UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Jan Blachowicz (c) (27-8) vs. Israel Adesanya (20-0)
Luke Irwin: What exactly can Blachowicz do here, exactly? What are the odds that Jan Blachowicz, 38 years old, lands the killshot that finally ends the reign of Adesanya? This isn’t Corey Anderson or a beyond-shot Luke Rockhold. This is the most proficient and elusive striker the UFC has possibly ever seen. Not since Anderson Silva’s prime has the UFC seen such a baffling striker that’s like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. Izzy’s too quick, and despite moving up in weight, has the reach advantage. This is going to be Blachowicz swinging at a ghost with meaty hooks while he gets dotted up by eight limbs of the Style Bender. Adesanya via R3 TKO.
UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship: Amanda Nunes (c) (20-4) vs. Megan Anderson (11-4)
Luke: You know how I always preach about not betting on any female fighter that’s over a -400 favorite? There are two exceptions to that rule. One is Cris Cyborg, the other is Amanda Nunes. Bet away. Megan has put together a couple of wins to make her eligible, but Nunes already put the greatest female fighter of all-time, who happens to be a featherweight, on her face. Anderson isn’t going to bring anything to the table that Nunes hasn’t seen. Sure, she’s a lot bigger, but she doesn’t use her size or range like she should. Holly Holm uses her range much more effectively, and she was violently turned away. Since she head-kicked Holly Holm, her last two fights have gone to the cards. Whether it’s because she’s slowing down, or she knew she doesn’t need to expel a ton of energy to win and preserve her longevity is to be seen. Nunes via UD.
UFC Bantamweight Championship: Petr Yan (c) (15-1) vs. Aljamain Sterling (19-3)
Luke: After seven years and 14 UFC fights, Sterling finally gets his world title shot. The biggest question for me about this fight is if Sterling can get close enough to Yan to incorporate his wrestling and grappling, or if Yan’s boxing and strikes will keep Sterling at bay. While Sterling’s striking has come a long, long, way, I still don’t think it’s enough. He may slip in under a Yan punch and maybe even get Yan in trouble, but over twenty-five minutes, I think Yan puts together enough rounds and banks enough strikes to ward off being put in a bad position or two by Sterling. Yan via UD.
Lightweight Bout: Drew Dober (23-9) vs. Islam Makhachev (18-1)
Luke: Dober is formidable, and his power lately is no joke, but this is going to be Drew looking up at the lights and trying to fight off submissions, more than likely unsuccessfully. Makhachev via R2 Submission.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Aleksandar Rakić (13-2) vs. Thiago Santos (21-8)
Luke: I can’t accept that Santos has fallen this far. From should have being the rightful UFC Light Heavyweight champion to being an underdog against Aleksandar Rakic in two fights. Not that Rakic isn’t a hell of a fighter, and he probably got robbed against Volkan Oezdemir, but he’s going to the cards more than he should, and if Santos comes out like he did against Jon Jones, he should take this one. Santos via R3 TKO.
2021 Picks Record: 24-16 (60.0%)