UFC 271 predictions – Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker: Fight card, odds, expert picks, preview, prelims

Robert Whittaker will get his chance for revenge on Saturday night when he tries to win back the middleweight championship from Israel Adesanya. The clash between the two top middleweights in the UFC serves as the main event for UFC 271 from Toyota Center in Houston.

In their first meeting, Adesanya easily handled Whittaker, scoring a second-round knockout to win the championship. Adesanya has since defended the title three times, losing in an attempt to move up to light heavyweight and become a two-division champion. Whittaker also picked up three middleweight wins to claim his championship rematch.

In the co-main event, heavyweight heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa throw down. Also of note on the main card, Derek Brunson will take on Jared Cannonier in a high-ranking middleweight battle in a fight that could determine the next challenger for the winner of the fight between Whittaker and Adesanya.

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With so much going on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get to our staff’s predictions and picks for the PPV portion of the festivities.

UFC 271 fight card, odds

  • Israel Adesanya (c) -280 vs. Robert Whittaker +230, middleweight championship
  • Derrick Lewis -190 vs. Tai Tuivasa +160, heavyweight
  • Jared Cannonier -160 vs. Derek Brunson +135, middleweight
  • Renato Moicano -170 vs. Alexander Hernandez +145, lightweight
  • Bobby Green -140 vs. Nasrat Haqparast +120, lightweight
  • Andrei Arlovski -150 vs. Jared Vanderaa +125, heavyweight
  • Casey O’Neill -400 vs. Roxanne Modafferi +310, women’s flyweight
  • Kyler Phillips -420 vs. Marcelo Rojo +330, bantamweight
  • Ronnie Lawrence -300 vs. Mana Martinez +240, bantamweight
  • Carlos Ulberg -260 vs. Fabio Cherant +210, light heavyweight
  • AJ Dobson -110 vs. Jacob Malkoun -110, middleweight
  • Sergey Morozov -220 vs. Douglas Silva De Andrade +180, bantamweight
  • Jeremiah Wells -220 vs. Mike Diamond +180, welterweight
  • Maxim Grishin -170 vs. William Knight +145, light heavyweight

With such a massive main event, the CBS Sports team went ahead with predictions and picks for the main card. Here are your selectors: Brent Brookhouse (combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (combat sports writer, “Morning Kombat” co-host), Shakiel Mahjouri (writer), Michael Mormile (producer) and Brandon Wise (content writer). chief).

UFC 271 Picks, Predictions

Adesanya (c) vs. Whittaker Whittaker Adesanya Adesanya Adesanya Whittaker
Lewis vs. Tuivasa lewis lewis lewis lewis Tuivasa
Gunner vs. Brunson Gunner Brunson Brunson Gunner Brunson
Moicano vs. Hernandez Moicano Hernandez Hernandez Moicano Moicano
Green vs. Haqparast haqparast Green Green haqparast haqparast
Records to date (2022) 2-3 2-3 1-4 3-2 4-1

Adesanya vs. Whittaker

Campbell: Nearly three years after his disastrous loss for the knockout title at UFC 243, Whittaker still remains Adesanya’s most complete challenge to the middleweight crown. And it’s this diversity of skills – from wrestling to kickboxing and all of its vibrant intangibles in between – that will ultimately be needed by any 185-pound fighter to end Adesanya’s dominant reign. It’s not that the results of their first fight should be overlooked either. But Whittaker has passed every test since then and appears to have put the mental and physical fatigue that dominated his short reign behind him.

Stream: There’s probably some truth to Whittaker’s speech that he was in his own head in the first fight with Adesanya, but he was also vastly outclassed. Whittaker’s offense is dynamic enough that he can give Adesanya fits if he can take the fight to the ground repeatedly, but a head-first charge trying to take the fight to the ground won’t work – like Adesanya showed it in Vettori’s rematch. Whittaker is going to have to mix it up on the feet and as solid as his shot is, we have plenty of evidence that it’s not at Adesanya’s level. It’s not impossible for Whittaker to take the win, but despite all the talk of Whittaker’s quality since their first fight, there were still some big red flags against Cannonier, where Whittaker ate a lot of clean strikes and was even wavered. Until proven otherwise, we must lean towards the man who was the most dominant and who won the first meeting.

Mahjouri: Adesanya has been sublime at middleweight. The defending champion is a perfect 10-0 in the weight class. He knocked out Whittaker and Costa, swept Vettori on the scorecards and beat the ever tough Yoel Romero, but not by the widest of margins. I’m confident Whittaker is renewed and will put in a much better effort against Adesanya the second time around. A clean sweep over a plummeting Kelvin Gastelum, 48-47 scorecards against Darren Till and a 29-28 decision win over Jared Cannonier shouldn’t make him the favorite against “Stylebender.” Adesanya is deservedly the favorite and should win more often than not.

Lewis vs. Tuivasa

Campbell: Everything about Tuivasa’s UFC journey has been fun to watch — from his party beer drinking out of a shoe to the legitimate growth he’s experienced during his four-fight winning streak. Tuivasa has become more fit and brings a hitting chance in each of his fights. The problem for him this weekend is that Lewis is bigger, has a stronger chin and probably an even bigger punch. Lewis also has experience at title level against the best in the division in recent years. Consider this a heat test for Tuivasa and expect a hard lesson to be taught.

Wise: Sometimes the MMA gods just take advantage of the anarchy. Tuivasa really isn’t anywhere near elite level at heavyweight in terms of skill, as evidenced by his three-fight losing slip that preceded his current four-fight winning streak. None of the guys he’s beaten are as tough or as good as Lewis. But the Australian native has grown a lot since his first UFC fights and seems to be taking things much more seriously despite all the over the top celebrations. Lewis tends to go all or nothing – like Tuivasa – and this pursuit of the perfect punch could put him at risk from the counter punches Tuivasa likes to throw. Look for something deadly to land before too long.

Gunner vs. Brunson

Campbell: Much of Brunson’s surprising five-fight winning streak hinges on his ability to defeat and outplay young fighters with holes in their game. Consider Cannonier the final boss at the end of the video game when it comes to the Brunson’s hope of advancing to the title. Cannonier has huge advantages in both power and boxing technique in this one and seems to have benefited from the lessons learned in his close loss to Robert Whittaker in 2020. Like Brunson, Cannonier may be up there in age but he looks set to take that next step towards the title.

Mahjouri: He’s the best Derek Brunson we’ve ever seen. It’s not a completely reinvented fighter. Brunson still excels in his wrestling and can be compromised from striking distance. Luckily, Brunson did a great job of mitigating his forces and limiting dangerous exchanges in the pocket. Cannonier can still sleep Brunson — Cannonier has improved his takedown defense significantly — but something tells me Brunson (who averages 3.15 takedowns per 15 minutes) can knock him down.

Who wins Adesanya against Whittaker 2? And what other choices do you need to see? Visit SportsLine now for detailed top picks on UFC 271, all from the insider who has earned over $10,000 on MMA picks over the past two years, and find out.