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UFC 271: Adesanya vs Whittaker II Odds, Best Bets, and Predictions
Tomorrow night (Saturday, February 12th,) we have another slate of exciting UFC fights that, on paper, should be the best card of the year so far. Not only do we have young prospects trying to make a name for themselves (like Mike Mathetha and Carlos Ulberg) but we have some of the biggest names in the UFC pushing for a shot at their respective title.
Speaking of the title, the card is headlined by a championship fight rematch between current Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya and former Middleweight champ Robert Whittaker. In the first fight between the two, Adesanya put his clinical striking on display by knocking Whittaker out in the second round.
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Now, time to get into my picks. Here are my two best bets for Saturday night’s card.
Mike Mathetha vs Jeremiah Wells
Whether you’re riding or fading my picks, you won't have to wait long for the action to start. My first best bet comes with the very first fight on the card, which sees Mike “Blood Diamond” Mathetha make his UFC debut against Jeremiah Wells, who took the fight on just three weeks' notice.
Despite the short notice, Wells is moderately favored in the fight, currently sitting at -240. I think most of this is due to the aurora of mystery that surrounds Mathetha, considering we really don’t know what he can do inside of the octagon.
Mathetha is 3-0 in MMA and trains out of City Kickboxing with Israel Adesanya. Adesanya speaks highly of Mathetha, touting him as one of the biggest prospects in the UFC right now. In just three fights, Mathetha has proven his ability to finish fights any way, shape, or form. Each of his three wins came via a different method–one submission, one TKO, and one decision.
While Jeremiah Wells does have more experience than Mathetha, it’s not much. Wells is just 1-0 in the UFC, and carries an overall record of 9-2-1. So while Wells does technically have the experience on his side, we really don’t know much about either of these fighters.
I’ll be taking Mathetha in this bout, strictly because you can get great odds in what really should be a pick ‘em fight. Also, anyone out of City Kickboxing is dangerous, so I’ll drink the prospect Kool-Aid and root for the upset.
Pick: Mike Mathetha to win (+195)
Derek Brunson vs Jarred Cannonier
Out of all the fights on this card, I think this is not only the most interesting, but it’s also the fight with the most title implications. This is a fight between two of the hottest Middleweight contenders over the last few years, as Derek Brunson and Jarred Cannonier are 9-1 in their last five fights combined.
Since he made his Middleweight debut, Jarred Cannonier has been one of the most feared fighters in the UFC. He’s 4-1 in his last 5, and has won three of those via TKO. In fact, seven of Cannonier’s 12 UFC fights have ended in a KO/TKO, and there’s no doubt he’ll be looking for the finish in his bout against Brunson. However, it much easier said than done.
In my opinion, Derek Brunson is one of the most underrated fighters in all of the UFC. He’s 14-5 inside the UFC, and all of his losses have come from future hall of farmers (Anderson Silva, Yoel Romero, Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker, and Jacare Souza). Brunson is a bit of a knockout artist in his own right, collecting 7 knockouts in the UFC (with 6 of those being within the first round). However, he’s also an impeccable wrestler, and even grabbed his most recent win via submission.
Now I don’t want it to look like I’m underdog hunting, but this fight just screams Brunson to me. If you’re feeling lucky you could throw in a method of victory (Brunson by KO +700, Brunson by Sub +1400) but I’m just going for the straight win.
Pick: Derek Brunson +140
All in all, here’s how I see the entire card playing out
Main Card (10 PM EST)
C Israel Adesanya over #1 Rober Whittaker via TKO/KO, RD 3
#11 Tai Tuivasa over #3 Derrick Lewis via TKO/KO, RD 1
#4 Derek Brunson over #3 Jared Cannonier via DEC
Kyler Phillips over Marcelo Rojo via DEC
Nasrat Haqparast over Bobby Green via DEC
Prelims (8 PM EST)
Jared Vanderaa over Andrei Arlovski via DEC
Casey O’Neill over Roxanne Modafferi via TKO/KO, RD 2
William Knight over Maxim Grishin via TKO/KO, RD 1
Early Prelims (6 PM EST)
Ronnie Lawrence over Mana Martinez via DEC
Renato Moicano over Alexander Hernandez via DEC
Carlos Ulberg over Fabio Cherant via TKO/KO, RD 1
AJ Dobson over Jacob Malkoun via SUB, RD 2
Sergey Morozov over Douglas Silva de Andrade via DEC
Mike Mathetha over Jerimiah Wells via TKO/KO RD 1