UFC 259 Main Card Preview

This isn’t a drill🚨 one of the best cards we have seen in recent memory. Three title fights and two other 3 round fights with some real contenders. Tune into our podcast for more in depth analysis but these plays will win you money!

THIS IS NOT A DRILL!! One of the best cards we have seen in recent memory is here! Three title fights and two other 3 round fights with some real contenders. Tune into our podcast for more in depth analysis but these plays will win you money!

Light Heavyweight: Thiago Santos (+125) vs. Aleksandar Rakic (-155)

Thiago Santos analysis: After not being able to stay on his feet in his last fight versus Glover Teixeira, Thiago Santos looks to display better takedown defense this time around. Santos is best known for his admirable effort for the light heavyweight belt vs Jon Jones where he lost via split decision. However, he completely tore his knee (ACL, MCL, PCL, and meniscus) in round 1 which proved to be a liability throughout the fight. Leading up to this fight, he had a massive win versus (main event participant and current champ) Jan Blachowicz. In this fight, he took advantage of Jan’s over aggressive strike attempt that left him falling forward and dropped him with an uppercut. If you are just looking at those 2 fights you’d be shocked to see that he’s the underdog. However, his only fight after his devastating injury was the one where he couldn’t get back on his feet vs Teixeira. He still displayed his impressive boxing ability and overall power, but he will need to have a better approach if this fight gets taken to the ground. His arsenal of powerful leg kicks and jabs is very intriguing in this fight.

Aleksandar Rakic analysis: Rakic is very big and very athletic for his size. He only has 1 loss, which was a questionable split decision loss to Oezdemir. He constantly brings pressure from the start and delivers very quick leg kicks. He tries for takedowns often and primarily goes for single leg takedowns by catching leg kicks to the body. He displayed very good wrestling versus Anthony Smith and controlled the entire fight on the ground. He has a decent amount of KO’s on his resume, but I don’t think his power is anything special. He will need to use his wrestling to win this fight.

Fight Breakdown: If Rakic is able to get early takedowns, he will be able to control this fight and continue in his career ascension. On the other hand, if Santos is able to stay on his feet and use his leg kicks to set up an uppercut, this fight won’t last long. Ultimately, I lean Santos because I see him being able to adapt after his last disappointing effort and land some huge punches.

Value Play: Santos by KO/TKO +200

Lightweight: Islam Makhachev (-370) vs. Drew Dober (+295)

Islam Makhachev analysis: Islam wins fight after fight with his elite wrestling while possessing some deceptive power with his hands. He has only been taken down a few times and is very athletic with his defense. He is very accurate with his counters and has a wide repertoire of submissions. For utilizing his wrestling so frequently, his game on his feet is not a weakness but acts as a compliment.

Drew Dober analysis: Dober has gained hype due to his powerful hands. In his last 2 fights, he has ended in round 1 and round 2 by TKO. He is very athletic and often lands heavy leg kicks. In the fights I watched, I wasn’t impressed with his ground game, and he gets taken down far too much. In his last fight vs Alexander Hernandez, even when he damaged Hernandez badly, he was still taken down a handful of times. He does have a great ability of getting up extremely fast when he is taken down, but will he be able to do this vs an experience wrestler like Makhachev?

Fight Breakdown: I see Dober’s only real shot at winning this being by knockout. If he’s able to startle Makhachev with a leg kick and land some combos, this could end quickly. However, I believe Makhachev is too good to lose this way and will be able to pick apart Dober. Dober doesn’t have enough in his toolbox to be able to handle Makhachev’s wrestling, and I think he’ll be able to submit Dober after a couple of takedowns.

Value play: Makhachev by submission +350

Bantamweight Title Fight: Aljamain Sterling (-110) vs Petr Yan (-120)

Aljamain Sterling analysis: Sterling is an elite wrestler that utilizes his length and athleticism to control fights. He uses leg kicks from a distance to create separation and stun his opponents to try and get takedowns. ‘The Funkmaster’ is very good in the clinch and isn’t afraid to control the fight from this position. His most recent fight versus legitimate contender Cory Sandhagen was one of the most impressive fights in recent memory. He got Sandhagen’s back and choked him out in less than 2 minutes. With how elite his wrestling is, he can end any fight at any moment.

