Brandon Wittmeyer’s UFC 248 Betting Preview
This weekend’s UFC 248 features a solid betting card including two title fights. Let’s take a look at some of the key bouts including the main event, Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero.
Neil Magny (21-7) vs. Li Jingliang (17-5) -180
Neil Magny has logged a lot of fights in a short period of time in his career. This time, however, he will have by far his longest layoff. Magny went 7-0 over a 15-month span from February 2014 to May 2015. He has since gone 6-4. His last fight was a loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio back in November of 2018. Yes, 2018. He hasn’t fought in 475 days. Whether or not that will be a benefit or a liability remains to be seen.
Li Jingliang is one of the top male Chinese fighters in the UFC. After a 2-2 start to his UFC career, Jingliang has won seven on his last eight bouts, including his last three. Jingliang began his career as a wrestling-style fighter but has quickly developed into more of a striker and it has shown as six of his last eight wins came via knockout.
Jingliang is the better all-around fighter in this contest. He is a slow starter but he hits his stride in the late rounds. Jingliang is giving up a nine-inch reach advantage to Magny. Magny’s size (three inches taller) and reach can certainly give Jingliang trouble, especially early in the fight. If Jiangling can survive an early onslaught from Magny, the fight should be his to lose. Eight of Jiangling’s 12 UFC fights went the distance so it isn’t too hard to see that happening again. Jiangling should get a victory here but if you are looking to get him at plus money instead of the -180, take him for a third-round knockout victory.
Weili Zhang (20-1) -200 vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-3)
The first title fight of the night is a women’s strawweight bout between champion Weili Zhang and challenger Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the former champion. We talked about how Jiangling is perhaps the best male Chinese fighter in the UFC, well, Zhang is the best overall Chinese fighter at the moment. She lost her first career MMA fight via a unanimous decision and hasn’t lost since (4-0 UFC). Zhang is capable of winning a fight in any way. She has 10 knockout victories and seven submission wins as well. She destroyed Jessica Andrade in 42 second in her last fight back in August. Some believed she wasn’t ready for that fight but she proved doubters wrong as she claimed the strawweight title.
Jedrzejczyk started her career 14-0 and owned the strawweight division until her downfall began near the end of 2017. Jedrzejczyk ran into a bigger fighter in Rose Namajunas who managed to beat her at her own game, twice. After losing to Namajunas twice, Jedrzejczyk rebounded with a win over Tecia Torres. A loss to one of the best in the game in Valentina Schevchenko followed that victory. Jedrzejczyk has done well in her career when she is the bigger fighter, which she is in this bout. She has a 2.5-inch reach advantage over Zhang and is also two inches taller. Zhang can get a little wild at times with her swings, which could cost her against an experienced fighter like Jedrzejczyk. It looks to be a matchup of Zhang’s power and aggressiveness against the experience of Jedrzejczyk. It will come down to either Zhang tagging Jedrzejczyk with a big hit or her getting countered and Jedrzejczyk ending up the victor. Either way, this fight probably won’t be going the distance as one of these girls will put the other one to sleep. A knockout victory seems the most likely with a slight lean towards Zhang being the one to get it done.
Israel Adesanya (18-0) -285 vs. Yoel Romero (13-4)
The main event is for the middleweight title as Israel Adesanya puts his perfect record on the line against Yoel Romero. Adesanya has owned the division over the two years he has been in the UFC. Romero is also one of the best and most entertaining fighters in his division. However, it may seem odd to see him in this title fight considering he lost his last two fights and three of his last four.
Adesanya may be undefeated but he had some troubles during the start of his UFC career. While he opened with a knockout victory in his first fight, he then edged out Marvin Vettori in a split decision victory that showed plenty of weaknesses. However, Adesanya has continued to improve each time he has entered the octagon including a knockout victory over Robert Whittaker in the second round of his most recent fight.
Romero has nine UFC victories in his career and seven of those came via knockout. However, only one of those fights didn’t go at least three rounds. As dangerous as Romero is, it does seem to take him some time before he hits his stride and is able to finish his opponents. Romero had a shot at the middleweight title when he lost a split decision contest to Whittaker back in 2017. As strong as Romero is with his hands, he is also a world champion wrestler and an Olympic silver medalist as well.
Adesanya is a boxer and kick-boxer. Romero came from a wrestling background but has shown in his UFC career that he can punch with the best of them. However, despite Romero’s insane power, he likes to pick his spots as opposed to throwing constant home run shots. Will that be an advantage or not is the question? Adesanya is the far bigger fighter with a 6.5-inch reach and six-inch height advantage. His length and kicking ability will keep Romero at a distance throughout most of this fight. Romero will have to try and close the distance and get to Adesanya early. The cardio advantage goes to Adesanya so it feels like if Romero is going to win this fight, it has to be by knockout in the first three rounds. With the size advantage and defensive skills of Adesanya, that seems unlikely. The pick here is the champ retaining his belt either by unanimous decision or a knockout of his own.