend to lean toward the power punchers if the two fighters have comparable skill sets.
Yan is backed by 64% of the total fight handle and 53% of total fight bets to defeat Sterling
UFC 259 Odds: Picks & Predictions
Main Card Picks: Israel Adesanya, Amanda Nunes, Petr Yan, Islam Makhachev, Alexsander Rakic
Prelim Picks: Dominick Cruz, Yadong Song, Joseph Benavidez, Rogerio Bontorin
Early Prelim Picks: Tim Elliott, Kennedy Nzechukwu, Sean Brady, Amanda Lemos, Uros Medic, Mario Bautista
UFC 259 Odds: Main Card (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+, PPV)
- Israel Adesanya (20-0, -235 ML) vs. Jan Blachowicz (27-8, +187 ML)
- Amanda Nunes (20-4, -1000 ML) vs. Megan Anderson (11-4, +650 ML)
- Petr Yan (15-1, -115 ML) vs. Aljamain Sterling (19-3, -106 ML)
- Islam Makhachev (18-1, -360 ML) vs. Drew Dober (23-9, +275 ML)
- Alexsander Rakic (13-2, -157 ML) vs. Thiago Santos (21-8, +120 ML)
UFC 259 Odds: Prelims (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- Casey Kennedy (16-2-1, -137 ML) vs. Dominick Cruz (22-3, +110 ML)
- Yadong Song (16-4-1, -152 ML) vs. Kyler Phillips (8-1, +125 ML)
- Askar Askarov (12-0-1, -143 ML) vs. Joseph Benavidez (28-7, +110 ML)
- Kai Kara-France (21-9, -136 ML) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (16-2, +110 ML)
UFC 259 Odds: Early Prelims (6 p.m. ESPN+)
- Jordan Espinosa (15-8, -125 ML) vs. Tim Elliott (16-11, 1, +103 ML)
- Carlos Ulberg (3-0, -250 ML) vs Kennedy Nzechukwu (7-1, +200 ML)
- Sean Brady (13-0, -215 ML) vs. Jake Matthews (17-4, +170 ML)
- Amanda Lemos (8-1-1, -240 ML) vs. Livinha Souza (14-2, +190 ML)
- Uros Medic (6-0, -177 ML) vs. Aalon Cruz (8-3, +144 ML)
- Mario Bautista (8-1, -240 ML) vs. Trevin Jones (12-6, +190 ML)
(All odds as of Friday, 3/5/21)