Petr Yan analysis: If you’re looking at just boxing, Yan might be the best fighter in the UFC. He doesn’t possess overwhelming power, but his ability to fight from multiple stances and throw a plethora of combinations leave his opponent looking for answers. In every fight, he tries to control it with relentless pressure, however, this style leaves him taking unnecessary damage frequently. With that said, his chin is exceptional. He has very quick takedown defense, but doesn’t utilize his wrestling offensively when he doesn’t have to. I characterize his style as “slippery,” and it will be tough for Sterling to hold him in the clinch.

Fight Breakdown: This is a very interesting fight due to the differing styles. Whoever is able to impose his style consistently will win this fight. I lean Sterling because I think his length will be able to create separation and leave Yan trying to press and leave him susceptible to damage. Sterling will get some takedowns and will damage Yan enough, and with his versatile leg kicks and spinning elbows, Sterling will win this by decision.

Value play: Sterling by decision +300 and O 3.5 -130

Featherweight: Amanda Nunes (-875) vs Megan Anderson (+525)

Amanda Nunes analysis: Nunes is one of, if not, the most dominant fighter in UFC history. She has legit power and we haven’t seen a female fighter match up with her overall strength. She can beat you with her wrestling or as she prefers, just standing up and slugging it out.

Megan Anderson analysis: If you just look at her, you’ll understand why she is getting this title opportunity. She stands 6 ft tall and has massive legs that fuels her ground-and-pound ability. She does have a powerful punch, and this was displayed in her round 1 KO against Norma Dumont. However, for her size, I am not impressed with her strength, and I think she fights pretty slow. Felicia Spencer was able to man handle her, which led to a rear naked choke.

Fight Breakdown: This isn’t a fight to overthink, and this line is this skewed so heavily towards Nunes for a reason. Nunes is too fast for Anderson on her feet and too strong with her wrestling. Nunes will be able to land strikes at will, and I think she can finish Anderson early.

Value play: Nunes by KO/TKO +100

Light heavyweight: Israel Adesanya (-225) vs Jan Blachowicz (+185)

Israel Adesanya analysis: Adesanya is one of the best fighters in the UFC pound-for-pound and will look to continue building his legendary resume as he goes up in weight. In his last fight, Adesanya picked apart Paulo Costa and made the contender look like he never had entered the octagon prior. I think his fight versus Yoel Romero prepares him best for this fight due to Yoel’s insane power. In this fight, Adesanya was extremely patient and used his length to damage Yoel while maintaining a distance. His overall athleticism allows him to avoid a lot of damage and virtually never get taken down. He is the most skilled striker in the UFC and has even shown more power recently.

Jan Blachowicz analysis: You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you automatically counted out the current champ based on the odds. Blachowicz is at his best when he is able to land powerful leg kicks to the body and quickly counter it with powerful overhand rights. He did exactly this versus Dominic Reyes and shattered his nose. He is very good at switching his stance up to avoid big shots and even has a great ground game. At time however, he gets antsy and puts everything he has in shots leading him getting unbalanced. This happened versus Thiago Santos and lead to his TKO loss. He can’t do this versus Adesanya if he wants to win.

Fight breakdown: Adesanya is definitely going to get tested in this one, and Jan will land some heavy combos early. As the fight progresses, I see Adesanya’s tool box being too deep for Jan to inflict constant damage. Adesanya will use his length to land a variety of leg kicks that will eventually set up some skilled jabs. Jan would be smart to utilize his strength by wrestling, but Adesanya is too athletic to stay down. This will be a close fight, but as each bell rings Adesanya will adopt new methods to attack the champ.

Value play: Adesanya by decision +250

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